What is Law? Chapter 1 Street Law Text pp.4-18 Law • The rules and regulations made and enforced by government that regulate the conduct of people within a society Jurisprudence • The study of Law and/or Legal Philosophy What is Law • Laws are basically rules. You have had rules all your life from home to school. • Rules made and enforced by the government are called laws. • Laws affect almost every aspect of daily life. • All societies have had laws and understood the importance of them. • Not all laws are fair or good but the goal is order and the protection of all citizens. • A democracy must be based on the “Rule of Law”. Basically all citizens are required to obey laws Problem 1.1 • List 10 of your daily activities. Next to each item, list any laws that affect that activity. What is the purpose of each law, would you change any of the laws, why or why not, and finally identify the laws as Federal, State, or Local. Law and Values • Laws usually reflect societies values and are based on common law. • Not everything that is immoral is illegal… laws can not regulate everything nor can they be held to a certain religions beliefs [separation of church and state] • Our legal system’s goals: • • • • • Protect basic human rights Promote fairness Help resolve conflict Promote order and stability Promote desirable social and economic behavior • Represent the will of the majority • Protect the rights of the minority Law and Values cont. • Laws must balance Rights with Responsibilities – The will of the majority with the rights of the minority – the goal is to protect people and resolve conflicts – This does not mean everything, or life, is fair only the attempt to be equitable • Laws are based on: • • • • Moral Values Economic Values Political Values Social Values • Some values may interfere with other values [laws] • Some believe we have to sacrifice some liberty for security • People disagree on what role the law can play in solving all problems [example of drugs] Experience shows there is a limit to what laws can reasonably be expected to do Problem 1.2 The Shipwrecked Sailors Problem 1.2 “The Shipwrecked Sailors” a. Should Dudley and Stephens be tried for murder? Explain. b. As an attorney for Dudley and Stephens, what arguments would you make on their behalf? As an attorney for the government, what arguments would you make on the government’s behalf? c. If Dudley and Stephens are convicted, what should their punishment be? d. What purpose would be served by convicting Dudley and Stephens? e. What is the relationship between law and morality in this case? Was it morally wrong for Dudley and Stephens to kill Brooks? Explain. f. Can an act be legal but immoral? Can an act be morally right but unlawful? Explain Problem 1.3 a. Identify a problem for which we need a law. Explain b. Identify an existing law that is not necessary. Explain Human Rights • Rights all people have simply because they are human beings “Reservations” • The legal way of making provisions passed by the United Nations, Treaties, or International Law less enforceable than it might other wise be. Balancing Rights with Responsibilities • Too concerned with rights while neglecting responsibilities • You must be willing to participate in government as well as receiving benefits • Act responsibly…. Parents, drivers, taxes • Just because you have a right doesn’t mean you should act immorally • The correct balance between rights and responsibilities is a difficult journey Problem 1.6 The Apathetic Bystanders a. Why do you think the bystanders took no action to help Kitty? b. Did the bystanders commit a crime by not acting? Give your reasons. c. Did the bystanders do the “right” thing? d. Should the law hold citizens responsible for not helping out in cases such as this one? Criminal Laws • Regulate public conduct and set out duties owed to society. Felonies • More serious crime… with a possible penalty of more than one year in jail Misdemeanors • Less severe crime…. with a possible penalty of up to a year in jail. Civil Laws • Regulate relations between individuals or groups of individuals Civil Action • A lawsuit brought by one person who feels wronged or injured by another person Defendant • The person accused of a crime in a criminal case, or the person being sued in a civil case. Plaintiff • The person harmed that files a lawsuit. The person that sues. Prosecutor • The person that represents the “state” in a criminal trial that tries to prove the guilt of a person. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt • Standard of proof in a Criminal trial. It means the if the jury has any reasonable doubts about the defendants guilt they must vote to acquit. Preponderance of the Evidence • Standard of proof in a Civil trial. It means that all the judge or jury has to do is decide if it is more likely than not that the defendant wronged the plaintiff. Criminal v. Civil Law Event Criminal Law Civil Law What is the purpose of the case Punish the perpetrator Benefit the victim Who is the plaintiff/prosecutor The State The Victim Who is the defendant The perpetrator [person who committed the crime] The perpetrator [person who committed the wrong] What is the victim’s role in the case Possibly a witness A party and a witness Who decides to bring a case The district attorney or prosecutor The victim [the person wronged] What standard is required to prevail Beyond a reasonable doubt Preponderance of the evidence What is the punishment if the defendant loses Any of following: jail time, probation, community service, fines, sex offender list, etc. Judgment or settlement requiring Defendant to pay the victim. What rights does the perpetrator-defendant have? Right to state-paid defense attorney; Right to remain silent; Right to not testify None of these. Problem 1.7 a. List all the things you think Matt and Kenji did wrong. b. What laws are involved in this story? c. Which of these are criminal laws? Which are civil laws? Limited Government • Government is limited by the people or a document. Our constitution is an example. Separation of Powers • The division of power between our three branches of government. Make Laws/ Enforce Laws/ Interpret Laws Statutes • Laws passed by the government. The legal term for a laws by the Federal or State governments. Local laws are called ordinances. Checks and Balances • Oversight of each branch over the other two branches. Veto • Check from the President on Congress… stops a law and sends it back to Congress Judicial Review • Supreme Court check on Congress… makes a law Unconstitutional Unconstitutional • A law that is in violation of the constitution Federalism • Division of power between a Central government and Local governments Problem 1.8 a. A state law requires that a prayer be said each day in public schools. The courts rule that the law violates a First Amendment clause that prohibits the government from establishing a religion. b. The U.S. Congress passes a law requiring that Supreme Court sessions be televised. c. Because a prison is very old and overcrowded, a state court orders the state legislature to spend $100 million on a new prison.