The U.S. Legal System


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The U.S. Legal System

  1. 1. 10/20/10<br />THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM<br />Miriam A. Smith<br />Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department<br />San Francisco State University<br />
  2. 2. 10/20/10<br />WHAT IS THE LAW?<br />A set of rules, promulgated by government agencies with authority to do so, that attempt to guide conduct, and subsequently provide sanctions when the rules are violated.<br />
  3. 3. 10/20/10<br />LAW<br />The discipline and profession concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community. <br />Enforcement of the body of rules is through a controlling authority. <br />
  4. 4. 10/20/10<br />Where does U.S. law come from?<br />Medieval England<br />U.S. Constitution -- constitutional law<br />Congress -- statutory law<br />Government Agencies -- administrative law<br />Courts -- modern case law<br />
  5. 5. 10/20/10<br />Medieval England<br />
  6. 6. 10/20/10<br />COMMON LAW<br />The body of customary law, based upon judicial decisions and embodied in reports of decided cases<br />Encyclopedia Britannica Online<br />
  7. 7. 10/20/10<br />equity law<br />remedy at law was insufficient<br />(damages or return property)<br />
  8. 8. 10/20/10<br />U.S. Constitution<br />
  9. 9. 10/20/10<br />U.S. Constitution<br />supreme law of the land<br />standard by which all actions of government are measured<br />Constitution -- 1787<br />Bill of Rights -- 1791<br />
  10. 10. 10/20/10<br />Bill of Rights<br />
  11. 11. 10/20/10<br />Bill of Rights = First 10 Amendments<br />First Amendment -- freedom of expression<br />Sixth Amendment -- speedy and fair trial<br />Fourteenth Amendment -- equal rights<br />
  12. 12. 10/20/10<br />Congress<br />
  13. 13. 10/20/10<br />Inside Congress<br />
  14. 14. 10/20/10<br />To become a statute . . .<br />bill introduced in House<br />if passed, transmitted to Senate<br />Senate may pass, reject or amend<br />Senate amendments considered by House<br />if passed by House and Senate -- must be approved by President<br />if President vetoes, need 2/3rds vote to override veto<br />I'm Just a Bill<br />
  15. 15. 10/20/10<br />Statutes . . .<br />Are implemented through rule making of relevant government agency<br />May be challenged in court -- on grounds do not meet requirements of constitution<br />vague<br />overbroad<br />U.S. Code<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. 10/20/10<br />Administrative Law<br />regulations<br />established by independent regulatory agencies<br />Federal Communications Commission (FCC)<br />Federal Trade Commission (FTC)<br />implement legislation (Acts of Congress)<br />
  18. 18. 10/20/10<br />The Federal Trade Commission<br />
  19. 19. 10/20/10<br />U.S. Case Law<br />
  20. 20.
  21. 21. 10/20/10<br />U.S. Supreme Court<br />original jurisdiction<br />Ambassadors, state is a party<br />appellate jurisdiction<br />direct appeal -- ruled federal law unconstitutional<br />writ of certiorari -- important legal question<br />certification -- lower courts ask questions, very rare<br />
  22. 22. 10/20/10<br />Legal Distinctions<br />Civil and Criminal<br />Federal and State<br />
  23. 23. 10/20/10<br />Civil and Criminal Law<br />Why was O.J. acquitted in one court and found “guilty” in another?<br />
  24. 24. 10/20/10<br />Criminal Law<br />government prosecutes accused individuals on behalf of the people<br />purpose is to impose punishment<br />punishment includes fines or imprisonment<br />highest standard of proof (burden of proof)<br />beyond a reasonable doubt<br />
  25. 25. 10/20/10<br />Civil Law<br />essentially private law<br />harmed individuals or entities (companies, government) can sue those who do harm<br />seek redress of wrongs<br />burden of proof<br />clear and convincing<br />preponderance of the evidence<br />
  26. 26. 10/20/10<br />Types of Civil Law<br />Contract Law<br />Tort Law<br />Copyright Law<br />Intellectual Property Law<br />
  27. 27. 10/20/10<br />Contract<br />legally binding mutual promises to perform in a certain way under certain circumstances<br />
  28. 28. 10/20/10<br />Contract Law<br />way of enforcing promises<br />agreements to broadcast ad<br />production agreements<br />offer, acceptance, consideration<br />breach of contract<br />
  29. 29. 10/20/10<br />Tort Law<br />injury to person, thing or relationship<br />
  30. 30. 10/20/10<br />Tort Law<br />libel and slander<br />invasion of privacy<br />infliction of emotional distress<br />must prove negligence, gross negligence, malice, or strict liability<br />
  31. 31. 10/20/10<br />Copyright Law<br />rights created by Copyright Act<br />
  32. 32. 10/20/10<br />Copyright Act<br />five exclusive rights<br />can act against anyone who violates any of the five exclusive rights<br />exception for “fair use”<br />
  33. 33. 10/20/10<br />Copyright Act<br />
  34. 34. 10/20/10<br />Remedies<br />What do you want done?<br />
  35. 35. 10/20/10<br />Remedies<br />Damages<br />Equitable remedies<br />restitution<br />injunction<br />
  36. 36. 10/20/10<br />Federal and State<br />The Judicial System<br />
  37. 37. 10/20/10<br />Federal Courts<br />U.S. District Court -- trial courts<br />U.S. Circuit Courts -- appellate courts<br />U.S. Supreme Court -- the court of last resort<br />
  38. 38. 10/20/10<br />Federal Court Jurisdiction<br />Broadcast regulations<br />Cable regulations<br />Copyright<br />Patents<br />Diversity<br />
  39. 39. 10/20/10<br />State Courts<br />Superior Court<br />California Court of Appeal<br />California Supreme Court<br />
  40. 40. 10/20/10<br />State Court Jurisdiction<br />Contract<br />Torts<br />privacy<br />libel<br />Unfair competition<br />
  41. 41. 10/20/10<br />Concurrent (shared) Jurisdiction<br />trademarks<br />advertising<br />antitrust<br />obscenity<br />
  42. 42. 10/20/10<br />Legal Procedure<br />
  43. 43. 10/20/10<br />Legal Procedure -- Civil<br />Complaint<br />Answer<br />Discovery<br />Pretrial Motions and Hearings<br />Settlement Conference<br />Trial<br />Appeal<br />
  44. 44. 10/20/10<br />
  45. 45. 10/20/10<br />Legal Procedure -- Criminal<br />Investigation<br />Arrest<br />Criminal complaint filed<br />Arraignment<br />Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Indictment<br />Pretrial motions and hearings<br />Trial<br />Sentencing<br />Appeal<br />
  46. 46. 10/20/10<br />Injunctions<br />Inadequate remedy exists at law<br />Irreparable harm<br />
  47. 47. 10/20/10<br />Summary Judgment<br />material facts are not controverted<br />entitled to prevail as a matter of law<br />
  48. 48. 10/20/10<br />In a jury trial . . . <br />Jury -- determines questions of fact<br />Judge -- determines questions of law<br />
  49. 49. 10/20/10<br />Legal Citation<br />last names of parties<br />Kramer v. Kramer<br />name of case is underlined or italicized<br />volume reporter page (year court)<br />283 U.S. 697 (1931)<br />Near v. Minnesota<br />