As I mentioned in my previous post, the State and Federal courts generally operate independent of each other. However, there are occasions where the courts operate in a more related fashion.
For example, in the civil context, where a plaintiff may choose to commence litigation in State court, the defendant may choose to remove the action to Federal court, so long as the conditions for Federal jurisdiction are met, including diversity of the parties and amount in controversy, or federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. sec. 1331, 1332, 1441, 1446. Or, where a plaintiff may choose to commence litigation in Federal court, the defendant may choose to remand, or return, the case back to State court. See 28 U.S.C. sec. 1441.
Before removing a civil matter to Federal court, or remanding the matter back to State court, counsel and the parties may wish to consider several factors, including (1) the costs of litigation in each forum; (2) the complexity of the claims; (3) whether federal claims are involved; and, (4) the need for a timely resolution of the case.
In the criminal context, individuals who are arrested by State agencies, including local police departments and sheriff’s offices, are generally prosecuted in a Florida state court. However, if a violation of a Federal criminal statute is intertwined with the State criminal offense, the State offense may be prosecuted in Federal court. Defendants who have been prosecuted in State court may seek to have the Federal courts review the constitutionality of their State convictions pursuant to the writ of habeas corpus. See 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254. In Florida, rulings rendered by the United States District Court may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and to the United States Supreme Court.