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Constitutional Law

applies to that branch of the law dealing with the formation, construction, and interpretation of constitutions

Common Law

law made by the judges in the process of resolving individual cases; also called case law


a system of rules by which disputes are resolved on the grounds of fairness

Due Process

closely related to the principle of equal justice

Adversary System

the courtroom is a kind of arena in which lawyers for the opposing sides try to present their strongest cases

presumed innocent

the government's police power is balanced against the presumption that a person, although accused, if innocent until proven guilty

Civil Law

concerns disputes among two or more individuals or between individuals and the government


a set of voluntary promises, enforceable by the law, between parties who agree to do or not do something


any wrongful act, other than breach of contract, for which the injured party has the right to sue for damages in a civil court


the person who brings charges in a lawsuit


each side is given the opportunity to explain its side of the dispute and must listen ot the other side


written statements to verify or prove statements of fact that have been signed by the witness under oath before a magistrate or notary

Criminal Law

the government charges someone with a crime and is always the prosecution


a minor crime that is usually punished by a fine or jail sentence of less than one year


a major crime such as burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape, fraud, forgery, manslaughter, or murder


formal criminal charge

an information

a sworn statement by the prosecution asserting that there is sufficent evidence to go to trial


a model

plea bargaining

the prosecutor, defense lawyer, and police work out an agreement through which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser crime in return for the government not prosecuting the more serious crime with which the defendant was originally charged

hung jury

if the jury cannot agree on a verdict

lieutenant governor

the presiding officer of the upper house; he or she serves very much like the vice president of the US


a legal procedure through which a person accused of a crime who has fled to another state is, on demand, returned to the state where the crime took place


a prisoner serves the rest of the sentence in the community under the supervision of a officer


a way of dealing with offenders without imprisoning them


a contractual promise on the part of the borrower to repay a certain sum plus interest by a specified date


a formal order given by a higher authority

market value

the amount of money the owner may expect to receive if the property is sold

urban renewal

programs under which cities apply for federal aid to clear alum areas and rebuild


the basic facilities of a city, such as paved streets and sidewalks, water pipes, sewers, bridges, and public buildings


the local governments make large investments in new facilities in an effort to promote economic growth


the phenomenon of new people moving into a neighborhood, forcing out those who live there and changing the area's essential character

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