Chapter 15: Law in America
The hallmark of our democratic
society is that decisions and actions are made according to
established laws rather than by arbitrary actions and decrees.
Chapter 15 focuses on how civil and criminal laws work to
protect citizens and to resolve conflicts in everyday life.
Section 1 explains the different
kinds of law in the United States. In addition to constitutional
law, the United States has statutory law, administrative law,
common law, and equity. The section also lists the principles
of the American justice system: equal justice under the law,
due process of law, the adversary system of justice, and the
presumption of innocence. Civil law concerns disputes between
two or more individuals or between individuals and the government.
Section 2 discusses the
four important branches of civil law that deal with contracts,
property, family relations, and torts. Then it discusses how
civil cases, or lawsuits, are resolved.
Section 3 defines crime
as an act that breaks a criminal law and causes injury and
harm to people or to society in general. It also classifies
crimes as petty offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies and then
explains the steps in a criminal case.