Legal System Of America Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Business - Law Type: Term Paper Paper: #29907275 Related Topics: Judicial Process, Lawyers, Therapeutic Alliance, Once Upon A Time
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Criminal Justice Agency

The American legal system is very systematic and works amazingly well. It's complicated given its intricacy as its framework is argumentative. The Supreme Court sometimes changes the law as it holds that authority. The Supreme Court decides which laws are to be upheld and which are to be altered. Learning the court system can be a tough ask but not an impossible one. In this research paper, the aim is to break down the American law into layman language. It will start from legal system of U.S. And shift to court systems. Then different kinds of courts will be examined whilst examining their separate duties.


The constitution is responsible for the entire American legal system. The American constitution is the ultimate law on American soil. The public is bound by this American constitution as it shapes their actions accordingly. The American public is answerable under the penalty of law and should profess to uphold it. Rule of law is another foundation which means each American citizen must obey the constitution. The constitution can't be altered and changed by common population and those in the upper echelon of government. Aristotle created the rule of law which was taken by United States of America (Cooray, 2010).

The constitution doesn't have the power to force laws and regulation on a nation. Its rather a piece of paper. It is the job of the institutions to do so. The government agencies and law enforcement agencies ensure that constitution is being upheld. Court system is one of them as it describes and interpret laws. Decisions are made by the supreme court on the basis of the constitution (Baum, 2013).

Constitution is just a piece of paper because it's the institution which upholds the American constitution and its bylaws. The court system is included in it. The court system ensures that law is upheld in an honorable manner keeping pubic contentment in view (Baum, 2013).

The constitution and state laws develop these state courts. The Supreme Court is the biggest court in America. Certain states have Court of Appeals. Under these appeal courts are state trial courts. Certain are termed as circuit courts / district courts. The state courts are responsible for taking care of contract cases, contract cases, personal injury cases as well as family law. In case, they are interpreted in conjunction with federal law / American constitution, then Supreme Court deals with them. The Supreme Court has the power to dismiss or hear the case. The federal court is responsible for dealing with laws, constitution law, American treaties, public ministers, American ambassadors and conflicts between two states (Baum, 2013).

Civil law and criminal law differ handled by the courts. The civil law is between two people (Neubauer and Fradella, 2011). In case of criminal law, the repercussions can affect the entire society on the whole (Neubauer and Fradella, 2011).

The government oversees the criminal cases while the civil cases are overseen by private parties. Then there is the difference in sentencing. In case of civil cases, a particular period in jail is given as punishment (Neubauer and Fradella, 2011). The law enforcement agencies are aware of these segments of the courts. So laws translate accordingly under both cases. With the passage of time, the laws of a society governing them alter. Hence, right and wrong alter correspondingly. Hence, the law enforcement agencies need to adjust to change as well (Baum, 2013).

Society creates and disposes its own laws. Once upon a...


These days, it is deemed as a legal act not to be penalized. Hence the laws change accordingly (Reichel, 2008).

Certain states in the U.S. have made same sex marriages legal. This being said, in the state of California, obtaining prescription marijuana is perfectly legal. The federal law doesn't allow it for that matter. The law enforcement agencies have come to terms with it. Now they are prone to adjust to change as it comes with the passage of time (Reichel, 2008).

Certain states allow homosexual marriages. In the state of California, it's certainly legal to take marijuana but in some states, it's illegal. The federal law doesn't allow it. The law enforcement agencies permit it now. The point being that law enforcement agencies deal with changes in the society with the passage of time (Reichel, 2008).

According to the Article III of American constitution, the federal government has a judicial branch. The Supreme Court has been vested with judicial power in United States, not to mention the inferior courts which Congress establish and ordain. It also says that courts have jurisdiction on the common public in their states accordingly. The law dictates the court to provide justice in American land according to the constitution. It fortifies the American court system to uphold the constitution and law in America. According to the law, the trial will be held in that particular state where crime was committed. In any case, otherwise congress will decide (Barak, 2008).

There are many kinds of court. The biggest court is obviously the Supreme Court and after that is the state court. The Supreme Court deals with the crime under the U.S. constitution / federal law. The state courts deal with the cases in which cases violate the U.S. constitution or other laws with in American shores (Barak, 2008).

In a court of law, the prosecutor represents the state's interest where the aim is prove the defendant guilty of the crime and shutdown the case with plausible evidence. The defendant's lawyer on the other hand is disproving all the evidence on the contrary. In the end, the judge decides whether the evidence sinks reasonably well or otherwise skating on thin ice. In case, the defendant is proven guilty, then the second stage involves the sentence which is decided by the judge or the jury (Barak, 2008).

Enter the appellate court where the defendant can file for an appeal and overturn the sentence given to him. The appellate court examines the case on the whole including the proceedings in the trial court. The witnesses aren't allowed in the appellate court. For instance, when a person is found guilty of theft, he is arrested by the policemen. In the state of Virginia, he appears before a magistrate and a bond is set. Afterwards he is sent to a court if law for preliminary hearing. In this court appearance, the judge decides whether he should attain a bond and provide a window of opportunity for the defendant to have his own lawyer. The state appoints a lawyer for those impoverished individuals who can't afford the services of a lawyer (Posner, 2008).

The consequent stage for the person is to talk about his pending case with his lawyer. They contemplate whether to admit guilty or enter plea bargain. The lawyer will examine all the evidence to the contrary and work accordingly. The lawyer will then decide whether it's useful or futile to build a case against his client. In case the defendant decides to have a jury trial, then lawyer, defendant, jury and prosecutor meet in court to select a proper jury. People are taken from the local society and questioned by the lawyers to note their worthiness (Posner, 2008).

Twelve people are selected from this group with six jurors to examine the case. In case, the defendant wants a judge then judge appears instead of the panel of jury (Posner, 2008).

People from selected from the local society. They appear in court on a day-to-day basis while being questioned by the lawyers. In the end, twelve people are selected from the local community. There are six alternate jurors for hearing the case. In case, the defendant doesn't select a jury, then a judge will preside over the trial and decide the result (Posner, 2008).

In a court of law, the legal evidence is shown to the judge by the prosecutor in an attempt to prove his innocence while on the other hand the defendant's lawyer proves otherwise. The judge / jury in the end decide whether to convict him guilty of his crime and sentence him accordingly (Carp, R et al., 2007).

For instance, the defendant is proven guilty of theft and the jury decides five years in jail. He is escorted to jail where he will carry out his sentence. His lawyer will file for an appeal to change the decision. The court can change the decision when the court under it made an error in judgment. In state of Virginia, the petition is given to courts for appeals. The petition demands for the courts to take action. Apart from that, an appeal is given in the absence of an argument. The parties can discuss the error made by the court. If the request for an appeal is denied then the lawyer needs to visit in person and demand an appeal and inquire reasons for not obtaining an appeal. The public is upset with…

Sources Used in Documents:


Barak, A. (2008). The Judge in Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Baum, L. (2013). American Courts: Process and Policy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2013.

Bonfield, L. (2006). American law and the American Legal System in a Nutshell. Publisher St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West.

Carp, R et al. (2007). Judicial Process in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Cooray, M. (2010) The Rule Of Law. [Electronic] Retrieved on April 10, 2012 from

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