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Chapter 4 Vocabulary


Criminal Law One of two general types of law practiced in the United States (the other is civil law); "a formal means of social control [that uses] rules...interpreted [and enforced] by the courts...to set limits to the conduct of the citizens, to guide the officials.
Penal Code The criminal law of political jurisdiction.
Tort A violation of the civil law.
Civil Law One of two general types of law practiced in the United States (the other is criminal law); a means of resolving conflicts between individuals. It includes torts, the law of contracts and property, and subjects such as admin law and regulation pu.
Substantive Law The body of law that defines criminal offenses and their penalties.
Procedural Law The body of law that governs the ways substantive laws are administered; sometimes called adjective or remedial law.
Due Process of Law The rights of people suspected of or charged with crimes.
Politicality An ideal characteristic of criminal law, referring to its legitimate source. Only violations of rules made by the state, the political jurisdiction that enacted the laws, are crimes.
Specificity An ideal characteristic of criminal law, referring to its scope. Although civil law may be general in scope, criminal law should provide strict definitions of specific acts.
Regularity An ideal characteristic of criminal law: the applicability of the law to all persons, regardless of social status.
Uniformity An ideal characteristic of criminal law: the enforcement of the laws against anyone who violates them, regardless of social status.
Penal Sanction An ideal characteristic of criminal law: the principle that violators will be punished or at least threatened with punishment by the state.
Precedent A decision that forms a potential basis for deciding the outcomes of similar cases in the future; a by-product of decisions made by trial and appellate court judges, who produce case law whenever the render a decision in a particular case.
Stare Decisis The principle of using precedents to guide future decisions in court cases; Latin for "to stand by decided cases."
Searches Explorations or inspections, by law enforcement officers, of homes, premises, vehicles, or persons, for the purpose of discovering evidence of crimes or persons who are accused of crimes.
Seizures the taking of persons or property into custody in response too violations of the criminal law.
Warrant A written order from a court directing law enforcement officers to conduct a search or to arrest a person.
Arrest The seizure of a person or the taking of a person
Mere Suspicion The standard of proof with the least certainty; a "gut feeling." With mere suspicion, a law enforcement officer cannot legally even stop a suspect.
Reasonable Suspicion A standard of proof that is more than a gut feeling. It includes the ability to articulate reasons for the suspicion. With reasonable suspicion, a law enforcement officer is legally permitted to stop and frisk a suspect.
Frisking Conducting a search for weapons by patting the outside of a suspect's clothing, feeling for hard objects that might be weapons.
Probable Cause The amount of proof necessary for a reasonably intelligent person to believe that a crime has been committed or that items connected with criminal activity can be found in a particular place. It is the standard proof needed to conduct search or to arrest.
Preponderance of Evidence Evidence that more likely than not outweighs the opposing evidence, or sufficient evidence to overcome doubt or speculation.
Clear and Convincing Evidence The standard of proof required in some civil cases and, in federal courts, the standard of proof necessary for a defendant to make a successful claim of insanity.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt The standard of proof necessary to find a defendant guilty in a criminal trial.
Exclusionary Rule The rule that illegally seized evidence must be excluded from trials in federal courts.
Self-Incrimination Being a witness against oneself. It forced, it is a violation of the Fifth Amendment.
Confession An admission by a person accused of a crime that he or she committed the offense charged.
Doctrine of Fundamental Fairness the rule that makes confessions inadmissible in criminal trials if they were obtained by means of either psychological manipulation or "third-degree" methods.
Venue the place of the trial. It must be geographically appropriate.
Subpoena A written order issued by a court that requires a person to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony. It can also require that documents and objects to be made available for examination by the court.
Created by: zfarmer1