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Unit 1: What is Law? Mr. Concannon Smith.

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1 Unit 1: What is Law? Mr. Concannon Smith

2 Do Now List 10 of your daily activities (for example, waking up, eating, etc.). Next to each item, list any laws that affect that activity. What is the Purpose of each law you identified? Would you change any of these laws? Why/why not?

3 Unit 1: What is Law? Mr. Concannon Smith

4 What is Law? Law: the rules and regulations made and enforced by a society’s government to manage the conduct of the people within said society. Every society that has ever existed has recognized the need for laws (written or unwritten) This does NOT mean all laws are “fair” or “good” A democratic system of govt. (like ours) cannot function unless the laws are respected by the people they are intended to regulate. Society must be based on the “rule of law” Rules should be known in advance and created democratically Nobody is above the law (example: Nixon)

5 Laws and Values Laws generally reflect and promote societal values (traditional ideas about right and wrong) Not everything immoral is illegal (ex. lying to a friend) Goals of the legal system according to legal scholars: Protecting basic human rights Promoting fairness Resolving conflicts Promoting order/stability Promoting desirable economic and social behavior Representing the will of the majority Protecting the rights of minorities (non-racial usage) Murder is an example of a moral wrong. Last point is controversial: Critics argue they promote what is called reverse discrimination. Proponents argue that they make up for past discrimination and promote fairness by leveling an uneven playing field in today’s society

6 Value-laden Law Examples
Moral Values: Right and Wrong Murder = primary moral value of protection of human life Economic Values: accumulation, use of, and dist. of wealth Tax laws = encourage people to own a home (tax benefits) Shoplifting laws = protect property and discourages stealing Political Values: relationship between people an government Voting holidays = easier for citizens to participate in elections Anti-corruption laws = keep public trust in elected officials Social Values: broadest category, issues important to society Public education = country’s best interest to educate youth Intentional killing is allowed in certain circumstances (war/self defense) Many laws combine some or all of these values: Theft- moral issue of stealing, economic issue of property, political issue of how govt. will punish those who violate criminal statutes and social issue of respecting property of others.

7 Social Contract Theory
In a nutshell: The voluntary agreement to limit our own rights and freedoms to a government in order to maintain social and political order The degree to which we submit to this agreement is constantly under debate Social contract on the day to day: Ranges from stop signs and speed limits to the Patriot Act Can you think of any others? ---ask students to choose one of the quotes that best reflects their own view of people and government and jot down a few reasons why (think about examples from your daily lives to support your choice) ---pair them up with the others to discuss in TPS ---"the rules made by a group reflect the group's reason for being together" ---quotes we reviewed are different philosophies of social contract influenced by the society and culture of the time they were written.

8 Do Now What do you think it means to have a right? (what is the meaning of a “right”) Are you born with any basic rights, and if so what are they? Where did they come from? Are there some rights that are more important than others?

9 Mr. Concannon Smith

10 Human Rights Human Rights: the rights all people have simply because they are human. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a statement of basic human rights and acts as a set of standards by which nearly every country in the world follows. Developed by the UN under Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948 Basic UDHR rights: Liberty, Education, political and religious freedom, and economic well-being UDHR also bans torture The UDHR is not a binding treaty but many ideals in the UDHR have been ratified in treaties

11 Rights vs. Responsibility
Human Rights can be used by countries when writing laws Rights are codified by signing HR treaties, amending the Constitution, or passing laws specifically aimed at a HR issue Some criticize the “over-codification” of rights in the U.S. If we consider trial by jury a right, we shouldn’t complain about serving on a jury If we want a government for the people & by the people, we should actually get out and vote Further criticism…just because we have first amendment rights doesn’t mean saying hateful things is morally correct Striking the correct balance between right & responsibility is difficult! Human Rights Scenarios Activity

12 Kinds of Laws Mr. Concannon Smith

13 Two Major Categories Criminal Law Civil Law
Regulates public conduct and sets out duties owed to society Can only be brought by the govt. against a person charged with committing a crime Offenses divided into felonies and misdemeanors Penalties: incarceration, probation, fines Regulates relations between individuals or groups of individuals Examples: marriage, divorce, contracts, insurance, car accidents A civil action is a lawsuit brought by a person who feels wronged or injured by another person Penalty: recovery of damages Felonies: more then 1 year- Murder, robbery, etc Misdemeanors: less than 1 year, simple assault, minor theft (shoplifting)

14 Important Distinctions
A criminal case is brought by the government against a defendant A civil case is brought by a plaintiff against the defendant. In a CRIMINAL CASE, the burden on the prosecution is to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt In a CIVIL CASE, the plaintiff wins by convincing the judge or jury by a preponderance of the evidence These are called standards of proof Why do you think the standard of proof is lower in CIVIL CASES? Ask which standard of proof is more difficult/burdensome? Stakes are monetary in nature not capital (lower stakes, lower standard)

15 Our Constitutional Framework
Mr. Concannon Smith

16 Must Know Basics The U.S. Constitution is the highest law of the land.
Sets the framework, powers and limitations of government Limited Government is the fundamental notion in the Const. Logically so, given the history The Separation of Powers is perhaps the most important component of the Constitution Three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Checks and Balances: designed to ensure that one branch cannot rule supreme over the others

17 Is there any potential weakness in this power?
Judicial Review The Court’s power to declare unenforceable any law passed by Congress or a state that conflicts with the Constitution In general SCOTUS can declare a law unconstitutional govt. has passed a law that the Constitution does not give it power to pass govt. passed a law that violates somebody’s rights SCOTUS can also declare an Executive Act unconstitutional Can strike down regulations issued by executive branch Is there any potential weakness in this power?

18 Federalism defined: the division of power between the federal government and the states (remember: the federal govt’s power to make law is written explicitly in the Constitution, the remaining powers are left to the states) Since states have their own power to make laws, many states have different laws regulating the same behaviors/crimes/etc.

19 The Bill of Rights The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution
They define and guarantee the fundamental rights and liberties of all Americans. These include but are not limited to: Freedom of religion Freedom of speech and press Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure

20 Lawmaking US citizens obey three main sources of law (federal, state, and local). Legislative bodies in each category make the laws. In some situations laws can be made directly by voters, and in other courts can set law by ruling on appeals.

21 Do Now Decide whether each of the following is a federal, state, and/or a local law: No parking on the east side of Main St. between 4 and 6 pm. All persons between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school Whoever enters a bank for the purposes of taking by force or violence the money from said bank shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. In order to sell any product on the public streets a vendor must first apply for and receive a vendor’s permit No employer of more than 15 persons may discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin All persons traveling on interstate airlines are subject to search before entering the plane prior to departure

22 Legislatures Federal level: Congress divided into two houses (HOR and Senate) Laws passed at this level are binding in every state (called statutes) Deal with issues of national impact: environment, public health, national defense, labor relations, civil rights, federal taxes State level: state legislatures (most of which are bicameral also) operate the same way and make laws that are only binding within their boundaries. State statues deal with statewide issues: education, transportation, state taxes, marriage, most criminal laws, the power of state officials City/Town level: pass laws known as ordinances Local issues: land use, parking, schools, etc. HOR=435 based on population Senate=100 Bills become laws and once they do people must obey it…interpretational issues end up being resolved in the courts (try to be as clear as possible). Judges who try to interpret these laws are trying to interpret not just the law but the legislative intent behind it.



25 Drafting a Bill Mr. Concannon Smith

26 Drafting a Bill Many drafts are written before bills are formally introduced and discussed by a legislative body Despite such efforts, interpretation can become an issue This violates a basic principle of law (people knowing the law) Thus CLARITY is key when drafting bills: the checklist Is the law written in clear language? Is the law understandable? When does the law go into effect? Does the law contradict any other laws? Is the law enforceable, and if so by whom? Are the penalties for breaking the law clear and reasonable?


28 Your Lawmakers Mr. Concannon Smith

29 Do Now Federal Level: Can you name who represents Massachusetts in the House of Representatives for your district? How about our two Senators? State Level: State Representative State Senator District 2: Jim McGovern Senate: Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey State Rep: Kim Ferguson State Senate: Harriet Chandler



32 Truancy Law 7/1/2014 Chapter 76, section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend school. A school district may excuse up to seven day sessions or fourteen half day sessions in any period of six months. In addition to this law, each school may have its own attendance policy with which parents/guardians should be familiar. Inducing Absences It is a crime to induce or attempt to induce a minor to miss school, or unlawfully to employ or to harbor a minor who should be in school. Why might this law be passed…look for societal values here… public safety reasons?

33 CJ in your District Harriet Chandler (D) Kimberly Ferguson (R)
Bill concerning teaching health in schools Bill concerning the insanity defense for criminals

34 Chandler: Teaching Health Ferguson: Criminally Insane
Analyzing Bills Chandler: Teaching Health Ferguson: Criminally Insane When was the bill introduced? What change is it trying to make? Provide evidence from the bill Why do you think the Senate is concerned about what goes on in a high school health class? Do you agree with this bill? Explain why/why not… When was the bill introduced? What change is it trying to make? Provide evidence from the bill Why do you think the House is concerned about the permanent criminal record of those who pleaded insane? Do you agree with this bill? Explain why/why not…

35 Advocacy in Law Lobbying Webquest Mr. Concannon Smith

36 Advocacy Defined: the active support of a cause.
Advocates try to persuade others to support the same cause Advocacy (done well) is based on: Gathering of facts Developing outreach and communication An effective plan and timeline Determining the level of government responsible for the targeted legal changes you hope to make

37 Lobbying Defined: a way to influence the lawmaking process by convincing the lawmakers to vote as you want them to vote. 17th century roots: interested persons had to wait outside political meetings until the politicians came out (in the lobby) Lobbying today carries a negative connotation, but is actually a protected Constitutional right. Free speech, freedom of assembly and press A lobbyist, is someone who works for an interest group to sway legislation by convincing lawmakers to vote in their interest You can lobby as an individual or as a group: write letters, protest, start a petition, phone-call campaigns, , etc. Major lobbying groups with money (from interested companies) use political contributions, create advertisements, and other methods on top of the grassroots methods mentioned above.

38 What is Crime? Mr. Concannon Smith
Start with DO NOW: Street Law Problem 7.1 (p. 75) Show Slides What is Crime? Mr. Concannon Smith

39 What is Crime? An act becomes a crime when it meets the legal definitions that designate it as such Simply stated: it is an wrongful act against society––proclaimed by law––and is punishable by society.

40 The Consensus Model Rests on the assumption that members of society form a basic agreement with regard to norms and social values Those members whose actions deviate from the norm pose a threat to the well being of society as a whole  punished. Laws are passed to control & prevent deviant behavior Underlying assumption: a diverse group of people can have similar morals (sharing ideas about what’s right/wrong) as public attitudes toward morality change so too do laws! There are TWO common models of how society “decides” which acts are criminal: Consensus and Conflict

41 The Conflict Model Rejects the consensus model on grounds that in the US, moral attitudes are not constant or consistent Different groups of citizens hold widely varying opinions on issues of morality and criminality: abortion, war on drugs, gun control, voter ID, immigration, same sex marriage etc. The Conflict Model holds that the most politically powerful segments of society (based on class, income, age, & race) have the most influence on criminal law Consequence: this group imposes their values on the rest of the community This changes with whatever group comes to power

42 Criminal v. Deviant Deviance is simply behavior that does not conform to the norms of society (very subjective) Deviant acts become crimes only when society as a whole (through its legislatures) determine that such acts should be punished.

43 Types of Crime: Six Major Categories
Mr. Concannon Smith

44 1. Violent Crimes These crimes dominate public perspectives on crime (considered the most heinous offenses) Examples include: Murder: unlawful killing of a human being Sexual Assault/Rape: coerced actions––sexual in nature–– against an unwilling participant Assault and Battery: two separate acts Assault: threats on another person of physical harm (perceived truth) Battery: physical attack on another individual Robbery: taking of funds/personal property by means of force These crimes are classified by degree  more on this later…

45 2. Property Crime Most common form of crime
Larceny (theft): pocket picking, shoplifting, or stealing property not accomplished by force Burglary: act of unlawfully entering a home or structure with the intent of committing a crime like theft (usually a felony) Arson: malicious and intentional burning of a home, automobile or other structure

46 3. Public Order Crime Behavior labeled criminal because it is contrary to shared social values (think Consensus Model) Sometimes called Victimless Crimes (however misleading): Examples include: Public drunkenness, gambling, illicit drug use, prostitution, disturbing the peace, loitering, etc.

47 4. White-Collar Crime Business related crime: an illegal act––carried out non-violently––against individuals or other businesses to obtain a personal or business advantage. Examples include: Embezzlement: using position in company to steal funds from the company Tax Evasion: underreporting or not reporting taxable income Fraud: Credit Card, Check, Securities (stock market), consumer fraud (counterfeits), insurance

48 5. Organized Crime Illegal acts by illegal organizations usually geared toward satisfying the public’s demand for unlawful goods/services Conspiratorial in nature. Criminal tactics include (but certainly not limited to) violence, corruption, intimidation, fraud, trafficking (both narcotics and humans) All for economic gain and power Hierarchical like a business and can even operate like one, but if you break the rules you break your legs

49 6. High-Tech Crime Newest variation on crime Examples of Cybercrime:
Selling illegal porn Soliciting minors Defrauding consumers Embezzlement Cyber security attacks

50 The Criminal Justice Process
Mr. Concannon Smith

51 Law Enforcement Local and County Law Enforcement State Law Enforcement
Responsible for the “nuts and bolts” of law enforcement. State Law Enforcement Generally, there are both “state police” and “highway patrols.” Federal Law Enforcement: Operates throughout the U.S.

52 The Courts The U.S. has a dual court system. (two independent judicial systems) Federal system (federal laws) State (state laws) + Washington D.C. Technically we have 52 different court systems Criminal Courts in each system determine the innocence or guilt of criminal suspects within their individual jurisdiction

53 The Criminal Justice Process

54 The Criminal Justice Process
An orderly progression of events through a process comprised of agencies working together. Herbert Packer compared the idealized criminal justice process to an assembly line. The line is constantly at work and faces congestion! Partial solution is discretion: Authority to choose alternative courses of action All facets of the system employ discretion to maximize use of limited resources The informal criminal justice system: flexible and conditional


56 The CJ Process: Day 2 Mr. Concannon Smith

57 The Wedding Cake Model Discretion comes to bear depending on the relative importance of a particular case “Top” layer consists only of a handful of celebrity cases Second layer consists of “high profile” felonies Third layer consists of “ordinary” felonies Fourth layer consists of misdemeanors Top layer distorts our view of the system Over 90% of criminal cases (including felonies) are settled OUT OF COURT Dr. Conrad Murray = Dr. who gave Michael Jackson propofol. Goes against the basic premise that all cases are treated equally. Draw attention just because of the nature of the crime: puts pressure on prosecutors to bring a case to trial Low level offenders typically take plea deals and do not get put on trial More than 75% of all arrests


59 Competing Values of the System
Crime Control The most important function of system is to punish and repress criminal conduct Law enforcement must be counted on to control criminal activity The system should function efficiently, as an assembly- line Due Process Focus on protecting the rights of the accused through legal constraints on police, courts, and corrections Strives to make it more difficult to prove guilt Fairness, not efficiency, is the goal of the due process model


61 Crime Scene Photographer
Careers in CJ Crime Scene Photographer


63 Criminal Justice Today
Mr. Concannon Smith

64 Major Issues Today Community Relations & Law Enforcement
Think Ferguson, MO The Scourge of Street Gangs Chicago, LA, NYC, ATL Gun Sales and Gun Control Think Sandy Hook The Illegal Drugs Problem Think marijuana in Colorado Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. According to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in others. We’re redoubling our efforts to disrupt and dismantle gangs through intelligence-driven investigations and new initiatives and partnerships.

65 Policy Quandaries Crime and Punishment The Growing Prison Population
The Economics of Incarceration The Death Penalty in America Homeland Security and the Threat of Terrorism The Patriot Act Technology: Fighting and Fueling Crime

66 Gang Problems Approx. 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. Gangs are responsible for an average of 48% of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90% in others. The FBI w/ local and state police to disrupt and dismantle gangs through intelligence-driven investigations



69 Reading on Chicago Gun Violence

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