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Chapter 1

Introduction to Law for Paralegals, Bevans, Second Edition

TermDefinition
Law A rule that must be followed or a sanction will be imposed.
Supreme Court Highest State Court and Federal Court
Trial Court Function Determine the facts of the case and apply the law appropriately to them.
State Court -Facts of Case Specific information or details of the situation in dispute
State Court - Law of Case the statutes and/or case law to be applied to the facts of the case
Petition for certiorari A Petition asking the Supreme Court to hear one's case.
Writ of certiorari An official notice that the Supreme Court will review one's case.
"Granting cert" is discretionary There are not certain criteria to determine whether case will be heard.
Burden of Proof-Civil Case Preponderance of the evidence" or "More likely than not" MO requires 9 of 12 jurors for Ptf to win. Federal requires all 12 jurors for ptf to win.
Burden of Proof - Criminal Case "Beyond a reasonable doubt". MO and Federal require unanimous jury for conviction.
Civil Parties Ptf (indiv, organiz or govt entity who files suit), Def (indiv, organz or govt entity-party whom lawsuit has been fied against) , Ptf's atty (private, hired by ptf) Def's atty (private, hired by def)
Criminal Parties Ptf (the government files suit), Def (accused person of breaking the law), Ptf's atty (Prosecuting atty- State is District Atty and Federal is US Atty), Def's atty (private, hired by def or Public Defender provided by govt)
Civil Case Outcome If ptf wins, def is held "liable", may have to perform certain actions, and/or pay money (either or both may appeal outcome)
Criminal Case Outcome If Ptf wins, Def is found GUILTY and may have to perform certain actions, pay money, and/or be imprisoned. Only Def may appeal outcome. If ptf loses, def is found NOT GUILTY. No appeal allowed for prosecution.
KEY DIFFERENCES IN CIVIL/CRIMINAL LAW PARTIES, BURDEN OF PROOF AND OUTCOMES
Litigation Process of bringing, maintaining and defending a lawsuit. State and Federal cts handle BOTH civil and criminal cases.
Civil Litigation Legal action to resolve disputes between any parties including indivs, organzs and governmental entities
Criminal Litigation Legal action brought by the government against a party accused of violating the law
Stare Decisis "To Stand by the decision" requires adherence to precedent (Promotes uniformity, Efficiency and predictability)
MEDIA for Research Case Reporters, Statutes, Legal Encyclopedias, Treatises, Online Legal Research
ONLINE RESEARCH LEXIS, WESTLAW, FASTCASE, LOISLAW
How to Brief a Case (Summarize) 1) Case name and citation 2) Summary of relevant key facts 3) Issue of the Case 4) Holding 5) Summary of courts reasoning
Reading a Case 1) Style or Caption 2) Attorneys 3) Judge (author) 4) Body of the Case 5) Court's Decision 6) Concurrence or Dissent
Statutes Created by Legislature, usually codified
Case Law Published decisions of courts, may interpret statutes
Administrative Rules and Regulations Agencies promulgate to enforce their areas of responsibility
3 Branches of Government 1) Legislature-Power to Make and Change Laws 2) Judicial - Power to Make Judgments on Law 3) Executive-Power to put laws into action
Jurisdiction The power (authority) of a court to act
Created by: AmyStaten