In the Courts


You Could Be a Judge!

What’s it like to be a judge? Is it really all about wearing a black robe, or is there more to it than that? (You probably already know the answer.)

Follow the link to watch the first video clip in a series that gives you a judge’s-eye view of our court system.



Criminal and Civil Cases

There are two major types of court cases: criminal and civil.

Follow the link to watch the next video clip and learn the difference!

  1. Explain what a criminal case is.
  2. Explain what a civil case is.
  3. As the judge, what is your job in a civil case?
What Happens Before Trial?

If you’ve ever watched a fictional trial on TV, the part you probably didn’t see was all the preparation the judge has to do beforehand. (It’s pretty boring to watch someone read.)

Follow the link to the next video segment and learn how judges prepare for a trial.

What Happens at the Trial

Trials that happen on television shows are usually more exciting than trials in real life, but they give you a pretty good idea of what happens in a trial. But television is about entertainment, so you don’t get the nuts and bolts of everyone’s role in the courtroom. What is the judge really doing up there?

Follow the link to the next video segment and find out what the judge and jury are really doing during a trial.


After the Trial

At the end of a trial, a decision has to be made.

Follow the link to see how this works in a jury trial—and how the judge is involved!

Appealing a Trial Court Decision

The trial court isn’t the last stop for the judicial branch train.

Follow the link to find out what it’s like to be a Court of Appeals judge.

Appealing to the Supreme Court!

One court in the United States has the final say. Do you know which court it is? (Hint: It’s the Supreme Court.)

Follow the link to watch the final segment of the video and find out what it’s like to be a judge on the highest court in the land!