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UA CJ 250 - Chapter 1: Legal Foundations

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January 15, 2019Chapter 1: Legal FoundationsCourts serve as an agency of social control -what is fair?-what is just?-Who should be punished, for how long, for what?Courts and their importanceA court must have three distinct elements:-it must have proper legal authority as spelled out in constitutions or statues ‘courts are generally found in the judicial as opposed to legislative and executive branches of government -courts are empowered to make decisions that are binding.Courts in America government -civil courts resolve disputes between private parties-Criminal courts try to suspend offenderso Serve as a mechanism by which society expresses its established social norms Why government courts-tribal civilization resolved disputes informally and privately-Greek city-states and Roman Empire made law enforcement and public affair-lead to creation of formalized courts and other criminal justice institutions Dual court system-separates federal and state courts-Federalism: power is constitutionally divided between a central governing body and various constituent units o In the U.S. federalism gives the state’s power to make their own lawso Cooperative federalism- lines between federal and state power are blurred-Dual court systems can promote complication Each level of courts has a distinct court hierarchy-states have limited jurisdictions courts, trial co9urts, appellate courts, and supreme courts-Federal level has trail courts, appellate courts, andthe US supreme court-Higher-level court can control the actions and decisions of lower courts but not the other way aroundMain functions of the court system-upholding the lawo Police arrest people for violating criminal codeso Prosecutors decide which arrestees to chargeo And the court determines if arrestees should answer for their actions o Protecting individuals -presumptions exist to ensure protection for everyone who comes before the courtso Resolving disputes-courts are agencies of dispute resolution-Most fall into either civil or criminal categories o Reinforcing social norms-informal and often unspoken rules concerning standards of behavior-the court’s role in deciding whether someone is punished highlights its role in reinforcing social norms Legal basis for the courtso Early legal codeso Code of hammaurabi 1754 B.Co “eye for an eye” philosophyo Roman law and the twelve tables 450 B.Co First secular written legal codeo Strong element of retributive justiceThese early legal codes The common law and precedent o precedent is a prior action that guides current action-judges decisions were guided by earlier decisions-Ensured continuity and predictabilityo stare decisis “to stand by things decided”-Formal practice of adhering to precedent Why common lawo emerged when legal codes were in their infancy judges issued decisions without formal statutes to criminalize certain forms of conducto constitutions -perhaps the most significant source of law -Generally do not prohibi8t actions of private citizens-Can place limits on government authority-define government structure and organizations-Determine how government officials will be selected ‘determine the role of the various government branches and how they influence the courts o the roles of the courts in criminal justice today adjudication determines who is and is not guiltyo ensure lower courts applied thelaw correctlyo oversight. Overseas operations of criminal justice officials (e.g. police officers) o Presumptions (innocence)o A presumption is a fact assumed to be trueunder lawo Conclusive presumptions- require all parties agree with something assumed to be trueo Rebuttable presumptions- one that could reasonably be disagreed with o Every person charged with a crime isassumed in advance to be innocento both a presumption of law and rebuttablepresumption Protection of individualso constitutional rightso help ensure that people accused of criminalactivity are not rushed to judgement andtreated unfairlyo constitutional rights protect everyone inthis country- even non-citizens enjoy thesame protection as US citizensJanuary 15, 2019Chapter 2: who controls the


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