cpsc180bnotes - Computers and the Law Computer Science 180...

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Computers and the Law Computer Science 180 Fall 2003 Notes September 3, 2003 = Intro to Course September 5, 2003 = Legal Primer I: Statutory and Common Law Brief cases Common Law = judge-made law (practitioners, individual case, no concern for big picture) Statutory Law = law made by legislators (the big picture) Court System Structure : Supreme Court Court of Appeals (11 circuits) – decisions binding on courts in that circuit District Courts (trial) District courts can come to different conclusions Court of Appeals decisions are binding on courts below Supreme court make final binding decisions Then American system is more rigid than the British system because the US publishes only 1 opinion. In England, every judge writes an opinion. In America, the courts interpret statutes Contract Law = Common Law Plaintiff = One who commences a personal action or suit to obtain a remedy for an injury to his rights Defendant = A person required to make answer in an action or suit; -- opposed to plaintiff Case #1: Peevyhouse v. Garland Coal & Mining Co. Garland offers to pay Peevyhouses to strip their land to get the coal, then restore the land which would cost $29,000. Garland refused to restore the land. Peevyhouses sue Garland for $29,000 to restore land Garland says land was only worth $300 when destroyed, so they’ll only pay $300. Jury considers $5,000 settlement. Peevyhouses appeal. Garland cross appeals. Other cases are reviewed. Final decision is Garland owes $300. DISSENT = willful breach of contract Peevyhouses attempt to attest value of original land, but it’s too late for that. ****This is an Efficient Breach of Contract . Economic analysis = cheaper to breach than to adhere. Case #2: In re Phillip B (1979)
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Phillip had Down Syndrome, and parents didn’t really want him even from birth At the age of 3 he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The case was whether he should be declared a dependent child of the court so that he culd get the operation. His parents were unwilling to give permission for the operation. There was a 5-10% mortality for average person with heart defect. Higher morbidity for those with Down’s Syndrome. Phillip was given no education or play time. Lower court dismissed case, no clear and convincing evidence. Appeals court will only look at evidence to prove necessities. Looks to constitution: parental autonomy – not absolute (country must protect children) Court declares that there is not substantial evidence and the petition is denied. Case #3: Guardianship of Phillip B. (1983) Phillip became close to Hs who volunteered at We Care starting in 1972. They educated him and eventually treated him as part of the family giving him a bedroom, assigning chores, and attending Boy Scouts.
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