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The Law.

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Presentation on theme: "The Law."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Law

2 Two Types of Law: Civil Law – disputes among two or more individuals, or between individuals and the government. Criminal Law – causes injury or harm to people, or to a society in general.

3 Types of Civil Law Contracts – written legal agreement between parties who agree to do, or not do something. Expressed Contract – terms are specifically stated by the parties. Implied Contract – terms of the contract can be inferred from the actions of people involved and the circumstances.

4 Types of Civil Law Property law – cases dealing with ownership of property Real property – land & anything attached to or growing on that land Personal property – moveable things like clothes and jewelry. Intangible things like stocks, copyrights, patents Mortgage – loan to pay for a house

5 Types of Civil Law Family Law – cases dealing with relationships between family members Marriage Divorce Child custody

6 Types of Civil Law Torts or Civil Wrongs – lawsuits
Any wrongful act, other than breach of contract, that the injured party has the right to sue for damages in civil court. Punitive damages – money awarded to the injured party as punishment for the person causing the injury.

7 Steps in Civil Cases Parties involved: Plaintiff – person bringing charges in the law suit. Can sue for money Can ask for an injunction – an order than makes the defendant stop a certain action. Defendant – the person being sued.

8 Steps in Civil Cases Hiring a lawyer – most people involved in civil cases will need a lawyer. The lawyer will work for a contingency fee – percentage of the money won. The lawyer may also choose to work for an hourly fee.

9 Steps in Civil Cases Filing the complaint
Complaint – legal document filed with the court that states the charges against the defendant. Summons – official notice of the lawsuit. Includes the date, time & place of the hearing. Defendants lawyer can ask for the case to be dismissed. If the judges refuses the defendant must file an answer to the charges.

10 Steps in Civil Cases Pretrial discovery – both sides prepare for trial. Check facts Interview witnesses Gather evidence Examine records

11 Steps in Civil Cases Resolution without trial – 90% of all cases are settled before trial. Either side can propose a settlement at any time. The court can require the case be settled out of court. Mediation – each side explains its side of the story. An arbitrator (like a judge) will review evidence and decide how to settle the case.

12 Steps in Civil Cases Trial – used only if all other ways of settling the case do not work. May be heard by a judge or a jury – group of 6 to 12 people who hear evidence and issue a verdict – a decision. The plaintiff presents its side first. The defendant presents second. Both side summarize their case, and the judge or jury issues the verdict.

13 Steps in Civil Cases The Award – if the plaintiff wins the court awards damages, injunctive relief, or both. Damages – money awarded to the plaintiff. Injunctive Relief – requires the defendant to stop a certain action. The loser may appeal the case, or refuse to pay. If the defendant refuses, the plaintiff can still collect by taking $ from defendants paycheck, or seizing property from the defendant.

14 Criminal Law The government charges someone with a crime that causes injury or harm to people, or society in general. Most criminal cases are heard at the state level. The Federal Justice System is the system of state & federal courts, judges, lawyers, police, and prisons that are responsible for enforcing criminal law.

15 Types of Crimes Misdemeanor – crimes punishable by a fine, or a jail time of less than 1 year. Vandalism Public intoxication Disorderly conduct DUI Simple Assault Felonies – very serious crimes that are punishable by jail time or more than 1 year, or death. Kidnapping Rape Murder Forgery Fraud

16 Steps in a Criminal Case
Investigation – the police believe a crime has been committed & start to collect evidence. Try to convince a judge to issue a warrant to arrest the suspect. Arrest Warrant – legal document that gives police permission to arrest the suspect. Lists the suspect’s name and the alleged crime.

17 Steps in a Criminal Case
Arrest – the police can arrest someone without a warrant if they catch the person in the process of committing a crime, or if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has broken the law. Person taken to station where charges are recorded, or “booked”. Can be fingerprinted, photographed, put in a lineup, etc. Suspects can refuse to answer questions until their attorney is present.

18 Steps in a Criminal Case
Initial Appearance – the arrested person goes before the judge for the 1st time. Judge explains charges. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the defendant can plead guilty & the judge can decide a penalty. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge sets a date for trial. If the charge is a felony, the defendant is usually not asked to enter a plea. The judge will also decide if the defendant should be held until trial, or released. The person will be held if the judge thinks they will not return for trial. The judge may set bail – an amount of money left with the court until they return for trial. Bail can be denied. 8th Amendment – bail must fit the crime.

19 Steps in a Criminal Case
Each state can choose between two methods for deciding if there is enough evidence for a trial. Grand jury Preliminary Hearing

20 Steps in a Criminal Case
Grand Jury – group of citizens who review the charges to decide if there is enough evidence to issue an indictment Indictment – formal criminal charge Grand jury hearings are held in private. Attorneys can observe, but cannot make statements.

21 Steps in a Criminal Case
Preliminary hearing Prosecution presents the case to a judge. Defendant’s lawyer can present evidence on behalf of the accused. If the judge thinks there is enough evidence the case moves to the next step. Charges are dropped if the judge does not find probable cause.

22 Steps in a Criminal Case
Plea bargaining – the pretrial process where the prosecutor, defense lawyer, and police work out an agreement where the defendant pleads guilty to a less severe crime. 90% of cases end in plea bargaining. Used to decrease the number of cases that go to trial each year.

23 Steps in a Criminal Case
Arraignment or pleas Arraignment – judge reads the charges in an open courtroom. The defendant is represented by an attorney. The judge may question the defendant to see if they understand the charges.

24 Steps in a Criminal Case
Defendant enters 1 of 4 pleas: Not guilty Not guilty by reason of insanity Guilty Nolo Contendere (no contest) – indirectly admits guilt. Does not go on the person’s record as a guilty plea. Judge decides punishment, and the person may begin their sentence immediately.

25 Steps in a Criminal Case
Trial – the process through which a person’s guilt or innocence is established. 6th amendment – guarantees that the trial will start as quickly as possible. In felony trials, the defendant can choose between a jury trial and a bench trial. Bench trial – heard by a judge Prosecution presents case against the defendant. Witnesses can be called and evidence is presented.

26 Steps in a Criminal Case
The defense attorney can cross-examine the prosecution’s witness. Either side can object to statements or actions by the other side. The defense can call witnesses and the prosecuting attorney can cross-examine those witnesses.

27 Steps in a Criminal Case
5th Amendment – defendants do not have to testify against themselves. Refusal to testify does not automatically mean the person is guilty. Attorneys from both sides present closing arguments that summarize the case and respond to the opposition’s case.

28 Steps in a Criminal Case
The Decision Jury members go to the jury room and deliberate – decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Jury deliberations are secret and have no time limit.

29 Steps in a Criminal Case
After deliberation the jury foreperson reads the verdict to the court. Verdict – decision in the case; usually requires that all jury members agree to the decision. Hung jury – a jury that cannot agree on a verdict. The court will usually declare a mistrial in these cases.

30 Steps in a Criminal Case
Sentencing – when punishment is given to the defendant. Not guilty = released immediately Guilty = given a sentence A monetary fine ($$$$) A prison sentence Probation Community Service Death penalty

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