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A Brief Introduction to Our System of Law and Legal Citations for Non-Attorney Title 9 Advocates Agnes Lintz, J.D., Patients’ Rights Specialist California.

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Presentation on theme: "A Brief Introduction to Our System of Law and Legal Citations for Non-Attorney Title 9 Advocates Agnes Lintz, J.D., Patients’ Rights Specialist California."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Brief Introduction to Our System of Law and Legal Citations for Non-Attorney Title 9 Advocates Agnes Lintz, J.D., Patients’ Rights Specialist California Office of Patients’ Rights PRAT February 2013

2 The American system of law is divided into two layers: federal and state The American system of law is divided into two layers: federal and state Federal laws affect the U.S. as a whole while state laws are specific to a particular state Federal laws affect the U.S. as a whole while state laws are specific to a particular state If there are both relevant federal and state laws, whichever gives the individual more rights governs. If there are both relevant federal and state laws, whichever gives the individual more rights governs.

3 There are three departments or branches of both the federal and state systems of law— There are three departments or branches of both the federal and state systems of law— Executive Executive Legislative and Legislative and Judicial Judicial

4 The Legislative Branch—makes the laws The Legislative Branch—makes the laws The Executive Branch—carries out the laws The Executive Branch—carries out the laws The Judicial Branch--interprets the laws The Judicial Branch--interprets the laws

5 A third and separate legal system is the Native American Tribal System operating Native American lands. A third and separate legal system is the Native American Tribal System operating Native American lands. Government of a tribe’s internal affairs is beyond the reach of federal or state power. Government of a tribe’s internal affairs is beyond the reach of federal or state power.

6 Within each system of law (federal and state), there are four types of law Within each system of law (federal and state), there are four types of law Constitution Constitution Statutes Statutes Administrative regulations Administrative regulations Cases Cases Four Types of Laws

7 Constitution A constitution is a document containing the fundamental laws and principles of a government or society A constitution is a document containing the fundamental laws and principles of a government or society No law can be enacted that conflicts with anything the Constitution says No law can be enacted that conflicts with anything the Constitution says The first ten amendments of the federal Constitution are often referred to as the Bill of Rights The first ten amendments of the federal Constitution are often referred to as the Bill of Rights There is both a federal and a state constitution There is both a federal and a state constitution

8 Statutes Generally statutes are written by the legislature whom we elect Generally statutes are written by the legislature whom we elect There are two houses in both the federal and California legislature There are two houses in both the federal and California legislature In California, the houses are called the Senate and the Assembly In California, the houses are called the Senate and the Assembly The federal legislature consists of the Senate and Congress The federal legislature consists of the Senate and Congress

9 Initiative Process In California, the initiative process allows citizens to create statutes without the aid of the legislature by putting a measure (Proposition) on the ballot. In California, the initiative process allows citizens to create statutes without the aid of the legislature by putting a measure (Proposition) on the ballot. The Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) is an example of a law that was passed by voters. The Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) is an example of a law that was passed by voters.

10 Form of California Statutory Cites California statutes are divided into 29 topics or “codes”. California statutes are divided into 29 topics or “codes”. To find a particular statute, it is easiest to know the name of the code (Welfare and Institutions, Health and Safety, Civil, etc.) and the section of the statute. To find a particular statute, it is easiest to know the name of the code (Welfare and Institutions, Health and Safety, Civil, etc.) and the section of the statute. Example: Welf. & Inst. Code § 5150 Example: Welf. & Inst. Code § 5150

11 Form of Federal Statutes Like California statutes, federal statutes are divided by subject then specific statute number. Like California statutes, federal statutes are divided by subject then specific statute number. Unlike its state counterpart, the federal law uses numbered titles of the U.S. Code not named codes. Unlike its state counterpart, the federal law uses numbered titles of the U.S. Code not named codes. Example: 29 U.S.C § 1181 Example: 29 U.S.C § 1181

12 Alternate Way of Citing Statutes Each federal law receives a number with two parts; the number of the U.S. Congress and a sequentially assigned number (Ex. Public Law , 107 Stat. 25, is the 45 th law passed during the 108 th Congress, found at page 25 of volume 107 of US Statutes at Large). Each federal law receives a number with two parts; the number of the U.S. Congress and a sequentially assigned number (Ex. Public Law , 107 Stat. 25, is the 45 th law passed during the 108 th Congress, found at page 25 of volume 107 of US Statutes at Large). When signed by the Governor, Calif. Statutes are given a chapter number, sequential by year, plus a page and section number (Ex., Stats. 1967, c. 1667, p. 4074, § 36) When signed by the Governor, Calif. Statutes are given a chapter number, sequential by year, plus a page and section number (Ex., Stats. 1967, c. 1667, p. 4074, § 36)

13 Regulations Regulations are written by government agencies and approved through a public comment process Regulations are written by government agencies and approved through a public comment process They cover the day to day running of the agency They cover the day to day running of the agency An agency’s own regulations are binding and controlling on them An agency’s own regulations are binding and controlling on them

14 Citations for State Regulations Regulations are in volumes (called titles grouped by topic) of the California Code of Regulations or CCR Regulations are in volumes (called titles grouped by topic) of the California Code of Regulations or CCR Within each volumes the regulations are grouped by section number Within each volumes the regulations are grouped by section number So 15 CCR § 1207 would be title 15, section 1207 So 15 CCR § 1207 would be title 15, section 1207

15 Title 5 concerns regulations regarding Special Education Title 5 concerns regulations regarding Special Education Title 9 contains regulations regarding the Short-Doyle Act, LPS, Duties of the PRA, and Non-LPS Patients Rights Title 9 contains regulations regarding the Short-Doyle Act, LPS, Duties of the PRA, and Non-LPS Patients Rights Title 15 contains regulations regarding correctional facilities Title 15 contains regulations regarding correctional facilities Title 17 concerns Regional Centers /Developmental Disabilities Title 17 concerns Regional Centers /Developmental Disabilities Title 22 contains regulations regarding licensing of hospitals and other facilities Title 22 contains regulations regarding licensing of hospitals and other facilities

16 Citations of Federal Regs. Can be found in the Federal Register (FR) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Can be found in the Federal Register (FR) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Similar to the federal codes, regulations are by title number and section (Ex., 45 CFR ) Similar to the federal codes, regulations are by title number and section (Ex., 45 CFR )

17 Courts A court is an institution that the government sets up to settle disputes through the legal process A court is an institution that the government sets up to settle disputes through the legal process People, businesses and in certain cases government entities, can come to court to settle their disputes People, businesses and in certain cases government entities, can come to court to settle their disputes Courts decide what happened and what should be done about it Courts decide what happened and what should be done about it

18 Impact of Court Decisions Court decisions may impact many people besides those directly involved in the lawsuit. Court decisions may impact many people besides those directly involved in the lawsuit. They not only tell those involved in the case what their rights are, but also tell other people how the courts would probably decide similar cases. They not only tell those involved in the case what their rights are, but also tell other people how the courts would probably decide similar cases. They may help people resolve their dispute without going to court. They may help people resolve their dispute without going to court.

19 State Cases Each county has municipal and superior courts that issue decisions Each county has municipal and superior courts that issue decisions Those decisions can be appealed to the court of appeal responsible for the district that the particular county is in Those decisions can be appealed to the court of appeal responsible for the district that the particular county is in Court of Appeals decisions can be appealed to the State Supreme Court Court of Appeals decisions can be appealed to the State Supreme Court

20 Citations for California Cases Case law is compiled in volumes called “reporters” or “reports” Case law is compiled in volumes called “reporters” or “reports” The court itself publishes the California Reports (Supreme Court) and the California Appellate Reports The court itself publishes the California Reports (Supreme Court) and the California Appellate Reports The West Publishing Company publishes the California Reporter which contains both the California Supreme Court and Appellate Court decisions in one volume. The West Publishing Company publishes the California Reporter which contains both the California Supreme Court and Appellate Court decisions in one volume. Each reporter has 2 nd, 3 rd, etc. series Each reporter has 2 nd, 3 rd, etc. series

21 Citations for California Cases The same cases are found in both sources, resulting in parallel citations The same cases are found in both sources, resulting in parallel citations Cases can easily be found if you know what page of which volume of which reporter a case is on. Cases can easily be found if you know what page of which volume of which reporter a case is on. The order is The order is Vol. #Reporter NamePage # Example: Riese v. St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center (1987) 209 Cal.App.3d 1303, 271 Cal.Rptr. 199

22 Federal Cases Federal Cases start at the District Court level—California is divided into several geographical districts Federal Cases start at the District Court level—California is divided into several geographical districts A California district court decision can be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is responsible for several states A California district court decision can be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is responsible for several states Court of Appeals cases can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court Court of Appeals cases can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

23 Citations for Federal Cases Opinions of the district trial courts may be published in the Federal Supplement (F. Supp.) Opinions of the district trial courts may be published in the Federal Supplement (F. Supp.) Opinions of the circuit courts of appeal are cited in the Federal Reporter (F., F.2d, etc.) Opinions of the circuit courts of appeal are cited in the Federal Reporter (F., F.2d, etc.) Only cases authorized (or approved) for publication by the court are published Only cases authorized (or approved) for publication by the court are published

24 Opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court are published in three separate reporters, the United States Reports, the Supreme Court Reporter and the United States Supreme Court Reports—Lawyers Edition. Opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court are published in three separate reporters, the United States Reports, the Supreme Court Reporter and the United States Supreme Court Reports—Lawyers Edition. The official reports are the United States Reports The official reports are the United States Reports

25 Questions? Agnes Lintz, J.D. Patients’ Rights Specialist California Office of Patients’ Rights


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