From the Federal Judiciary website:
"The Judicial Branch has two court systems: federal and state. While each hears certain types of cases, neither is completely independent of the other. The two systems often interact and share the goal of fairly handling legal issues.
The U.S. Constitution created a governmental structure known as federalism that calls for the sharing of powers between the national and state governments. The Constitution gives certain powers to the federal government and reserves the rest for the states.
The federal court system deals with legal issues expressly or implicitly granted to it by the U.S. Constitution. The state court systems deal with their respective state constitutions and the legal issues that the U.S. Constitution did not give to the federal government or explicitly deny to the states.
For example, because the Constitution gives Congress sole authority to make uniform laws concerning bankruptcies, a state court would lack jurisdiction. Likewise, since the Constitution does not give the federal government authority in most family law matters, a federal court would lack jurisdiction in a divorce case."
As in the federal court system, New York's court system is three tier, consisting of trial courts, intermediate appellate courts, and the highest court. In New York the trial court is called the Supreme Court, the intermediate court is called Appellate Division, and New York's highest court is the Court of Appeals.
There are 62 trial courts - one for each county. There are four Appellate Division departments - Appellate Division 1st Department located in New York County, Appellate Division 2d Department located in Brooklyn, Appellate Division 3d Department located in Albany, and Appellate Division 4th Department located in Rochester. There is one Court of Appeals in New York, located in Albany.
Reported decisions from the trial courts are published in an official reporter called the Miscellaneous Reports (Misc.), currently in its third series.
Reported decisions from the intermediate courts, New York Appellate Divisions, are published in an official reporter called the Appellate Division Reports (A.D.), currently in its third series.
Reported decisions from the highest court of New York, the New York Court of Appeals, are published in an official reporter called the New York Reports (N.Y.), currently in its third series. New York Court of Appeals reported decisions are also published in a regional reporter, the North Eastern Reporter (N.E.), currently in its third series and published by Thomson Reuters.
Reported decisions from all three New York court levels are published in an unofficial reporter called the New York Supplement (N.Y.S.), currently in its third series and published by Thomson Reuters.
To locate applicable case law, try:
The One Good Case Method of legal research starts with finding one good case - a case that is on point.
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