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15.3 The American Legal System

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Presentation on theme: "15.3 The American Legal System"— Presentation transcript:

1 15.3 The American Legal System

2 Protection in the US Constitution
The US Constitution is the basic law of our nation; it gives each branch of government a role in making, enforcing, and interpreting the law

3 Protection in the US Constitution
Courts base their rulings on written laws and on precedents of earlier cases; these are used to build decisions about similar cases in the future This is called stare decisis- “let the decision stand”

4 Protections in the US Constitution
The writ of habeas corpus requires an official who has arrested someone to bring them to court and explain why they are being held

5 Protections in the US Constitution
A bill of attainder is a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court, this is forbidden by Article I

6 Protections in the US Constitution
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, these are also forbidden by Article I of the Constitution Example- the lottery is legal in NC, if in a few years it becomes illegal people cannot be punished retroactively

7 Protections in the US Constitution
The 5th and 14th Amendments guarantee due process of law, the government may not take our lives, liberty, or property, except according to the proper exercise of law

8 Protections in the US Constitution
The equal-protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment requires governments to treat all people equally regardless of gender, race, or religion

9 The Fourth Amendment The 4th Amendment protects citizens against “unreasonable search and seizure” to be searched police must first get a search warrant In Mapp v. Ohio the Supreme Court adopted the exclusionary rule which says evidence gained that violates the 4th Amendment can’t be used in a trial

10 The Fifth Amendment The 5th Amendment states people may not be required to answer questions that may incriminate them or show their involvement in a crime In Miranda v. Arizona the Supreme Court ruled police must inform suspects they have the “right to remain silent”- refuse to answer questions

11 The Fifth Amendment The 5th Amendment also bans double jeopardy a person tried for a crime and found not guilty may not be retried a second time

12 The Fifth Amendment It also states people accused of serious federal crimes must be brought before a grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence for trial If there is sufficient evidence it indicts the accused person, or issues a formal charge that names the suspect and states the charges against them

13 The Sixth Amendment The 6th Amendment grants an accused person the right to a lawyer In Gideon v. Wainwright the Supreme Court decided if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the state must provide one

14 The Sixth Amendment The 6th Amendment also guarantees the accused are informed of the nature and cause of the accusations against them and have “the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury” They also have the right to question witnesses against them

15 The Sixth Amendment Although everyone charged with a crime has a right to a jury trial, they may choose to appear only before a judge, this is known as a bench trial

16 The Sixth Amendment Plea bargaining is a negotiation between the defense attorney and the prosecutor; the defendant pleads guilty to a less serious crime in exchange for receiving a less severe penalty than they might receive at trial

17 The Eighth Amendment The 8th Amendment outlaws “cruel and unusual punishment” the punishment must also fit the crime In Furman v. Georgia the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty as then administered was not constitutional, it was being imposed in unfair ways

18 The Eighth Amendment After the decision most states revised their death penalty laws; some states have established a two step process: A jury trial determines guilt or innocence of the defendant A separate hearing then determines the degree of punishment

19 The Eighth Amendment The 8th Amendment also prohibits “excessive bail” bail is money an arrested person pays to court to be released from jail while awaiting trial

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