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Introduction to Laws & Law Making


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Agencies
An Administrative group of a government set up to carry out certain laws. Example OSHA
Adversarial System
Is the trail system in the U. S which allows opposing sides to present their legal conflicts before a judge or jury.
Appeals Court
A court that hears appeals from a lower court
Jurisprudence
the study of law and legal philosophy.
Felony
A serious criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.
Civil Action
A noncriminal lawsuit, brought to enforce a right or redress a wrong.
Civil Law
Law dealing with rights & duties of individuals among themselves
Criminal Law
Offenses against the entire community
Prosecutor
The government`s attorney in a criminal case.
Preponderance of the evidence
Usually the standard of proof used in a civil suit; the level of evidence a party must provide in order to win the case.
Petition for Certiorari
A formal application by a party to have a lower court decision reviewed by the U.S supreme court.
Plaintiff
person who initiates a civil suit
Precedent
Court decisions on legal questions that guide future cases with similar questions.
Peremptory Challenge
Part of the pretrial jury selection. This allows each side to dismiss possible jurors without giving a reason.
Limited Government
A national Government with the authority to pass laws only in the areas specifically listed in Article I of the constitution.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Misemeanors
A criminal offense, less serious than a felony, punishable by prison sentence less than one year.
Statutes
(Statutory law) Laws passed by legislative bodies (e.g., federal Congress and state legislatures).
Separation of Powers
Constitutional authority is shared by three different branches of government
Trail Courts
Courts that listen to testimony, consider evidence, and decide the facts in a disputed situation.
Voir Dire
A process by which the judge and the lawyers in a case select jurors for the trial
Removal for cause
The opposing attorney may request the removal of any juror who appears incapable of making a fair verdict.
Error of Law
Occurs when the judge makes a mistake as to the law applicable in the case.
Concurring Opinion
Judges who agree with the majority opinion but for reasons different from those who support the majority opinion.
Brief
A legal document that emphasizes why the case should be heard.
Inquisitional System
A judge is active in questioning witnesses and controlling the court process, including the gathering and presenting of evidence.
Defendant
the person against whom a legal action is brought
Veto
The Power given to the president to refuse or to approve laws passed by Congress.
Checks And Balance
Designed to prevent one of the branches becoming too powerful and abusing its power.
Judicial Review
Enables a court to cancel any laws passed by Congress or State legislature that conflicts with the constitution.
Federalism
A form of government in which powers not given to federal gov't are reserved for the states.
Dissenting Opinion
In a trail or appeal, the written opinion of a minority of judges who disagree with the majority.
Beyond a reasonable doubt
The standard of proof in a criminal case . If the judge or jury has any doubts about the defendant`s guilt then it must vote not to convict.
Radical Individualism
The individual is superior to the community
Congress
Has the power to pass laws that are binding on the people in every state.
Constitutionality
Whether the law or act is within the guidelines of the United States constitution
Supreme Court
Has the right to interpret the meaning of the constitution and federal laws. All lower courts must follow these interpretations.
Supreme Court justices
There are nine court justices and are nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate.
The Judiciary
The system of law courts that administer justice and constitute the judicial branch of government.
Majority Opinion
A court opinion reflecting the views of the majority of the judges
Jurors
Members of a trial jury who judge evidence and determine the verdict in a court case
State legislature
Law making bodies.
Moral Values of American Law
Moral values connect to the basic question of right and wrong. For example laws against murder.
Economic Values
Economic values connect with how American wealth is best protected, divided, used. For example laws that force people to pay taxes.
Social Values
Social Values connect with issues that are important to society . For example laws that force children to go to school.
What do criminal Laws regulate?
It regulate public conduct and sets out duties owed to society.
What do Civil Laws Regulate?
It regulates relations between individuals or groups of individuals. For example Marriage, divorce, contracts, and real estate.
What are some penalties for a criminal Crime?
Imprisonment, fined, placed under supervision, or punished in another way, e.g the death penalty.
What is the usual punishment for a civil crime?
A prison sentence up to one year and the guilty usually has to pay some sort of compensation to the injured or damaged property.
How may an action be a violation of both civil and criminal law?
The O.J Simpson trail the judge did not convict O.J in the criminal trail but was later convicted in a civil case.
What is the principle of Limited Government and its connection to federalism?
Just like the division of power between the three branches, federalism is the division of power between federal and state government.
How does the principle of limited government appear in the Bill of Rights?
Courts have decided that the Bill of Rights limits the power of state and local government as well as the federal government.
How is law created by Legislature, Both federal and state?
Congress passes laws called federal statues. when congress passes a federal statues it affects people in every state. Federal Statues deal with environmental qualities, work relations, and national defense. The state passes laws called s…
How is Law created by agencies, like OSHA or FEMA?
Congress delegates the lawmaking power to agencies to develop and spend time on making specific laws on specific topics. For example Work place safety regulations.
How are Justices selected for the job?
They are recommended by the President and confirmed by the senate. They decided upon many of society`s controversial issues, like the death penalty, abortion, and cvil rights.
What is the role of the Supreme Court in American Law?
They have the authority to interpret the meaning of the constitution and federal laws. They can also cancel any law passed by congress that is unconstitutional.
What is the difference between Trail courts and appeals courts?
Trail courts listen to testimony, consider evidence, and decided the facts in a disputed situation, whereas an appeals court hears appeals from a lower court.