Presentation on theme: "Third Quarter Mr. Labrador. Chapter 10 lesson 1: History of Political Parties Growth of American Parties A Political Party is a group of people with broad,"— Presentation transcript:
Third Quarter Mr. Labrador
Chapter 10 lesson 1: History of Political Parties Growth of American Parties A Political Party is a group of people with broad, shared interests. They join together to help the candidates they support win elections. This country runs on a two-party system. Many of the leaders who wrote the constitution(1780’s) did not like the idea of political parties. They were worried that parties would divide the country. Secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of state Thomas Jefferson were the leaders of the first ever political parties. Hamilton favored a strong national government while Jefferson wanted to protect people’s rights by limiting the power of the national government.
Growth of American Parties Hamilton and his followers formed the Federalist party while Jefferson and his followers formed the Democratic-Republican party. In the year 1800, Jefferson’s party grew stronger while the Federalists lost support and faded away.
Today’s Major parties form In 1824, the Democratic-Republican party was so dominant that four presidential candidates ran under this party. By 1828, the Democratic-Republican party split. The Democratic party stress their ties to common people. The National Republicans faded away as well and another political party known as the Whigs took over in their place as the main opponent of the Democrats. In 1854, people who opposed slavery joined together to form a new party called the Republican Party. The Whig party disappeared due to avoiding the issue of slavery. Since 1850, the Republicans and Democrats have been the major parties in our country.
Who are Third parties?What types of third parties have existed? Smaller political parties such as third parties have always competed for power against two main parties. Third parties always promote ideas that are not very popular at the moment. Ex: making the workday to last only eight hours. The prohibition party was formed in 1872 and it’s main purpose was to ban the sale of alcohol. Communist party USA believed that the government or workers should own all resources and businesses. Third parties in general have a hard time competing with the two main political parties due to a lack of resources and money.
Other Party Systems Political party systems exist in most countries and two-party systems are rare. Many democracies have multiparty systems even to the point of three. E.g. Canada has 3,France has 8, Israel has more than 20. Some nations only have a one party system. China due to being communist, only has one party and their elections are for pure show due to the fact that no one is actually running against them. One party systems are not Democratic.
What are the differences between one party and the other? Democrats in regards to the economy, think that the Federal government should be more involved in regulating or controlling it. They also believe that the government should also help provide housing, income, education, and jobs for the poor. Each party tends to do much better in certain areas of the country than others. The parties seem similar because most Americans generally agree on most issues. Citizens can learn about the differences between parties by reading their platform, which is a series of statements expressing the party’s core beliefs and its positions on various issues.
Chapter 10 Lesson 2: Political Parties today Political parties want their candidates to win. Major parties organize at the local, state and National levels. Their goal is to help their party win election to as many offices as possible. National Committee includes members from every state. Each party’s national committee raises money for presidential elections. At the National convention delegates choose the party’s candidates for president and vice president. In some states, they are chosen in a Caucus or a special meeting.
Organization of Political parties State and Local Organizations A Convention is an important time for building party unity. The 50 state committees work to elect party candidates to state offices such as governor, state legislator and others. At the local level, parties have thousands of city, town, and county committees. Each city or county is divided into election districts called precincts. Precinct is a geographic area that has a specific number of voters.
What are Political Machines? When a local party organization wins year after year and becomes very powerful is known as a political Machine. Most people agree that political machines are harmful. When one party is in power for too long, they are more likely to ignore people’s needs.
Becoming involved in a political party You do not have to join a political party in order to vote. Parties do what they can to attract members. Party members can do volunteer work for the party. One of the major jobs of political parties is to nominate or choose candidates to represent a party in a general election. In a direct primary, voters choose candidates to represent a party in a general election.
Types of Primary Elections The two types of primary elections are closed and open primaries. Most states hold a closed primary, which means only party members can vote. E.g. Republicans can vote in the Republicans Party’s primary. Some states have an open primary, which means any registered voter can vote in a primary. The candidate who wins a primary typically gets a plurality or the most votes. In a few states, the winner must have the majority, 50% percent of the total votes.
Third Party Nominees and other Political party functions Third party candidates get on a ballet through the power of petition(enough people sign off on the fact that this candidate should be added). The main purpose of political parties is to help the people of the U.S. practice self government. Political parties do the following: support candidates, communicate with citizens, run the government, link different parts of the government, act as a watchdog over government. Political parties raise money for campaign appearances, to buy ads, to pay party workers.
Communicating with the people Through speeches, printed material, and ads candidates can tell voters where they stand on issues. Candidates also can listen to what citizens have to say on the issues. A political movement that starts with the people is known as a grassroots movement. If a grassroots movement is strong enough, a political party will adapt this idea.
Acting as a watchdog Between elections, one political party is out of power. The party out of power is called the opposition party. The opposition gives voice to people who disagree with the ideas of the party in power. As a result, the opposition party hopes to attract voters and forces the party in power to pay attention to the views of a wide range of people.
Chapter 11 lesson 1: Who can vote: Qualifying to vote and the expansion of suffrage Voting for leaders is one of the most important rights we have as citizens. Suffrage is the right to vote and originally it was limited to small groups of people. E.g. white, male landowners only and not any males who could not afford to buy property, women, African American males, Native American males, and anyone under the age of 21. The fifteenth amendment extended suffrage to any male of any race or color. The nineteenth amendment extended suffrage as well to all American women. The twenty-sixth amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
What are the voting requirements? When an American citizen turns 18, he or she has the right to vote in all local, state and national elections. In most states, if you commit a crime, suffer from certain mental illnesses or immigrated to America from another country, voting rights are taken away. Page 309 has many amendments and laws that were passed that are related to extending the ability to vote.
What are the steps in the Voting process: Registering to vote All states require citizens to register before voting, which means to officially sign up to vote. Most states require 25 days before an election. Registration forms ask for your name, address, age and your political party reference. You will need to provide a drivers license, a birth certificate, or some other form of ID to prove citizenship and age.
Preparing to vote A prepared voter is a voter who is informed about public issues and current events. E.g. websites, television, radio, newspapers, books and magazines are all good sources of information. Candidates speeches, debates, and campaign literature(letters, pamphlets, ads) help along the process of becoming a prepared voter.
Casting your vote? Citizens can vote during a set period of time before election day. Polling place are usually set up in schools, community centers, fire stations, or other public buildings. Each precinct has one polling place. Ballot is a list of candidates names that shows their political party and the office they are seeking. The type of ballot that they use depends on the technology of the time. E.g. piece of paper with check boxes, punch card, computer based, etc. People can also vote based on Absentee ballots which are used if you are not able to make it during the day of voting.
Reasons for voting? Voting is a right and a responsibility of citizenship. Voting gives you a chance of voting for your government leaders. Voter turnout rate is the percentage of voters who actually vote. E.g. if 100 people are eligible to vote in a community and only 60 vote, the voter turnout rate is 60 percent. One possible reason for low voter turnout rate is due to Apathy or lack of interest.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Bush vs Gore The 2000 presidential election was between democratic candidate vice president Al gore and Republican Governor George W. Bush. Whomever would win Florida would have the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Many of the paper ballots where damaged or not marked properly during the counting process in Florida. The candidates wanted the state supreme court to decide on how the disputed votes should be counted. The lawyers for Bush appealed the case to the U.S. supreme court.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Bush vs Gore The U.S. Supreme court decided 5-4 in the direction of Bush. Bush won Florida by 537 votes. In total Bush received 271 electoral votes and Gore received 266 votes. This case is important because it spoke about the fairness of presidential elections and the powers of the supreme court. Many people believed that the state of Florida and not the U.S. supreme court should’ve decided this case.
Chapter 11 lesson 2: elections and campaigns Types of elections: Primary and General There are about 500,000 elected officials in the United States of America. The first step in the election process is called a primary election. The purpose of the primary election is to choose one candidate from each party to run in the general election. If no one wins a primary election, a runoff election occurs. The person who wins the runoff election, moves to the general election. National elections are held in even numbered years. All seats in the house of representatives and about 1/3 of the senate is up for election every two years.
Initiatives and Referendums In many elections, people vote on issues, or topics of public interest. An initiative is a process that lets voters propose new laws or amendments to state constitutions. A referendum asks voters to accept or reject a law passed by a state or local legislature. Some states allow recall elections. In a recall, people vote on whether to remove an official from office. This process begins with people signing a petition.
Presidential elections and the Electoral college Many Americans are always shocked to learn that presidents are not elected directly by the American people. Electoral College process is on page 318. This will be on the EOC. When people are voting for the president, they are really voting for special representatives called electors. Electors represent their state in a group known as the Electoral college. E.g. a person who votes for a Republican presidential candidate is really voting for a Republican to represent his or her state in the Electoral college. each state has the same number of electors as it has members of congress. There are 538 members in total.
Presidential elections and the Electoral college After a presidential election, the winning electors meet in their state capitals in December. They then cast their electoral votes for president and vice president. They then send their votes to the Senate. The candidate who reaches 270 electoral votes wins the election. The purpose of the popular vote is to choose the electors. In most states, the winner of the popular vote in a state wins all of that state’s electors known as the winner-take-all system.
Criticisms of the Electoral College A candidate who loses the popular vote can still win the electoral vote and the presidency. Another issue with the winner take all system is that third party candidates are not represented in the electoral vote. Electors choose the president but the popular vote chooses the electors. An election campaign is a candidate’s effort to win an election and is typically a very expensive process.
What does it take to be running a campaign? First a candidate must meet the qualifications for office. E.g. must be at least 35 years old, have lived in the U.S. for 14 years and be a natural born citizen. Several people from each party will run against one another for the same office. In the end, one candidate is chosen to run. National conventions are huge televised events. Political parties use these to get as much media coverage as possible. Once individuals are chosen they start campaigning for themselves which includes making speeches, giving interviews to the press, appearing at community events, giving their opinions on issues, debate their opponents. They do this so that people can vote for them.
What does it take to be running a campaign? Candidates also have staffs to help them known as volunteers. Volunteers canvass neighborhoods which means they go door to door to gather support. Candidates gather support by having celebrities, politicians, newspapers, unions, professional groups, and countless private groups.
How much does a campaign cost? Campaigns can cost from as little as thousands all the way up to millions. Most of it comes from donations, individuals, corporations, unions, and private groups dedicated to political campaigns. Political action committees are organizations set up by interest groups to collect and direct money to their candidates and their campaigns. The federal election Commission regulates campaigns and how they are funded.
Chapter 12 lesson 1 Forming a public opinion In a democracy, the public-all the people in our nation are the source of political power. Public opinion are the ideas and attitudes that people hold about an issue and or a person. Public opinion helps shape the decisions that officials make. Officials recognize that they are there to represent the people, their votes should reflect the views of the people. Public opinion also shapes how successful a president is in putting his or her plans into action. When enough people hold an opinion, government officials listen to them.
What influences decisions? A persons back-ground, mass media, interest groups, a persons gender(male or female), race, religion, experiences, their situation in life such as their job or income. Mass Media is a means of communication such as cell phones, TV, radio, internet websites, newspapers, magazines, books, recordings, and movies. Opinions given by commentators on TV can affect the way people respond to issues. Interest groups are made up of people who share a viewpoint about an issue. They try to convince others to share their point of view.
Features of Public opinion Public opinion is described in three factors. Direction, intensity, and stability. Direction refers to whether public opinion on a topic is positive or negative. Intensity refers to how strongly a person or group holds an opinion about an issue. E.g. Transportation of the masses Stability is a matter of how firmly people hold to their views. How likely will they change their minds.
Public Opinion Polls If voters elect a candidate, they probably agree with many of the candidates ideas. Using elections as measures of public opinion is a problem because elections are only every few years. Public opinion polls are surveys in which individuals are asked to answer questions about a particular issue or person. Most presidents have a specialist whose job is to conduct polls. This pollster can measure how popular the president is. Pollsters survey people by selecting a random sample. This sample has to include men and women and it includes people of all races and ages.
Pros and cons about polls Polls tell politicians what citizens think about issues. People argue that polling makes elected officials focus on pleasing the public rather than making decisions based on the common good.
Chapter 12 lesson 2: The influence of the Mass Media The mass media plays a key role in informing people about issues. There are two types of media sources: Print media and electronic media. Print media includes newspapers, magazines, newsletters and books. Electronic media includes TV, radio and the Internet. Most American media outlets are private businesses which mean that media managers will publish things that will get the most viewers. Public Agenda is a set of items that a person or group wants to address.
Covering candidates and officials Candidates are experienced politicians that spend years working for a political party. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in Candidates benefit from the media’s desire to cover their campaign. Officials use the media to their benefit by leaking or secretly passing on information to reporters. The mass media also play a crucial role such as watchdog which means they keep a close eye on government activities.
Media and National Security The national government must keep some secrets for national security reasons. Framers had a goal in mind in which they decided they wanted the press to be independent of government control. First amendment of the constitution states that one of our freedoms is freedom of the press. This amendment extends now to TV, radio and internet. The media is free from Prior restraint which is government censorship of material before it is published.
Freedom within limits No one is free to publish false information that will harm another person’s reputation which is called libel. Anyone who believes that a written story has harmed him or her may sue the publisher. Public officials must prove actual malice or evil intent to win a libel law suit. Most states have shield laws that protect reporters from having to reveal their sources.
Regulating the Media A portion of their programming must be devoted to covering public affairs usually through news programs. The FCC is a regulatory or managing agency that fines news stations if they break rules such as using foul or inappropriate language. These stations as a result are careful about what people say or do on the air.
Chapter 12 lesson 3: Interest groups and lobbying Government officials want to be linked to their Constituents or the people they represent. In order for Congress to pay attention to what you are saying, join with others that have a similar opinion than you. Interest group is a group of people who share a point of view and unite to promote that point of view. E.g. the National Automobile Dealers Association works on behalf of companies that sell cars and trucks. Some interest groups are formed by workers called unions. Unions try to improve wages, working conditions and benefits for their members.
Other interest groups The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP) tries to improve the lives of African Americans. The AARP stands up for the interests of older Americans. The National Rifle Association looks after the interests of people who own guns. Public Interest groups work to benefit larger sections of society. Nonpartisan group is free from ties to any political party. Main goal of interest groups is to influence the decisions that leaders make.
Being active in Elections Many interest groups support political action committees as well as candidates. PAC’s collect money from group members. They give that money to help candidates they think will support their positions on the issues that they care about. PAC’s can also spend money to oppose candidates that they want to see defeated.
Directly influencing Officials Lobbyists are people who represent interest groups. Lobbyists are active in all levels of local, state, and national levels. Lobbyists suggest solutions to problems. All interest groups want to influence public opinion. Interest groups try to use propaganda in order to present information in a biased or slanted way.
Regulating interest groups The constitution guarantees or promises the right for Americans to take part in interest groups. Some critics say that it is wrong for interest groups to have more influence than ordinary voters. Interest groups provide a service by letting representatives know the people’s wishes.
Chapter 13: State Government The federal system is when the national and state governments share and divide power. In this country’s federal system, some powers are left to the state governments and others to the federal government. An example of the division of powers in our country are on page 356. The federal government has three kinds of power: Expressed( listed in the constitution), Implied( not listed in the constitution), Inherent( kinds of powers government has because it’s the government).
Sharing and Dividing powers, State Constitutions Reserved powers are given only to states. Concurrent powers are powers held by the national and state government. Supremacy Clause says that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Each state has it’s own constitution as well as each state government is split into three branches--- Executive, legislative and judicial.
The State Legislative Branch Unicameral is a one house legislature. Every 10 years the federal government carries out a census to count all Americans. This is done so district boundaries can be drawn which is called redistricting. State legislators have several jobs which include approving the people the governor named or hired for several state offices. The state legislators main job is to make laws.
The State Executive Branch Most states limit a person to no more than 2 terms for the office of governor. A dozen states have no limits but they would have to skip a term before holding office again. A governors main job is similar to the president, in which he or she is head of the executive branch of government. The governor is the head of the state’s National guard. Each year the governor delivers a state of the state message. Governors also have the power to veto a bill, appoint judges, change criminal sentences, pardon criminals. State governments also have executive departments such as secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor,etc.
State Judicial Branch Every state has two sets of courts: higher courts and lower courts. Lower courts are trial courts. A trial court has a judge and a jury that listens to the evidence that is presented and reaches a verdict or decision in favor of one party or the other party. When trial courts cover an entire country, they are often referred to as district courts. Lower courts may handle either criminal or civil cases. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes such as theft of a small sum of money or trespassing and are handled by a judge only.
State Judicial Branch Lower courts also hear civil cases which is a case that involves two parties in which one party claims to have been harmed by the other party. The person who claims to have been harmed is the plaintiff. The person who supposedly caused the harm is the defendant. The higher courts are the second level of courts. They can be trial courts or appellate courts. Appellate courts or an appeal means to ask a judge to review and reverse an earlier case.
State Judicial Branch Higher courts only handle more serious crimes called felonies. Felonies include assault, robbery, kidnapping and murder. The accused person can choose to have a judge and not a jury to determine innocence or guilt.
State Supreme Court The state supreme court is at the top level of state courts and they hear appeals from appellate courts. State supreme courts give out written explanations of their rulings. State supreme courts are also known as last resort courts. Someone who loses an appeal in the state supreme court may believe that the ruling violated their rights under the U.S. constitution and may appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme court. The U.S. Supreme court may decide to either take or decline the case.
Chapter 14: Local Governments Local governments provide road maintenance, police and fire protection, and schools. Local governments get money from the services that they provide from taxes on land and buildings, fees and fines for such things as parking, traffic violations, etc. Most urban areas in the U.S. use one of three basic forms of government. Mayor council form, the commission form, and the council-manager form. The role of Mayor is similar to the state governor or president. Mayor is in charge or oversees the running of many city departments.
Mayor-Council form The council acts as the city’s legislature. It passes city laws known as ordinances. There are two types of mayor-council government: strong mayor system and a weak-mayor system. Under a strong mayor system, the mayor has strong executive powers which includes appointing various city officials and writing a city’s budget. Under a strong mayor system, the mayor has the power to veto or cancel laws passed by the city council. Under a weak mayor system, the mayors power is limited and many people also share many responsibilities.
Council-Manager and Commission Governments Two other forms of local government are the council-manager and commission forms. Under the Council-manager form, the city council appoints a city manager to administer day to day activities. Under the Commission form, government is split into many departments or department heads known as commissioners. Since there are many commissioners, there is no clear leadership and everyone ends up worrying about their department only.
Other units of government A Metropolitan area is formed by a large city and it’s suburbs. Suburbs are the communities near or around cities.
How are County governments organized? A county is normally the state’s largest territorial and political unit. The U.S. census Bureau recognizes more than 3,000 counties or divisions like counties in this country. Cities and counties provide many services such as sewer and water service, transit systems(i.e. buses, trains, etc). Most counties are run by commissioners or supervisors. Sheriffs are elected officials and serve two to four year terms. The district attorney (DA) brings criminals to justice by prosecuting them in court.
Towns, Townships and villages Towns are political units that are smaller than cities and larger than villages. Townships are counties that are divided into areas. 20 states in this country have towns or townships. Town meetings are considered a form of direct democracy because the people are directly involved in governing themselves. Town meetings in general are held once a year.
Townships A survey is a study and measurement of an area of land. Most townships elect a small body of officials known as a township committee, board of supervisors, or board of trustees. Townships have become less important because of the fact that cities and counties have taken over many township duties.
Village government A Village is the smallest unit of local government. Communities with small populations most of the time have no need for their own government. A small community needs the state’s permission to set up a village government. Becoming a village has many benefits due to the fact that the people of the village usually receive better services than they had before. Residents of a village pay higher taxes in order to be able to support themselves.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Plessy v. Ferguson After the civil war, African Americans wondered why they did not receive equal treatment under the law. In the 1800’s many southern states passed laws that required African Americans and Whites to use separate services. The act of separating people based on their race is called Segregation. In Louisiana, Segregation laws required African Americans train passengers to ride in separate cars from White passengers.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Plessy v. Ferguson African Americans believed this went against the Constitution and so in 1892, they asked Homer Plessy to help them test the law. Plessy boarded a train in New Orleans and sat in a car reserved for Whites. When Plessy refused to leave, he was arrested. Judge John Ferguson found Plessy guilty. Plessy appealed the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court and this court still found him guilty. Plessy then appealed his case again but this time, it was to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Plessy v. Ferguson Plessy’s lawyer argued that the constitution guaranteed that all Americans would receive equal treatment under the law. In a 7-1 vote, the court ruled that separate facilities for blacks and whites were not unconstitutional as long as the facilities were of equal quality. The Plessy decision said that Segregation laws were legal. Segregation laws were not properly challenged until 1954 (Brown v. the Board of Education).
Chapter 15 Notes: Citizens and the law Sources and Types of Law People, organizations and people deal better with each other when they follow the same rules. Laws keep the peace and prevent criminal acts. Good laws tend to be fair, reasonable, understandable and enforceable. Laws that are not reasonable is to get your hand cut off for stealing a loaf of bread.
Code of Hammurabi/Roman law The earliest example of a written code of law was in Babylonia, an ancient Middle eastern empire. In 1760 B.C. the legal decisions of King Hammurabi were collected and carved into a large stone pillar. The laws of Hammurabi are pretty severe such as cutting off the hand of an individual who steals something. Most important laws came from ancient Rome which later spread to parts in Europe, Africa and Asia
Common law/Military law The most important influence on the American system came from English law. The English system of Common law is based on court decisions on how a judge in the past applied a law and then by applying it the exact same way. Judges decide a new case by following precedent, or the rulings that were set forth in similar cases. Military law is a set of statutes or laws created by legislative bodies which apply to those individuals serving in the armed forces.
Common law/Military law Sources of law come from the U.S. constitution, state constitutions, statutes, case law, and administrative agencies. Laws that are established by judicial decision is called a case law. Administrative law refers to the rules and regulations that the executive branch makes to carry out it’s job.
The American Legal system Writ of habeas corpus means the practice of bringing a prisoner before a judge to justify his or her imprisonment. The prisoner has the right for a writ of habeas corpus because without this, an individual cannot be brought in to a court of law. It is illegal to have a bill of attainder, which is a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court. An ex post facto law is a law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed. Due process means that the government many not take our lives, liberty or property without following legal procedure. Ex: trial by jury
The rights of the accused No police officer or other government agent can search your home or take your property without probable cause or a valid reason. A search warrant would be needed for something like this, which is the judge’s authorization for a search. Illegally obtained evidence such as having a illegal search of your property cannot be used in a court of law which is known as the exclusionary rule. The fifth amendment states that no person can be forced to be a witness against themselves in a criminal case.
The rights of the accused Before the 1960’s police often pressured suspects to confess to a crime before they saw a lawyer or appeared in court. This practice ended in 1966 after Miranda v. Arizona. Because of this case, the police must inform suspects of their right to refuse to answer police questions. This is known as the Miranda Warning which states: they have the right to remain silent, anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law, they have the right to an attorney: if they can’t afford one, the court will provide one.
The rights of the accused/Sixth Amendment rights Double jeopardy means that a person who is tried for a crime and found not guilty may not be tried again for the same crime. In 1963, the Supreme court case Gideon v. Wainwright established that if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the state must provide one. According to the sixth amendment, the accused have the right to know the accusations against them. They have the right to be tried by a impartial or fair jury. The sixth amendment also guarantees to a speedy and public trial.
Sixth Amendment rights Today some cases do not go to trial and instead the defendant and prosecutor agree on a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty in order to receive a reduced charge. In exchange, the defendant receives a lighter sentence than they would’ve if they would’ve been found guilty of the original charge.
Eighth Amendment Rights The eighth Amendment outlaws cruel and unusual punishments, prohibits excessive bail which is the sum of money that serves as a security deposit to get out of jail while awaiting for one’s trial. Bail depends on the seriousness of a crime, the criminal record of the accused, and the ability of the accused to pay bail.
Civil Law vs Criminal Law Chapter 16 Criminal law deals with people being accused of acts that harm society. Civil law deals with disputes or arguments between two people, a person and a company, two or more companies, or a company and the government. Civil law deals with four branches that include contract law, property law, family law, and personal injury.
Contract Law/ Property law/Family Law A contract is an agreement between two or parties to exchange something of value. Contracts may be written or they may be given oral or spoken. A contract that is worth more than $500 cannot be enforced unless it is in writing. Property law includes the rules that must be followed in buying and selling land or a building. Family law is related to family relationships such as birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, and death.
Family Law/Personal Injury How a divorcing couple divides the property they once owned together is a matter of civil law. Deaths also lead to property disputes. Injury to another person or damage to his or her property is known as a tort. Two types of torts: an intentional tort is a deliberate act that results in harm. The other type is negligence which is careless or reckless behavior.
Legal process in Civil cases Person who files a lawsuit is known as the plaintiff. Person being sued is the defendant. Process begins when the plaintiff’s lawyer files a complaint. The complaint states the wrong that the plaintiff says that the defendant committed and how the plaintiff was harmed. Damages is to repay the plaintiff for the loss. When the complaint is filed, the court sends out a summons, which says when and where the defendant must appear in court.
Legal process in Civil cases Before the trial both lawyers build up their cases. They check the facts, question possible witnesses and gather evidence about the dispute. Sometimes both parties agree on a sum of money that the defendant will pay the plaintiff. If this happens, the plaintiff agrees to drop the lawsuit. A high percentage of civil cases are settled rather than decided by a trial.
The trial A judge decides a case in a civil trial. However either side can ask for a jury to hear a case and decide who wins. If a jury is used, a judge still presides or maintains order in the case. The plaintiff presents his or her evidence first followed by the defendant. Lawyers from each side have a chance to question the witnesses offered by either side.
The trial Finally the judge or jury issues a verdict or decision in favor of one party. If the defendant wins, the plaintiff gets nothing. If the plaintiff wins and damages are involved, the judge or jury sets the amount of damages the defendant must pay. The loser of the case has the right to appeal the case to a higher court. If the defendant doesn’t pay damages, the plaintiff would have to go back to court to force payment.
Criminal law A crime is any act that harms people or society. Ex: shoplifting, setting a fire on purpose, stealing a car, committing murder. Each state has a penal code which lists the states criminal laws and the punishments that can be given to those found guilty of each crime. Since most crimes break state laws, this is why most criminal cases are tried in state courts and most inmates end up in state prisons. Misdemeanors are minor crimes for which a person can be fined a small sum of money or jailed up to a year. Felonies are crimes that are punishable by more than a year in prison.
Punishment/Purposes and Types of crime Homicide (killing a person) is the most serious felony. Vandalism is the crime of damaging someone else’s property on purpose. The more serious the crime, the harsher the punishment. Judges may give different sentences or punishments for the same crime because of the different circumstances in the two cases. It’s possible for some prisoners to become eligible for parole or early release.
Punishment/Purposes and Types of crime The purpose of punishment is for criminals to pay back society, to protect society by locking up a dangerous person, and also it serves as a warning to other people to not commit crimes. Counseling, job training and educational programs help them gain skills they need to become responsible members of society after they are released. In criminal cases, the government is the plaintiff. In this case, the government starts the legal process against the defendant.
Criminal case procedure Criminal cases begin when police believe a crime has been committed. The police then gathers evidence to convince the judge to order the arrest of the person they believe committed the crime. Judge then issues an arrest warrant. The warrant lists the suspect’s name and the crime that they committed. The police will then arrest the individual and read them their rights. The suspect is then taken to the police station for booking which is a record of the arrest. The suspect is then photographed and fingerprinted.
Preliminary Hearing The police must bring the suspect before a judge in order to be charged. The judge will then explain the charges to the suspect. If the crime is a misdemeanor, the suspect enters a plea at this time. If they plead guilty, punishment is given at this time. If the plea is not guilty, a court date is set at this time. If the crime is a felony, no plea is given and a court date is set. The judge at this point either sends the suspect to jail or allow bail to be posted.
Indictment, Arraignment and Pleas Next step is for the accused to be indicted or charged with the crime. At this point, the judge looks at the evidence and decides whether or not the evidence is strong enough to charge the individual with the crime. Case may be dismissed. If it’s not dismissed, arraignment follows. At this point, the suspect either pleads guilty or not guilty. If the plead is guilty, the judge gives their sentence. If the plea is not guilty, the judge sets the date for a trial. Plea Bargaining is when the prosecution agrees to charge the defendant with a less serious crime in return for a plea of guilty.
The Trial Plea Bargaining saves the government time and expense of a trial. Defendants in felony cases have the right to a jury trial but most choose to be tried by a judge. When both lawyers are asking questions to the witnesses, this is known as cross-examination.
The Trial if a jury is used, the members of a jury go to a room to make a decision on the case. People in general are innocent until proven guilty. In most states, the votes have to be unanimous in order for a person to be found guilty. If the defendant is found not guilty, he or she is set free. If the verdict is guilty, the judge sets a court date for sentencing.
The Juvenile Justice system There was a point in the 1800’s where children who committed crimes would be jailed with adults. During the 1800’s, people believed that family failure was the reason juveniles committed crimes. The first juvenile court was set up in Chicago, Illinois in People supported the goal of trying to rehabilitate or correct young offender’s behavior.
Changes to the Juvenile system In the 1960’s, children in some cases were treated worse than adults who committed the same crime. Children also had the same legal rights that adults have.(e.g. the right to an attorney, right to be told charges against them). Many states at this time changed their laws to make it easier for young offenders to be tried in adult courts.
Present day Juvenile Justice Every state has it’s own special set of laws for handling Juvenile Delinquents or young people who commit crimes. Most states consider anyone under the age of 18 to be a juvenile. In some states, anyone who is younger than 16 is considered a juvenile as well. A juvenile charged with a felony such as Murder can be tried as an adult in most states. Children and teens commit crimes each year such as shoplifting or vandalism which are minor crimes. They also commit major crimes such as Murder or armed robbery.
Present day Juvenile Justice Children who live in poverty, abused, neglected, or suffer emotional or mental health issues are more likely to get in trouble with the law. Juveniles who commit crimes are considered one of two types. Delinquent or status offenders. Delinquent offenders are young people who have committed acts that would be crimes if committed by adults. Status offenders are those acts that would not be crimes if committed by adults. E.g. running away from home or skipping school.
Juvenile Court system Juvenile court systems deal with two types of cases which are neglect and delinquency. Neglect involves caregivers abusing or failing to care for their children. A juvenile court system has the power to remove these children from their home. Delinquency cases involve juveniles committing crimes.
Intake process To take custody of someone is to take charge of someone in an official way. If a juvenile commits an offense or crime that is minor, it is possible that the police can give the youth a warning and release him or her to a parent or caregiver. The other option would be to refer this young person to a social agency. If the offense is serious or the youth has a prior record, the police may turn them over to the Juvenile court. Once the youth is turned over to a Juvenile court, a Social worker carries out a review called an intake in order to decide how the case should be handled.
The Hearing process Individuals who remain in the system after intake face up to three hearings. Detention hearing, adjudication hearing, and disposition hearing. Detention hearing is similar to a preliminary hearing for adults. State needs a good reason to believe the youth committed a crime. Adjudication hearing is like an adult trial and it is closed to the public and usually does not include a jury. Attorney for the youth presents evidence, calls witnesses to the stand, and cross examines witnesses of the state. at the end, the judge finds the youth to be innocent or delinquent(guilty verdict).
The Hearing process Delinquent youths face a disposition hearing, which is like a sentencing hearing for adults. The judge may give the youth probation. If this is the case, the youth is released and allowed to remain free as long as he or she meets conditions set by judge for a period of time. If the youth completes this probation like time with no trouble, the charges are dropped and removed from his or her record. If the crime was serious, the youth may be sent to an institution for young offenders and serve one to three years. In some states they can be held until age 18 or 21.