Legal Word of the Day
Entry: Jurisdiction
Pronunciation: juhr - is - dik - schun
Definition: the legal area over which a court has the authority to make decisions
If a crime were committed in the State County District (see example provided below), the State County District Court and the Federal Northern District Court may both have jurisdiction over the crime. If two different courts have jurisdiction over an act, this is called concurrent jurisdiction.

So, how would both courts have jurisdiction over the same crime? Well, if the crime involved both state and federal issues, then it’s likely that both courts could have jurisdiction. Then, which court would hear the case? This depends on the particular facts of the case and sometimes on how a party or government wants to proceed with the case. Therefore, it’s important to understand that two different courts could have (and often do) have jurisdiction over the same issues in a case.

Additionally, jurisdiction can be separated into 3 different types of jurisdiction, including (i) subject matter jurisdiction, i.e. jurisdiction over the legal issues, (ii) in personam jurisdiction, i.e. jurisdiction over a person, and (iii) in rem jurisdiction, jurisdiction over a thing. For example, federal courts hold subject matter jurisdiction over U.S. constitutional issues like those dealing with the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Courts hold in personam jurisdiction over people like when a person commits an act within that court’s particular geographical boundaries. And courts may hold in rem jurisdiction over a thing that an individual owns such as a house in that court’s jurisdiction.

As you can see, jurisdiction issues can (and often do) overlap. Therefore, it’s often a good idea to seek an attorney for your particular jurisdictional issues.