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82 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Functions of a Constitution
1. Set up the structure of govt. for the political unit they control
(Create branches of govt., state powers given/denied to each branch)
2. Prevent other units of govt. from taking certain actions/passing certain laws
US Constitution
1. Separation of powers
Legislature: Makes laws
Chief Executive: Enfoces laws
Federal Judiciary: Interprets laws
Laws created by Congress/state legislature
Uniform Acts
Model statutes drafted by private bodies of lawyers/scholars
Don't become law until enacted by a legislature
Aim to produce state-by-state uniformity on subjects they address
(Uniform Commercial Code, Revised Uniform Partnership Act, Revised Model Business Corporation Act)
Common Law
Law made and applied by judges as they decide cases not governed by statutes/other types of law
Similar cases in which judges began to follow each other’s decisions
Stare decisis (let the decision stand (requires adherence to precedent))
Collections of common law
Aren’t law and don’t bind courts
Common Law Reasoning
When courts make/apply common law rules
Historically concerned with accomplishing “rough justice” when common law rules produced unfair results
Equitable Remedies
Remedies not available in the common law courts
Equitable Remedy
Court order forbidding party to do an act/commanding him to perform an act
Equitable Remedy
Specific Performance
Party ordered to conform according to terms of his contract
Equitable Remedy
Court rewrites contracts’ terms to reflect party’s real intentions
Equitable Remedy
A cancellation of a contract in which parties are returned to their precontractual
Grant of power to administrative agencies from the legislature
Administrative agency makes 2 types of law:
1. Administrative regulations
Appear in a precise form in one authoritative source (like statutes)
Body enacting regulations isn’t elected body (unlike statutes)
2. Agency decisions
Legally binding
The “supreme law of the land”
Invalidate inconsistent state/federal laws
Enactment of counties and municipalities
Subordinate units that exercise certain functions
Executive Orders
Laws made by Chief Executive
Priority Rules
Federal law vs. State law
Federal law defeats conflicting state law
Priority Rules
Constitutions vs. Other types of law within their domain
Constitutions defeat other types of law within their domain
(State constitution defeats all laws inconsistent with it)
(U.S. Constitution defeats inconsistent laws of whatever type)
Priority Rules
Treaty vs. Federal Statute
Whichever one is later in time usually wins
Priority Rules
Statutes vs. Conflicting laws
Statutes defeat conflicting laws that depend on legislative delegation for validity
Priority Rules
Statute vs. Common law rules
Statutes and laws derived from them defeat inconsistent common law rules
3 Common Classifications of Law:
1. Criminal law and civil law
2. Substantive law and procedural law
3. Public law and private law
Criminal Law
Law under which the govt. prosecutes someone for committing a crime
Mainly concerns obligations that private parties owe to each other
Law applied when 1 private party sues another
Sets the rights and duties of people as they act in society
Controls the behavior of govt. bodies (mainly courts) as they establish and enforce rules of substantive law
Concerns the power of govt. and the relations between govt. and private parties
(Constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law)
Establishes a framework of legal rules that enables parties to set the rights and duties they owe each other
(Rules of contract, property, and agency)
Attempts to describe the law
Positive Law
Various types of law
Comprises the rules that have been laid down by a recognized political authority
Legal Positivism
Defines law as the command of a recognized political authority
See legal validity and moral validity as entirely different questions
Try to enforce the law as written, excluding their own moral views in the proces
Natural Law
Rejects the positivist separation of law and morality
American Legal Realism
Law in books is irrelevant
Law is what's in action
Need to know what govt. officers do when carrying out the law (what usually happens in cases like this)
Sociological Jurisprudence
Look at law as a set of rules (social context important)
Laws differ according to society
Laws should change as society's views change
Legal Reasoning
1. Major premise
2. Facts
3. Decision
What facts are legally important?
Governed by doctrine of stare decisis (precedent usually followed but not mandantory)
Precedent can be "distinguished"
Point out important difference between this case and precedent
Don't want to follow precedent b/c rule doesn't fit this case
Precedent can be "overruled"
Court throws out precedent b/c this rule of law is bad and won't be used again to decide cases
Usually not sudden
Any judge can overrule a precedent but should expect an appeal if not in the Supreme Court
"Exceptions" to precedent can be created
Court isn't ready to overrule precedent but want to make a small change to it
(Ex: "Impact Rule"...judges made a change to this rule)
Power to hear a case and issue a cedision that is binding to the parties of that case
State Courts
Courts of limited jurisdiction
(Small Claims/Municipal/Township Courts)
States encouraging more cases to be tried here
Informal, but judge uses actual law
Exercise trial court functions
Simple, cheap, fast
No record of proceedings
Loser can't appeal
Trial Courts
Need a lawyer
Exercise trial court functions
Hear evidence, decide the facts, choose applicable law, apply law to facts to render a decision
Keep record of proceedings
Loser can appeal
Appellate Courts
Always have more than 1 judge
Hear appeals to correct harmful errors of law only
*Must be a legal basis for the appeal
Highest Appellate Courts
Very limited amount of cases
(They don't have to hear your case)
In Personam Jurisdiction
Based on defendant's citizenship/residence/location/conducts activities in state
*Only need to meet 1 of these criteria
Minimum contacts activities
In Rem Jurisdiction
Power over property
When you're suing and the property is subject of dispute
State where property is physically located has right to decide
(You go where property is located...only 1 physical location)
State Trial Courts must have both
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
(Power to decide this kind of dispute)
Territorial Jurisdiction
(Power over the person you are suing)
(In Rem or In Personam)
Venue Must be Proper
Place in which case is heard
Requirement on top of jurisdiction
Law requires it to be a fair and convenient location for case to be heard
Federal Trial Courts
Called U.S. District Courts
Their civil subject matter jurisdiction is either: Diversity Jurisdiction or Federal Question Jurisdiction
Also have criminal subject matter jurisdiction over violations of federal criminal statutes
Diversity Jurisdiction
Diversity of citizenship plus more than $75,000 at stake
*Must have both
Federal Question Jurisdiction
Question arising under Constitution, laws, or treaties of the US is a basic part of the plaintiff's case
*No jurisdictional amount required
Original Jurisdiction
Has power to act as trial court
Exclusive Jurisdiction
Only court w/ power to decide this kind of case
Concurrent Jurisdiction
Both state and federal court have power to try case
Must choose between state and federal courts
Removal Jurisdiction
Plaintiff has concurrent jurisdiction case
Plaintiff picks state
Defendant doesn't agree w/ choice
Federal court takes over
*Federal court must have jurisdiction in 1st place
There are 2 types of Federal Appellate/Appeals Courts:
1. U.S. Court of Appeals
Organized geographically
Don't get to pick which appeals court you go to
2. U.S. Supreme Court
Highest federal appellate court
Makes final decision
Special U.S. Supreme Court Rules
1. Certiorari jurisdiction
2. Original jurisdiction
Certiorari Jurisdiction
Particular procedure to get case heard by Supreme Court
File petition for Writ of Certiorari
If granted...appeal goes forward
If denied...appeal doesn't go through
Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction
1. Controversies between 2 or more states (required to go to Supreme Ct)
2. Controversies between the US and a state
3. Cases involving foreign diplomats
4. Controversies between a state and citizens of another state or aliens
3 Types of Legal Incapacity
1. Intoxication
2. Infancy: Juvenile Incapacity
3. Insanity (rarely raised/successful)
M'Naghten Rule
Now defendant has to be the one to show that they're legally insane
*Federal govt. uses this rule
Irresistible Impulse Rule
Defendant couldn't control the impulse to commit the crime
ALI Rule
This organization studies legal matters and comes up w/ rules
Defendant didn't know what he was doing was wrong/couldn't control his behavior in order to conform w/ the law
Possible Verdicts
Guilty but mentally ill
Not guilty by reason of insanity
Not guilty
Most cases don't think mental case excuses defendant from crime
Guilty but mentally ill
Defendant will be locked up at least as long as if they were found guilty
Way to get guilty verdict
Doesn't receive treatment
Not guilty by reason of insanity
Person is still kept in govt's custody
Not released immediately
May think they committed the act, but don't want to hold them criminally liable
Not guilty
Govt. didn't prove all elements beyond reasonable doubt
Defendant is free to go
Ex Post Facto Law
After the fact
Behavior must be defined as a crime in a statute before it was committed
Also extends to punishment (can't inflict punishment that existed at time crime was committed)
Expressive Conduct
Actions that are the equivalent of speech can't be criminalized
Mens Rea
Criminal Intent
Defendant acted knowingly/intentionally
Actus Reus
Bad act
Murdered someone
4th Amendment
Not protected by this everywhere
Only items w/ reasonable expectations of privacy are protected
Exclusionary Rule
Illegally seized evidence can't be used in court against person whose privacy was violated
Exception to Exclusionary Rule
U.S. v. Leon
Good-faith reliance on search warrant
Exception to Exclusionary Rule
Illinois v. Krull
Good-faith reliance on statute
Exception to Exclusionary Rule
Nix v. Williams
The inevitable discovery rule
Need to have evidence to support that it would ahve been found legally soon after it was actually found
Exception to Exclusionary Rule
Arizona v. Evans
Good-faith reliance on clerical error of court employee
5th Amendment
Must tell someone their Miranda rights before you question them
Only protects testimonial evidence (words)
5th Amendment
No 5th Amendement privilege against self-incrimination
Incriminating records can be demanded by the govt. (Don't have privilege)