Notes on Civil and Criminal Cases from Chapter 16 in the Glencoe Civics Today textbook

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Civil Cases

civil case/suit: a legal action one party brings against another, no crime committed.

lawsuit: a legal action brought against a person/group to collect damages for some harm that has been done

-suit of equity: kind of lawsuit that seeks fair treatment in a situation where there is no law

*in attempt to prevent a damaging action from taking place

(example: a road is being built near a playground, children could be harmed or kidnapped)

-injunction: court order commanding a person/group to stop a certain action

Basic steps in the court procedure in civil cases:

1. plaintiff hires an attorney who files a complaint

2. court sends the defendant a summons

3. defendant's attorney files a written answer, attorneys exchange pleadings

4. attorneys present sides of the case and await a verdict

Criminal Cases

-penal code: the criminal laws of a state

-federal penal code

Types of Crimes:

1. Crimes against people (examples: murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, manslaughter)

2. Crimes against property (examples: vandalism, larceny[theft, burglary], arson, fraud)

3. Victimless crimes: crimes against morality, no victim to bring complaint; hard to enforce (examples: unauthorized gambling, use of illegal drugs)

Court proceedings in criminal cases:

1. Arrest suspect

2. Preliminary hearing

3. indictment

4. arraignment

5. trial

6. deliberation

*Aquittal= not guilty, Sentencing= guilty, Mistrial=hung jury

plea bargain= plead guilty to a lesser offense