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Today’s Agenda (4/16/15): 1)Go over “Weird Laws” assignment 2)Today’s Legal Question/Quick Case Study 3)Criminal & Civil Law: Similarities and Differences.

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Presentation on theme: "Today’s Agenda (4/16/15): 1)Go over “Weird Laws” assignment 2)Today’s Legal Question/Quick Case Study 3)Criminal & Civil Law: Similarities and Differences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Today’s Agenda (4/16/15): 1)Go over “Weird Laws” assignment 2)Today’s Legal Question/Quick Case Study 3)Criminal & Civil Law: Similarities and Differences 4)Case Study: Two Trials, Two Verdicts

2 Tonight’s HW: Finish The Impact of the OJ Simpson Homicide Trial (due tomorrow)

3 Last Night’s HW: “Weird Laws” From Around the World

4 Today’s Legal Question: As far as you know, what is the MAIN DIFFERENCE between a “crime” and a “civil offense”? – Crime = illegal action committed against the GOVERNMENT – Civ. Off. = intentional/unintentional actions that cause loss/harm to an INDIVIDUAL or GROUP

5 The Case of Catherine Genovese In 1964, 28-year-old Catherine Genovese was attacked and stabbed to death in a highly populated area of Queens, NY. During the half-hour ordeal, 38 people claimed to hear Cathy’s screams for help and even watched the attack from their windows. Twice the killer was scared off by the sound of voices and the realization he was being watched. However, both times, when it became obvious that no one was going to call the police, the killer returned to finish off his victim. Rather than give any aid, such as calling the police or an ambulance, all 38 bystanders chose to pull their shades, draw their blinds, and ignore Cathy’s pleas for help. At the time, there was no law in New York that legally required a witness to crime to notify the authorities that a crime was in progress.

6 Your Questions: According to the law, the bystanders did NOT commit a crime by choosing not to aid Cathy Genovese… …but CIVILLY speaking, should the bystanders be held “responsible” for her death by NOT acting when they had ample opportunities to help her? Could the family of Miss Genovese “sue” the 38 bystanders for not helping her? If you were on the jury would you find them “responsible” of this civil offense? Catherine Genovese

7 Two Types of Legal Systems: Criminal Law & Civil Law

8 Criminal Laws An infraction against the State (gov’t) CLs are made to do the following: 1. regulate public conduct 2. set out responsibilities owed to society

9 Criminal Laws (cont’d) When a criminal case takes place, legal action is brought by the State against the accused individual

10 Criminal Laws (cont’d) What happens when you break a criminal law? 1. incarceration 2. monetary fines 3. some kind of supervision (house arrest, probation, etc.)

11 Criminal Laws (cont’d) In the US, we have two types of criminal offenses 1. felony – a serious crime that carries a penalty at least 3 or more years in prison 2. misdemeanor – lesser crime with a lesser penalty than a felony

12 Civil Laws These laws regulate relations between individuals and groups These cases often result in what we call a civil action (lawsuit)

13 Civil Laws (cont’d) A lawsuit is brought by one party against another (“suing” someone) Complaint usually involves some kind of wrongdoing or bodily injury The penalty in a civil action is usually monetary compensation

14 Civil Laws (cont’d) Civil laws also regulate the following: 1. marriage or divorce 2. contracts between two or more parties 3. protecting against negligence (irresponsible behavior)

15 To Summarize: The Differences Between Criminal and Civil Court Cases Criminal Case : 1. think government vs. defendant 2. defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the gov’t 3. that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt through a unanimous decision by a jury

16 Differences (cont’d) Civil Case Think plaintiff vs. defendant Plaintiff is the one who claims to be wronged (the one suing the defendant) In this case, a plaintiff can win by preponderance, meaning the defendant is “probably” or “most likely” responsible for injury (does not require a unanimous jury decision)

17 Our Case Study (Criminal/Civil Law) The Murder & Wrongful Death Trials of Orenthal James Simpson


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