CHAPTERS 6 and 7
The next 3 chapters (Chs. 6, 7, 8) deal with unacceptable behavior that results in
an injury to someone else.
This injury can either be due to their careless behavior
(negligence) or their intentional behavior (intentional tort).
If the unacceptable behavior
is recognized by society as behavior that should be prevented, it can also be considered a
crime (misdemeanors or felonies).
Picture a timeline with very good behavior on the left and very bad behavior on
the right with varying degrees of unacceptable behavior on the line between.
you get to the right, the worse the behavior is.
Remember, law consists of a set of
standards or rules that society has set to govern its conduct, and when a person
unintentionally or intentionally injures someone else, that is a violation of such standards.
Tort law is civil law, which means that if the injured party wants to receive
monetary damages for his/her injuries, he/she will have to file a civil case against the
party that caused the injury.
At the same time, if the violation of the standard is severe
enough and therefore has also been defined as a crime, the State (prosecuting attorney or
district attorney) can bring a criminal action against the party that caused the injury.
Thus, it is possible when a person intentionally injures someone else, that this poor
behavior can be both a tort (civil case) and a crime (criminal case).
The perfect example of intentional behavior that resulted in a tort and a crime is
the O.J. Simpson case.
Some of you may be too young to remember the murder trial
against O.J. Simpson, who was accused of brutally killing his wife.
O.J. Simpson was a
famous football player who had made numerous commercials for cereal companies, Hertz
Rental Car, etc.
He was well-liked and a hero.
He was accused of murder 1 in California
and the criminal trial against him was very controversial.
It took a long time to pick the
12 jurors and the 2 alternates that would eventually hear the case and make a decision
regarding his innocence or guilt.
In chapter 6, you will read that the burden of proof for
the state to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt.
other words, almost more than 100% convinced that the crime was committed by the
defendant, as charged.
All 12 jurors must unanimously agree with this verdict.
In the O.J. Simpson case, all 12 jurors did not agree, and Mr. Simpson was found
not guilty of the crime with which he was charged.
The prosecuting attorney had not
included any lesser offenses in the murder chard, therefore Mr. Simpson was now free to
However, the estate of his wife now filed a civil case against Mr. Simpson for the
wrongful death of their daughter and claimed monetary damages from Mr. Simpson.
parties to this action were the parents of the murdered wife as plaintiffs and Mr. Simpson
as the defendant.
This case was brought in civil court, not criminal court and the burden
of proof in a civil case is only preponderance of the evidence.
That means the plaintiff’s