87765-piy-ch03-01.pdf_119843 - CHAP TER Litigation 3 O B J...

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FIGURE 3.1 A Typical Courtroom © Thinkstock prosecution The government’s side in a criminal case. plaintiff The party that starts a lawsuit. defense The party that responds to a civil or criminal complaint. CHAPTER 3 Litigation LEARNING OBJECTIVES In this chapter, you will explore our litigation system in detail. Litigation provides an opportunity for each side in a dispute, whether criminal or civil, to lay their side of the story to an impartial jury or judge and ask that jury or judge to decide who wins and loses, and how much the loser should pay or how much time the defendant should spend in jail. After reading this chapter, you should have a deeper understanding of how litigation is conducted in the United States. Specifically, you should be able to answer the following questions: 1. Who are the parties involved in litigation? 2. What is standing and how does it impact litigation? 3. How does a court obtain personal jurisdiction over a defendant? 4. How does a trial progress from beginning to end? 5. How does a losing side appeal a case? Even if you’ve never stepped foot in a courtroom before, you can probably describe what a courtroom looks like. It’s a large, imposing room with tall ceilings, flags on stands, and wood paneling on the walls. The majority of the floor space is taken up with seating for the public. The front of the courtroom is dominated by the bench, behind which the judge sits, above everyone else in the room. Next to the bench is a solitary chair with a microphone in front of it, where a witness sits. Along one side of the wall is a separated area with two rows of seats, where the jury sits. Facing the bench, and always closest to the jury, is one table for the party that is carrying the burden of proof in the case: the prosecution in a criminal trial and the plaintiff in a civil trial. Across the aisle, there is another impressive table for the opposite side, the defense . When court is in session, a hush settles into the room so that everyone can hear the judge, commanding in presence, or the witness, captivating in detail. Many of us have such clear imagery of a courtroom because our experiences are drawn from popular culture. Whether in movies ( A Civil Action , To Kill a Mockingbird , Erin Brockovich ), on television shows ( Law & Order , L.A. Law , Boston Legal ), or in fictional books ( The Firm , Twelve Angry Men ), courtroom scenes capture our imagination and fire our sense of righteousness and justice as good always prevails over evil. In our collective courtrooms the truth always comes out, our ideals are always upheld, and the bad guys always lose. Who could forget, for example, the psychological breakdown on the witness stand in the movie A Few Good Men , as Jack Nicholson plays it out? Personal PDF created exclusively for Wendy Ruan ([email protected])
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litigation A lawsuit filed in court to determine liability and remedies.
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87765-piy-ch03-01.pdf_119843 - CHAP TER Litigation 3 O B J...

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