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Legal Rights and Responsibilities

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Presentation on theme: "Legal Rights and Responsibilities"— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Rights and Responsibilities
The American Legal System Civil and Criminal Law

2 Source of Law The Source of our Laws
Gov’t should operate on rules and laws The purpose of laws is to keep the peace and prevent violent actsset punishments American law is traced back to three types in early history Code of Hammurabi- First system of written law (harsh penalties) Roman Law- created a study of law (jurisprudence) Code of JustinianNapoleonic Code English Law- most important source of American law Common Law- law based on court decisions rather than legal code Judges set precedents, or legal traditions Eventually, English governments records these decisions, called statutes


4 Types of Law 2 types of law
Criminal Law- laws that try to prevent people from deliberately harming each other Government is always the plaintiff (group that presses charges) Individual being sued is the defendant (State of NC vs. John Jones) Crimes are felonies (rape, kidnapping, murder) or misdemeanor (vandalism, stealing)

5 Types of Law Civil Law- Involve disputes between people in which no criminal law has been broken If a civil case goes to court it is a lawsuitperson sues to collect damages for something that was done to them (money owed for broken agreement) Torts- civil wrongs falling on ice in neighbors driveway


7 Types of Law Public Law vs. International Law
Public Law involves rights guaranteed in the Constitution Constitutional law dictates how the government works Administrative Law- rules that gov’t must issue to carry out their jobs Statutory Law- written rules International Law- treaties and agreements among nations


9 American Legal System The American Legal System
Legal rights transferred from England to American colonies Courts rely on written statutes, not unwritten common law US Constitution is supreme law of the land Courts use “stare decisis” let the decision to stand- to judge cases

10 American Legal System Article I makes promises to citizens
Writ of Habeus Corpus- right to be told what you are being arrested for No Bills of Attainder- laws that punishes a person of a crime without having a trial first No Ex Post Facto- Courts cannot make something a law after the action has been committed Bill of Rights Due Process- certain steps must be followed when accusing someone of crimes Equal treatment under the law

11 Rights of the Accused Rights of People Accused of Crimes
Fourth Amendment No unreasonable searches and seizures Police must have a search warrant- with probable cause Mapp vs. Ohio- police cannot use evidence in a trial if gained by illegal methods

12 Rights of the Accused Fifth Amendment
No self incrimination, Double Jeopardy, and Grand Juries Miranda vs. Arizona pleading the fifth A grand jury decides whether the gov’t has enough evidence to convict someone of a crime

13 Rights of the Accused Sixth Amendment Legal Counsels and Trials
Gideon vs. Wainwright Those arrested must be made aware of crime committed and brought to trial quickly Defendants can choose to not have a jury trial and have the judge decide their case

14 Rights of the Accused Eighth Amendment
Outlaws cruel and unusual punishments Prohibits excessive bailmoney arrested person pays to be temporarily released while awaiting trial


16 Civil Cases Plaintiff vs. Defendant
Plaintiff is the person bringing the lawsuitclaiming to have suffered damages and lost money Defendant is the party being suedargues that they are not responsible to losses No criminal act has been committed in civil cases Civil lawsuits deal with negligence and providing equality

17 Civil Cases How Civil Cases Work Bringing Suit Hire lawyer
File a complaint Court summons the defendant (subpoena) Defendant responds to the complaint (pleadings) Judges call a pretrial conference with both parties Sometimes a suit is dropped, sometimes a settlement decided (money), sometimes the trial continues Most cases are settled before case ever comes to trial

18 Civil Cases Trial Appeal
Plaintiff presents their case, then the defendant Plaintiff muse convince judge and jury that there is enough evidence that the defendant was responsible Decision is made Appeal If losing side is unhappy with decision, they may appeal

19 Criminal Cases Crime is an act that breaks a federal or state criminal law and causes harm Criminal laws are written in a state’s penal code

20 Criminal Case What Happens in a Criminal Case
1. Arrest- police arrest and book suspect Miranda vs. Arizona 2. Preliminary Hearing- suspect appears before a court and bail is set 3. Indictment- Grand Jury hears evidence and formally charges the suspect with the crime 4. Arraignment Defendant pleads not guilty- trial date set Defendant pleads guilty and accepts a plea bargainplead guilty, but to a lesser charge


22 Criminal Case 5. Trial- Prosecution and defense present the cases to jury or judge, and they reach a verdict 6. Verdict and Sentencing Acquittal- Defendant found not guilty and goes free Sentencing- Defendant found guilty and judges sentences defendant Hung Jury- when a jury cannot agree on a verdict and must decide whether to have another trial or dismiss charges If found guilty, defendant will often appeal the verdict

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