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unit 1

purposes of law

1. protect human rights
2. help resolve conflicts
3. Promote order and stability
4. Promote desirable economic and social behavior
5. represent will of majority
6. protect rights of minorities

Rationales of law

1. morals
2. Economic
3. Social
4. Poltical


theory and philosophy of law

Inquisitioral Legal system

European method for handling disputes in which the Judge plays an active role in gathering and presenting evidence and questioning witnesses

Adversarial Legal system

judicial system used in the U.S. It allows opposing parties to present their legal conflicts before an impartial judge and jury.

Trial Court

courts that listen to testimony, consider evidence, and decide the facts in a disputed situation

Appellate Court(including supreme court)

a court in which appeals from trial-court decisions are heard

Court systems

1. Federal
2. State


the division of powers between the states and the federal government

Delegated powers

powers specifically granted to congress, they include: the power to tax, regulate commerce, and declare war.

Civil Court burden of proof

Proponderance of the evidence

Criminal Cour burden of proof

beyond a reasonable doubt

people in civil court

• Plaintiff
• Defendant
• Judge
• Jury

people in criminal court

• Prosecutor
• Defense attorney
• Defendant
• Judge
• Jury

members of supreme court

• Petitioner
• Respondent
• Justices
• Supreme Court Justice
• Chief Justice: head of U.S federal system; John G. Roberts

Legal Brief

written document used to submit an argument of the court

Amicus Brief

document filled in court by someone who is not directly related to the case

Writ of Certiorari

order, sent from a higher court to a lower one which orders the lower court to turn over transcripts and documents related to a specific case for review.

Rule of 4

if 4 justices decide a case is worthy to be heard, the court will agree to hear it

oral argument

30 minute oral argument by attorney to justices

Majority opinion

majority of justices agree

Concurring opinion

agree with majority, but for other reason

dissenting opinion

not agreeing with majority ruling


court decision on a legal question that guides future cases with similar questions

Judicial Reveiw

the process by which courts decide whether the laws passed by congress or state legislatures are constitutional

First amendment

freedom of speech, religion, press and assembly

Second amendment

bearing arms

Fourth amendment

search and seizures

sixth amendment

right to speedy, fair trial

eigth amendment

bail and punishment

first amendment rights provided

• Establishment of religion
• Free exercise of religion
• Freedom of speech
• Freedom of the press
• The right to peaceable assembly
• Petition the government for a redress of grievances

symbolic speech

conduct that expresses an idea(e.g wearing armband protesting war)


indefiniteness, uncertainty, imprecision; not clear or specific.


(exception to first amendment) a general term applying to anything that is immoral, indecent or lewd.


(exception to first amendment) (type of defamation) : written expression about a person that is false and damages their rep.


(exception to first amendment) (type of defamation) poken expression about a person that is false and damages that person's rep.

Commercial Speech

exception to first amendment)speec that is directed at buying/selling of goods and services.

Clear and present danger test

(exception to first amendment) (fighting words) test formally used by courts to restrict speech when the government thought the speech would create immediate danger/harm

incitement test

(exception to first amendment) (fighting words) method used by courts to determine whether to restrict/punish expressions based on its potential to cause immediate unlawful behavior.

balancing test

(exception to first amendment) (fighting words) : used by judges to resolve legal issues by balancing the interests in conflict and deciding which is of higher importance

People are secure(against unreasonable search and seizures) in their

• House
• Persons
• Papers
• Effects

Warrant must...

• Be supported by oath or affirmation
• Specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized
--> Warrants are only on probable cause

exclusionary rule

legal rule that generally prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence against defense trial.

Stop and Frisk

(exceptions to 4th amendment) to "pat down" or search outer clothing of someone whom the police believe is acting suspiciously


(exception to 4th amendment) in emergency situation


(ecxeption to 4th amendment) when under arrest

Right in plain veiw

(exception to 4th amendment) when illegal action is right in plain veiw


(exception to 4th amendment) permission to search

Hot persuit

(exception to 4th amendment) police in hot pursuit are not required to get a search warrant

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