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 Civil Lawsuits  between people or groups of people (individuals, organizations or gov’ts) in which no criminal laws have been broken. ◦ the person.

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Presentation on theme: " Civil Lawsuits  between people or groups of people (individuals, organizations or gov’ts) in which no criminal laws have been broken. ◦ the person."— Presentation transcript:


2  Civil Lawsuits  between people or groups of people (individuals, organizations or gov’ts) in which no criminal laws have been broken. ◦ the person suing is the plaintiff; the accused is the defendant ◦ Cases involving a small amount of money are handled in small claims court; large amounts often require lawyers and juries ◦ Many different kinds  property disputes, breach of contract, family matters, negligence (when someone was hurt or injured b/c someone else was careless), or personal injury

3 1. Plaintiff’s attorney files a complaint (Fell on neighbor’s icy sidewalk) 2. Court sends a summons (what the suit is against him/her and order to appear in court) to the defendant 3. Defendant’s attorney files a written answer (respond)

4 4. Pre-trial hearing  called to clarify differences between the sides  Settlements where the parties agree on an amount money that the defendant will pay to the plaintiff can be reached at the point 5. Attorneys for both sides exchange pleadings documents (answer to the complaint; admit to the charges or offer reasons why he/she is not responsible) 6. Attorneys for plaintiff and defendant argue case in court 7. Court gives a verdict

5  If the losing side believes that the judge made errors during the trial or some other type of injustice took place, it my appeal the verdict to a higher court  A winning plaintiff may have to wait up to two years before they see any of the money the court awarded them.

6  Criminal Law  cases in which the state/federal gov’t charges someone with a crime ◦ Gov’t=Prosecution (the party who starts the legal proceedings against another party for a violation of the law) ◦ Person accused=Defendant  Crime  an act that breaks a federal/state criminal law & causes harm to people or society

7  In the United States each state decides what actions are crimes for that particular state ◦ Penal Code of each state defines the state’s criminal laws  Federal government also has a penal code that defines federal crimes like kidnapping, tax invasion, drug smuggling, etc.

8  Crimes can be divided into two main categories: ◦ Felonies  Serious crimes such as burglary, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter, and murder  Punishable by imprisonment for a year or more  Murder can be punished by death ◦ Misdemeanors  Less serious crimes  Punishable by fines or sentenced to one year or less in jail

9  Many crimes are considered victimless because there is no clear victim ◦ Illegal gambling, drug use, crimes against morality, etc.  Hard to enforce since there is no victim to file a complaint

10  Each state’s penal codes set different degrees of seriousness for different crimes ◦ The more serious the crime the harsher the punishment  First Degree Murder → planned killing or hiring of another person to kill someone (premeditated → though out ahead of time)  Second Degree Murder → intentional murder without prior planning, but often in anger  Manslaughter → killing of another person by accident

11  When people are convicted of crimes they are usually punished by fines, prison sentences, or both ◦ Penalty depends on the seriousness of the crime  For misdemeanors the punishment might be a fine or a few days (or weeks) in jail  Felonies are usually punished by long prison terms

12 1. Arrest 2. Preliminary Hearing 3. Indictment 4. Arraignment 5. Trial 6. Verdict


14  Police arrest and book a suspect

15  Suspect appears before a judge  Bail is set

16  Grand jury (or judge) hears evidence and formally charges the suspect with a crime

17  Defendant Pleads not guilty ◦ Trail date is set  Defendant Pleads guilty and accepts a plea bargain

18  Prosecution and defense present cases to jury (or judge) ◦ Testimony  the answers witnesses give while under oath ◦ Cross-examine  to question a witness at a trial or a hearing to check or discredit testimony  Jury (or judge) reaches a verdict

19  Acquittal ◦ Defendant found not guilty and goes free  Sentencing ◦ Defendant found guilty ◦ Judge sentences defendant  Hung Jury ◦ If a jury cannot agree on a verdict after many votes  Judge declares a hung jury

20  Guilty verdicts can be appealed by the defense ◦ Ask for a review by a higher court ◦ Contends that errors were made or defendant’s constitutional rights were violated

21  Juvenile Delinquency ◦ Juveniles are people who are not yet legally adults (usually under 16 years old) ◦ Juvenile Courts are set up to prosecute minors who break laws – they are treated differently than adults

22  The primary goal of juvenile courts is to rehabilitate (correct a person’s behavior)  Minors can be sent to court after being arrested, by a petition from school administrators, or by a parent who needs help controlling their child  Juvenile courts handle two type of cases:  Neglect – a minor is placed into a new home  Delinquency – when juveniles commit crimes

23  Parents are notified when minors are arrested  Sometimes special officers in police departments can direct students to special programs instead of court – counseling, job training, drug treatment  All juveniles may be held in custody while a judge decides what to do with a case

24  The first stage of a juvenile hearing is the preliminary hearing – this stage determines if there is enough probable cause to believe that the minor has committed a crime  Juvenile cases are different from regular trials – both sides can call witnesses and present evidence, but there is no jury (a judge decides on guilt and innocence) and only involved parties may attend  Information about juvenile offenders is kept secret

25  If a juvenile is found guilty they are then sentenced by the judge  Offenders can be put into delinquency schools, treatment centers, teen shelters, hospitals, and put on probation  Neglected juveniles can become wards of the court – and the court supervises them until adulthood

26 ◦ The In re Gault case established several rules for juvenile criminal cases  Juveniles and their caregivers must be notified in writing of the charges  Juveniles have the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to confront witnesses

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