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Chapter 1 Overview Process of Ethical Decisions

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1 Chapter 1 Overview Process of Ethical Decisions
Primary sources of U.S. Law Understanding the Court System How the Legal System Works – Part 2 Difference between a Civil Trial and Criminal Trial

2 Chapter 1 –The Foundation of Law
If people used ethical behavior all the time, there would be no need for laws. Ethics tell you what you ought to do. However, people don’t always do what they are supposed to, so governments create laws. Have students brainstorm answers and come up and write them on the board.

What constitutes ethical behavior? Consider behaviors, character traits, and actions. Explain the element and comment on which one (Greatest Good, Golden Rule, or Real-World Ethics) guides their decision making most frequently. How do the following elements play a role in ethical decision making? Describe an instance in which you have been affected by the unethical practice of a person, company, or business. Ask students how conflicts of ethics arise in the law? Accidents, theft, arguments, and physical disputes, etc., are all issues that the law attempts to correct but which are ethical in nature. Conflicts such as free press vs. fair trial: personal privacy vs. police duty; client confidentiality vs. public safety and truth vs. justice are just some of the ethical conflicts that confront the legal professional on a daily basis. Societal conflicts The greatest good The golden rule Real-world ethics

4 Ethical Character Traits
Character traits can become a compass to help guide you when legal guidelines and moral rules do not help! Honesty – truthful when dealing with others Justice – treating people fairly and equally Compassion – caring about other people & the situation they are in Integrity – a willingness and determination to do the right thing

5 – The Law and the Courts 5 Main Sources of the Law
Constitutional Law Common Law Statutes and the Civil Law System Court Decisions Administrative Regulations

6 Constitutional Law A constitution is a country’s formal document that spells out the principles by which its government operates. The U.S. Constitution is the basis of all U.S. laws. It defines the fundamental rights of citizens. 3 branches of the U.S. government and their roles: Legislative Branch – known as Congress, they are responsible for passing the laws of our country Executive Branch – includes the President and all the departments of our country – responsible for ensuring that laws passed by Congress are upheld and followed. Judiciary Branch – Responsible for interpreting the laws passed by Congress and adjudicating criminal cases in federal matters.

7 Common Law Common law is a set of laws made by the courts which provide a series of consistent rules that later courts must follow. Early American colonists came from England, so it was natural for them to use the common law of England. Court decisions were written down and a body of cases were developed. Judges could then refer to past cases (known as precedent) when making a decision.

8 Statutes and the Civil Law System
Trace the roots of civil law back to the Roman Empire in the 6th Century. Unlike common law, civil law is based on statutes rather than court decisions. A statute is a law passed by a government body that has been made for the purpose of creating laws. Government body is called a legislature. Statutes order people to do something (wear a seat belt) And…Statutes say that people cannot do something (Vermont Statute Chapter 79: Article 4102, No person under the age of 18 may practice tattooing or body piercing. A tattooist shall not tattoo a minor without the written consent of the parent or guardian of the minor.

9 Court Decisions Court-made law also called:
Case Law Court Decisions Judge-Made Law Courts make laws in 3 ways: Common Law tradition – Decisions made by the highest court of a state are the law of that state. Interpreting statutes – Court must figure out what the statute means. Judicial Review – courts can decide whether laws conflict with the Constitution.

10 Administrative Regulations
The body of rules created by government agencies Legislators will give the power to regulate certain activities to an administrative agency. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has the power to regulate radio, television, and cable companies.

11 Courts for Minors What kind of court would a teenager have to appear in if he or she commits an offense? Why would such a court created? Juvenile Court –

12 Court for Minors…. JUVENILE COURT
Deals with minors under age 18 and hands down decision appropriate to their age and level of understanding.

13 Court Systems in the U.S. U.S. SUPREME COURT Federal Court System
Court of Appeals for Federal Court U.S. Court of Appeals State Supreme Courts U.S. Claims Court U.S. District Courts Intermediate Appellate Courts U.S. Court of International Trade General Trial Courts U.S. Tax Court Lower Trial Courts Territorial Courts Court of Military Appeals Federal Court System State Court System

14 Breakdown of U.S. Court System
U.S. Supreme Court Hears appeals from a federal and state court; has original jurisdiction in cases in which a state is a party, and in cases involving American ambassadors Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit Hears cases on appeal from the U.S. Claims Court and the Court of International Trade U.S. Claims Court Hears cases from citizens involving claims against the federal government U.S. Court of International Trade Hears civil cases concerning tariffs and import taxes U.S. Tax Court Hears cases dealing with tax law Territorial Courts Hears cases dealing with territorial and federal laws in the territories of the U.S. Court of Military Appeals Hears appeals of court martials

15 Hierachy of Court System
U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Courts Vermont State Supreme Court Vermont State Court of Appeals Superior Courts District Courts Municipal Courts and Traffic Violation Bureaus Vermont Family Court Vermont Environmental Court

16 Understanding of Terms….
What is the difference between a trial and an appellate court. Trial courts hear testimony, consider the evidence, and decide the facts of the case. A trial court may sit with or without a jury. A trial in which just the judge hears the case without a jury is called a bench trial. Once a trial court has decided the case, the losing party may appeal the case to an appellate court. What does the word “jurisdiction“ mean? The derivation of the word "jurisdiction" is from Latin, "to say the law." When a court has jurisdiction of a case, that court has the power to hear that case. Original jurisdiction is the authority to consider and decide cases in the first instance, as distinguished from appellate jurisdiction, which reviews decisions that have been decided by a lower court. The jurisdiction of the federal courts is defined by the Constitution and by Congress. The jurisdiction of the state courts is defined by the Vermont State Constitution and the State Legislature.

17 Intermediate Appellate Courts
State Court Systems Each state has its own court system. General pattern is the same in all states: General Trial Courts Local Trial Courts Juvenile Courts Intermediate Appellate Courts State Supreme Courts

18 Breakdown of Vermont Court System
Vermont Supreme Court Hears appeals of cases that have been decided by other courts Vermont Superior Court Hears mainly civil cases and small claims of <=$5000 Vermont District Court Hears predominantly criminal cases Vermont Family Court Hears divorces, juvenile, domestic abuse, and child support cases Vermont Probate Court Handles the probate of wills, the settlement of estates, adoptions, guardianships, name changes and uniform gifts to minors Vermont Environmental Court Hears appeals from municipal boards and commissions and also appeals from Act 250* decisions Vermont Judicial Bureau Has jurisdiction over complaints issued by state and local law enforcement officers: municipal ordinances, traffic tickets, fish and wildlife, hazing, minors possessing alcohol *Act 250 – Passed by Vt. Legislature in Spring of 1970, also known as Land Use and Development Act.

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