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State laws or court rules that establish the proper court to hear a case, often based on the convenience of the defendant. Because state courts have jurisdiction to hear cases from a wide geographical area (for example, California courts have jurisdiction involving most disputes arising between California residents), additional rules, called rules of venue, have been developed to ensure that the defendant is not needlessly inconvenienced. For example, the correct venue for one Californian to sue another is usually limited to the court in the judicial district where the defendant lives, an accident occurred or a contract was signed or to be carried out. Practically, venue rules mean that a defendant can't usually be sued far from where he lives or does business, if no key events happened at that location. Venue for a criminal case is normally the judicial district where the crime was committed.

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