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Civil and Criminal Law Compared

Civil and Criminal Law Compared

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Civil and Criminal Law Compared

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  1. Civil and Criminal Law Compared Chapter 6

  2. Tort Lawsuit and Criminal Prosecution for the Same Act As person suddenly attacks Joe as he is walking down the street. Physical Attack as a Tort Physical Attack as a Crime The assailant commits an assault (an intentional, unexcused act that creates in Joe the reasonable fear of immediate harmful contact) and a battery (intentional harmful contact). The assailant violates a statute that defines and prohibits the crime of assault (“attempt to commit a violent injury on another”) and battery (“commission of an intentional act resulting in injury to another”). Joe files civil a suit against the assailant. The state prosecutes the assailant. A court orders the assailant to pay Joe for his injuries. A court orders the assailant to be fined or imprisoned. Chapter 6

  3. Major Steps in Processing a Criminal Case BookingAt the police station, the suspect is searched again. The name of the suspect and the crime for which the arrest was made are entered in the books, and the suspect is photographed, fingerprinted, and allowed at least one telephone call. After the booking, charges are reviewed, and if they are not dropped,* a complaint is filed and magistrate reviews the case for probable cause. Arrest The polices officer takes the suspect into custody after the arrest, the officer searches the suspect, who is then taken to the police station. Initial AppearanceThe suspect appears before the magistrate, who informs the suspect of the charges and of his or her rights. If the suspect requires a lawyer, one is appointed. The magistrate sets or denies bail (conditions under which a suspect can obtain release pending disposition of the case). Preliminary HearingIn a proceeding in which both sides are represented by counsel, the magistrate determines whether there is probably cause to believe that the suspect committed the crime, based on the evidence. *At any point in the processing of criminal case, charges may be reduced or dismissed Chapter 6

  4. Major Steps in Processing a Criminal Case (Continued) Grand Jury ReviewThe federal government and about half of the states require grand jury indictments for at least some felonies. In those states, a grand jury determines whether the evidence justifies a trial on the charge sought by the prosecutor. Prosecutor ReviewIn jurisdictions that do not require grand jury indictments, a prosecutor issues an information. An information is similar to an indictment; both are charging instruments that replace the complaint. Arraignment The suspect is brought before the trial court, informed of the charges, and asked to enter a plea. Plea BargainA plea bargain is a prosecutors promise to make concessions (or to seek concessions) in exchange for a suspect’s guilty plea. Concessions may include a reduced charge or a lesser sentence. Chapter 6

  5. Major Steps in Processing a Criminal Case (Continued) TrialGenerally, trials for felonies and major misdemeanors are jury trials, and trials for minor misdemeanors are bench trials (trials before judges). If the verdict is “guilty,” the judge sets the case for sentencing. Everyone convicted of a crime has the right to an appeal. Guilty Plea In most jurisdictions, most cases that reach the arraignment stage do not go to trial but are resolved by a guilty plea, often as the result of a plea bargain. The judge sets the case for sentencing. Chapter 6

  6. Criminal Law Chapter 6

  7. Criminal Law (Continued) Chapter 6

  8. Criminal Law (Continued) Chapter 6