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Lesson Four:Judicial System 第四课:司法系统

(2010-09-25 13:24:57)
标签:

美国司法系统

何家弘

法律英语

翻译

教育

分类: 何家弘《法律英语》

Part One:Courts

第一部分:法院

 

   There are fifty-two separate court systems in the United States. Each state, as well as the District of Columbia, has its own fully developed, independent system of courts and there is a separate federal court system. The federal courts are not superior to the state courts; they are an independent, coordinate system authorized by the United States Constitution, Art. Ⅲ,§2, to handle matters of particular federal interest. The presence of two parallel court systems often raises questions concerning the relationship of the state and federal systems, presenting important issues of federalism. The United States Supreme Court, composed of nine justices, sits as the final and controlling voice over all these systems.

    美国共有52个相互独立的法院系统。每个州和哥伦比亚特区都有其各自非常完善、独立的法院系统,而且还有一个独立的联邦法院系统。联邦法院系统并不优越于州法院系统,根据美国宪法第三条第二款的规定它与州法院系统是相互独立、互相配合的系统,其处理特殊的涉及联邦性质的问题。两个法院系统的并行存在常牵涉到州法院和联邦法院系统的关系问题,且显示出联邦制度的重要问题。美国联邦最高法院由九位法官组成,他们对于所有这些法院系统的事宜有最终和最高的决定权。

 

    Although a few states, such as Nebraska, have a two-tiered system, most states, as well as the federal courts, are based on a three-tiered model. That means that for any litigant there will be the opportunity to plead his case before a trial court and then, should he lose, there are two levels of appeal at which he ultimately may succeed. For example, in the federal system the trial court is the United States District Court, of which there is at least one in every state. Many larger states are divided into two, three or even four judicial districts, depending on population, geography and caseload. There are ninety-four districts in the United States and each district court has one judge, or more commonly two or more. After an adverse judgment in the district court, a litigant may appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the district court is located. There are eleven numbered intermediate appellate courts in the federal system, each including anywhere from three to ten states and territories. Additionally, there is a Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, hearing appeals from the federal district court there, and one for the Federal Circuit, taking appeals from various specialized federal tribunals, such as the Claims Court. Each court of appeals has four or more judges who sit in panels of three to review district court decisions, as well as some decisions of administrative agencies. A losing litigant in the court of appeals may, in some cases, be able to obtain review by the United States Supreme Court. Cases in the state courts similarly may proceed through a trial court, a state appellate court, and then the state supreme court. If a federal constitutional question is involved the decision of the state supreme court may be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. Since 1988, review by the Supreme Court in civil cases is discretionary; virtually all civil appeals as of right to the highest court have been abolished.

    尽管只有少数州,如内布拉斯加州,采用的是两级模式的法院系统,但是大部分州,包括联邦的法院系统都是三级模式。那就意味着每位诉讼当事人都有权到审判法院起诉,如果败诉,那么还有两级上诉,而他最终有可能在这上诉中胜诉。例如,在联邦系统中的审判法院是联邦地区法院,其在每个州至少设立一个。很多大的州则被分成两个、三个甚至四个司法辖区,这取决于其人口多少、地理情况和案件数量。美国一共有94个辖区而且每个辖区法院都有一个法官,或者更多是两个以上法官。若在地区法院得到了不利的判决,当事人可上诉到地区法院所在地的巡回区的联邦上诉法院。联邦系统内共有11个以数字顺序命名的中级上诉法院,每个法院都包括三到十个州和属地辖区。另外,哥伦比亚特区还设有一个上诉法院,专门审理来自哥伦比亚特区联邦地区法院的上诉案件,还有一个联邦巡回区上诉法院,受理各种联邦专门法院例如索赔法院的上诉案件。每个上诉法院都有四名以上的法官,他们组成三人的合议庭来审理地区法院的判决和行政机关的一些决定。在上诉法院中败诉的一方当事人,在某些案件中,可能申请到联邦最高法院的审查。州法院所管辖的案件通常的法院审判程序是审判法院、州上诉法院,然后是州最高法院。如果州最高法院的判决牵涉到联邦宪法的问题,其可能被联邦最高法院来审查。从1988年始,最高法院对民事案件的审查是自由裁量的;实际上所有民事案件都作为权利而可以上诉到最高法院的作法已经被废除了。

 

    Three-tiered systems vary on the role which the highest court plays. The approaches taken reflect differing philosophies with regard to what the highest court should do. For example, in California only criminal cases in which capital punishment has been imposed are appealable as of right to the state supreme court. Similarly, in the federal courts, except in a few very limited circumstances, appeals to the United States Supreme Court are discretionary, by writ of certiorari. The Court decides for itself what are the most important questions that deserve its attention and will refuse to review decisions raising issues that it feels are not as crucial. In this way it supervises the administration of law by the lower courts on an ad hoc basis. At the other end of the spectrum, such as in New York, appeals to the state’s highest court are as of right in a great many cases provided for by statute. The primary function of the highest court in New York appears to be to assure that cases are correctly decided. It is necessary to check carefully the statutes of the system in which you are appearing to determine the specific rules regarding review by those appellate courts.

   (各地的)三级制审判体制在最高法院所扮演的角色上有所不同。(各州)所采用的作法反映了关于最高法院应如何发挥什么作用的不同哲理(理解)。例如,在加利福尼亚州只有被判处死刑的刑事案件才有权被上诉到州最高法院。同样的,在联邦法院系统中,除非是极少的情况下,上诉到联邦最高法院都是法官自由裁量的,通过调案复审令来进行。由法院自己来决定哪些问题是关重大而应该引起重视的,并且可以拒绝审查判决所牵涉的它认为并不那么重要的问题。它以这种方式对下级法院的司法行为进行以个案为基础的监督。对这个问题的另一种作法是,如在纽约州,在很多案件中上诉到州最高法院是立法所明文规定的一项权利。纽约州最高法院的首要职责好像是确保案件被正确的审判。在您要确定这些上诉法院的特定规则的时候,有必要仔细查看该系统的相关立法。

 

Part Two:Judges

第二部分:法官

 

   Fewer than one in twenty of those admitted to practice law is a federal, state, county, or municipal court judge. Except for some inferior courts, judges are generally required to be admitted to practice but do not practice while on the bench. There is so little uniformity that it is difficult to generalize further than to point out three salient characteristics that relate to the ranks from which judges are drawn, to the method of their selection, and to their tenure.

    在从事法律职业者中不到二十分之一人是联邦、州、县或市法院的法官。除了某些较级别的法院外,法官一般都被要求具有开业律师资格,但是在任法官期间不得开业。在如何选择法官,到法官的选举方法以及法官的任期方面,因为(各州)太缺乏一致性,所以很难总结而只能给出三个显著特征。

 

    Judges are drawn from the practicing bar and less frequently from government service or the teaching profession. There is in the United States no career judiciary like that found in many other countries and there is no prescribed route for the young law graduate who aspires to be a judge, no apprenticeship that must be served, no service that must be entered. The outstanding young law graduates who act for a year or two as law clerks to the most distinguished judges of the federal and state courts have only the reward of the experience to take with them into practice and not the promise of a judicial career. While it is not uncommon for a vacancy on a higher court to be filled by a judge from a lower court, even this cannot be said to be the rule. The legal profession is not entirely unaware of the advantages of a career judiciary, but it is generally thought that they are outweighed by the experience and independence which American lawyers bring to the bench. Many of the outstanding judges of the country’s highest courts have had no prior judicial experience. Criticism has centered instead on the prevalent method of selection of judges.

    法官多是从执业律师中选择,而较少从政府服务法律职业者或法学老师中选取。美国不像其他国家一样有职业法官,而且对于那些渴望做法官的年轻的法学院毕业生们并没有规定一个必经之路,无需经过实习,也无需一定要参与服务。优秀、年轻的法学院毕业生给联邦或州法院里最有名的法官当过一到两年的书记员也只是让他们拥有了在执业之前的一些经验而已,而并不能确保其也成为法官。高级的法院中的空缺由其下级法院中的法官来填补也很正常,但即便这样也不能说是个惯例。法律职业也并不是完全无视职业法官的优势,但是通常认为美国律师带给法院的经验和独立性比这个优势更为重要,这是美国律师带给法官的。美国最高法院的很多杰出的法官之前都没有司法的经验。批评反而主要集中在目前遴选法官的方法上。

 

    State court judges are usually elected, commonly by popular vote, but occasionally by the legislature. Popular election has been the subject of much disapproval, including that of the American Bar Association, on the ground that the public lacks interest in and information on candidates for judicial office and that therefore the outcome is too often controlled by leaders of political parties. The situation has been somewhat improved since many local bar associations have undertaken to evaluate the qualifications of candidates and to support or oppose them on this basis.

   州法院的法官通常是选举产生的,一般是通过民众投票,但是偶尔也会通过立法程序产生。民众选举的方式一直都不太被赞同,包括律师协会在内,是因为民众对法官人选没有兴趣而且也不了解候选人,因此选举的结果常被政治党派的领导所控制。自从很多当地的律师协会承担了评估候选人资格的工作并以此为基础来支持或反对他们以来,这一状况已得到一定的改善。

 

   Since 1937, the American Bar Association has advocated the substitution of a system under which the governor appoints judges from a list submitted by a special nominating board and the judge then periodically stands unopposed for reelection by popular vote on the basis of his or her record. Such a system is now in effect, for at least some judges, in a substantial minority of states. In a small group of states, judges are appointed by the governor subject to legislative confirmation.

    自1973年以来,美国的律师协会就一直主张为这一系统寻求替代的方式,即由州长从一个特别提名董事会所提交的名单中来任命法官,然后,该法官定期参加没有竞争对手的续任民众选举,选举的根据是依据其工资成绩。这样的体系现在在实行,对至少一部分法官,在实质上很少一部分州中实行。在很少的一些州中,法官是由州长根据立法认可后来任命的。

 

    This is also the method of selection of federal judges, who are appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate. Even under the appointive system the selection of judges is not immune from political influence and appointees are usually of the President’s or governor’s own party. But names of candidates for the federal judiciary are submitted to a committee of the American Bar Association and appointment is usually made only with its approval. The office of chief judge or chief justice is usually filled in the same manner as other judicial offices, although in some states it is filled from among the members of the court by rotation, by seniority of service, or by vote of the judges. The Chief Justice of the United States is appointed by the President, subject to Senate confirmation.

   这也是选举产生联邦法官的方式,即由总统在参议院认可后任命产生。即使是在任命制体系中法官的选举也免不了受政治的影响,而且被任命的法官一般和总统或州长是同一党派。但是联邦法官的候选人名单是要提交到美国律师协会委员会的,而且任命通常要获得其同意。首席法官或首席大法官的职位一般也以与其他司法官员的职位同样的方式来填补,尽管某些州的法院是以其内部成员以轮流任职,或任职的资历,或法官内部选举的方式来填补的。美国联邦首席大法官是由总统任命,提交参议院确认产生的。

 

    The third characteristic is that judges commonly serve for a term of years rather than for life. For courts of general jurisdiction it is typically four, six, or eight years, and for appellate courts, six, eight, or ten years. Happily, even where selection is by popular election, it is customary to return to office for sitting judges whose service has been satisfactory. In a few state courts and in the federal courts the judges sit for life. Whether on the bench for a term of years or for life, a judge may be removed from office only for gross misconduct and only by formal proceedings. Instances of removal have been rare indeed and only a handful of federal judges have been removed by formal proceedings. The independence of the judiciary is also encouraged by the rule that a judge incurs no civil liability for judicial acts, even if guilty of fraud and corruption. The American Bar Association’s Code of Judicial Conduct has been widely adopted as a standard to which judges are expected to adhere. Salaries for the higher judicial offices are usually good although less than the income of a successful private practitioner, the prestige of these offices is high, and the bench has been able to attract many of the country’s ablest legal minds. The great names in American law are in large part the names of its great judges.(over)

   第三个特征是法官通常是在其任期内而不是终身的担任法官职务。一般管辖区的法院的法官的任期一般是四年、六年或八年,在上诉法院种,通常是六年、八年或十年。令人欣慰的是,即使在法官是民众普选产生州,那些工作令人满意的现任法官通常都能够连任。只有在少数个别州的法院和联邦法院内法官是终身任职的。不管是有任期的法官还是终身法官,他们都可能因严重渎职或仅通过正式程序而被免职。法官被免职的情况实际上很少发生而且几乎很少的联邦法院的法官是通过正式程序而被免职的。司法独立也由这样的一条原则来支撑:即法官不会因其司法行为而承担民事责任,即使是犯欺诈和腐败罪。美国律师协会的“法官行为准则”已被广泛适用为法官应遵守的标准规范。高级司法官员的薪水通常相当不错,虽然不如私人开业律师的收入高。这些司法官的声望也很高,而且法官职位能够吸引全国很多能干的法律人士。美国法律极高的声誉很大一部分是来自于其伟大的法官们。(完)

 

(注:本文为原创翻译,如需使用请尊重版权!欢迎指正交流!)

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