Chapter Six, Section Two

Chapter Six, Section Two

The American Legal System Citizenship and the Law Part 1 Source of Laws Laws can come from several different sources. In America, laws can come from: Historical Law Codes Statutory Law Case Law Common Law

Constitutional Law Sources of Laws Historical Law Codes Historical Law Codes Code of Hammurabi (1772 B.C.E.) written code of rules from ancient Babylon; each crime was

given a specific punishment Sources of Laws Historical Law Codes Magna Carta (1215 C.E.) government document that limited the power of the King of England. Some of the ideas in this document appear in the U.S. Constitution and Bill

of Rights. Sources of Laws Statutory Law Statutory Law laws from statutes Any law that is passed by a legislative body is called a statute, or statutory law.

Statutory law usually reflect what people feel to be right or wrong. Example: The law that says all buildings have to have fire exits is a statute. Sources of Laws Case Law Case

Law based on Supreme Court decisions A source of law based on the decisions and outcomes of cases heard by the Supreme Court Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) was a landmark Supreme Court case that established the case law and precedent that all people will be provided an attorney even if they cannot afford one - according to how the Supreme

Court interpreted the 6th Amendment. Sources of Laws Common Law Common Law based on tradition law that is based on precedent (ruling on earlier cases) and

customs (tradition) Sources of Laws Constitional Law Constitutional Law - The U.S. Constitution also gives us law. Types of Laws There

are several different types of law that affect Americans directly today that help maintain a peaceful and orderly society Military Law Constitutional Law Criminal Law Civil Law Juvenile Law Types of Law Military Law Military

Law governs the behavior of the men and women that serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. This law is supported by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and addresses laws related to desertion, treason, crimes of war, treatment of prisoners, and the military trial process. Types of Law Constitutional Law

Based on the Constitution Is the basis for much of what becomes case law how the Supreme Court interprets the law/Constitution Types of Law Criminal Law Criminal

laws are laws that seek to prevent people from deliberately or recklessly harming a person or someones property. A crime is an act that breaks the law and for which there is a punishment. Criminal law is what governs the process of what happens when a crime is committed Our Court System

American courts operate on an adversary system of justice, meaning the courtroom serves as an arena in which lawyers for opposing sides try to present their strongest case. Criminal Cases In criminal cases, the government The Prosecution - always acts as

the plaintiff (the person bringing the charges) and the person being charged is the defendant. i.e. State of Florida v Joe Smith Criminal Law Two types of Crimes are: Felonies Misdemeanors

Felony Crimes Felonies are the most serious crimes with the most serious consequences (prison) Examples are murder, kidnapping, robbery, etc. Misdemeanor Crimes Misdemeanors are less serious and have less serious consequences

Examples are vandalism, theft, traffic violations, etc. Process of a Criminal Trial Once an arrest has been made by law enforcement, the suspect will be informed of his/her rights This is a result of the 1966

Supreme Court case Miranda v Arizona Process of a Criminal Trial Suspects then appear before the court in a hearing to hear the charges against them and listen to the judges decision on the next step. Process of a Criminal Trial

At an arraignment, suspects formally hear the charges and are asked to enter a plea. Process of a Criminal Trial Possible pleas are: guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre

means I do not wish to contend or no contest Defendant does not dispute the charge. Process of a Criminal Trial During a criminal trial, there are four major steps (each has many parts): 1. Opening Statements 2. Testimony of Witnesses 3. Closing Statements

4. Verdict (Outcome) Step #1: Opening Statements Both sides (prosecution and defense) will give their opening statement which tells the judge and the jury their side of the story Step #2: Testimony of Witnesses

Each side will then call witnesses to give testimony (or answers given under oath) in the case. These witnesses will also be cross-examined by the other side. The defendant does NOT have to testify right to remain silent

Step #3: Closing Statements Once all of the witnesses have been questioned and crossed, the prosecution and defense will offer their closing statements and ask the jury to rule in favor of their side. Step #4: Verdict After

the closing statements have been given, The jury will be sent to deliberate, or discuss the evidence presented. They must rule only on the evidence. They must make their decision beyond a reasonable doubt Once they reach a unanimous decision they will announce the verdict, or the outcome of the case.

Criminal Process Defendants are either found guilty are acquitted - not guilty *the judge can also declare a hung jury (or unable to make unanimous decision) the trial will be ruled a mistrial. It is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove guilt

innocent until proven guilty Criminal Penalties If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will sentence them (assign their penalty) Criminal penalties are designed to either: Provide punishment so the criminal pays for the crime against a victim or society Remove prisoners so they are not a threat to society

Deter criminals from committing repeated crimes Rehabilitate criminals so they can reenter society and become productive members Part 2 Types of Law Civil Law Civil laws are disputes between people or

groups of people. Usually civil cases happen in situations which no criminal laws have been broken. Types of Law Civil Law When a civil case goes to court, it is called a lawsuit, which is a legal

action in which a person or group sues to collect damages (an award of money) for some harm that is done. Types of Law Civil Law The plaintiff in a Civil Suit is the individual or group

that files the lawsuit and the defendant is the individual or group that is being sued. Types of Law Cases Civil Law begin when a complaint is filed (a formal statement

naming those involved and describing the nature of the lawsuit). Once filed, a summons, or a document telling the defendant that there is a lawsuit against them and orders the defendant to appear in court, is sent by the court. Types of Law Civil Law A defendant

may respond to the suit in a pleading (complaint and answer together) Discovery is the name of the process in which lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant check facts and gather evidence for the case. Types of Law

In Civil Law Rulings an equity lawsuit, issues are resolved by a judge based on the grounds of fairness. Judges often issue an injunction, or a court order commanding a person or group to stop a certain action. Judges can also issue a summary

judgment, which is when a judge applies a judgment against one party without a full trial if there is a motion to do so. Types of Law Juvenile Law Citizens under a certain age are considered juveniles (under 18 in most states). These citizens who commit crimes

against society can be labeled by the courts as juvenile delinquents, or criminals not old enough to be processed through the adult court system. Laws that apply to juveniles are called juvenile laws. Types of Law While Juvenile Law

most crimes committed by juveniles are classified as misdemeanors, some more serious felonies are committed by juveniles as well. Types of Law Juvenile Law The

primary goal of the juvenile court is to rehabilitate the juvenile (or correct their behavior) rather than to punish. Juvenile courts handle two main types of cases: neglect (neglected or abused by their caregiver) delinquency (juveniles who commit crimes)

Types of Law Juvenile Law Most police departments have officers who try and divert, or steer, the juvenile away from the court system. This is the purpose of Teen Court (a

diversion program) Types of Law Juvenile Law The rights of juveniles were established in the 1967 In re Gault Supreme Court case Juveniles have all rights related to due process right of counsel, right to

remain silent, right to confront witnesses against them, etc. Types of Law Juvenile Law While court trials for juveniles are similar to adults, the major difference is that they do NOT have the right

to a jury trial. Types of Law Unlike Juvenile Law adult trials, the identity of juveniles is kept secret and the criminal records of these juveniles can be erased when they

reach adulthood. Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution The United States Constitution provides equal protection for people who have been accused of a crime or are being sued in a lawsuit. This means that we must treat every person the

same. Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution This comes from the principle of rule of law which prevents an abuse of government power and provides for accountability to the law. (No one is above the law) This is the basis for our legal

system. Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution All people are guaranteed: A fair and speedy public jury trial The idea that they are considered innocent until

proven guilty The right to ask for an appeal of their case if their rights have been violated!!! Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution The Constitution protects certain basic legal rights of Americans: writ of habeas corpus -

a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person. Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution bill of attainder - are laws that punish a person accused of a

crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court. Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution ex post facto law - are laws that allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed.

Legal Protections in the U.S. Constitution due process - the legal procedures established when dealing with the accused. Amendment Protection Several

of the amendments of the Constitution help protect the rights of the accused: Fourth Amendment Fourth Amendment: no unreasonable searches and seizures search warrant: supported

by probable cause that evidence will be found signed by a judge specifying the exact place to be searched and what objects may be seized. Fifth Amendment Fifth Amendment: protects the rights of the accused. Due Process

Double Jeopardy: you cant be tried for the same crime twice Right to remain silent Grand Juryin a capital case a group of citizens determines if there is enough evidence to continue to trial. Sixth Amendment Sixth Amendment: protects the rights

of the accused by granting legal counsel and the right to a fair and speedy, public jury trial. Eighth Amendment Eighth Amendment: protects the rights of the accused by forbidding cruel and unusual

punishments or excessive bail bail: a sum of money paid to court to gain release while waiting for their trial.

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