In civil case o person versus person o burden of

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In civil case o Person versus person o Burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence o It is the jury’s role to determine what happened – the jury tries facts and makes a decision o Almost always about money Need to be paid the amount that was taken from me One difficult issue to deal with is pain and suffering Need to put a number on pain and suffering In criminal law o State versus person Person broke state law – state will prosecute o Standard of proof is higher – beyond a reasonable doubt, as opposed to preponderance of evidence Defense has lesser burden than does prosecution All defense has to do is establish a reasonable doubt
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o Outcome is often loss of freedom, though some money may go to state Jail, community service, etc. Civil and criminal are two totally different areas of law Precedent and stare decisis o We follow precedent in US o Precedent Once a decision has been made, and the law has been applied to it, the next time something like this happens (and the same law is in place), we will use the same decision Process of doing this is called stare decisis o Don’t always follow precedent, though it is normally followed – two things can happen This can happen if you distinguish your case – say your case is unique Say my set of facts are different from the ones used in the original case You can get decision overturned – you can overturn precedent But you need a reason to do so Entry level court o Where you begin o Where the jury exists o In appeal courts, there is no jury, because you’re not appealing on questions of fact (which is what the jury deals with, and by the time of the appeal, the decisions regarding fact have already been made) o You can appeal from an entry level court Appeal based on two criteria There was a mistake based on of law (such as application of law, gathering of evidence, etc.) Also must show that the mistake was significant If you do these two things, you can move to a higher court o Start at entry-level court (where you begin), go to appellate court if there has been an error Opinion (3 types – majority, dissenting, and concurring) o As long as there is a majority, someone will write the opinion (the majority opinion) o Minority can write dissents Can have several different opinions written Don’t have an effect on case outcome But they can have an effect on future cases, if society’s perspective changes enough to want to accept one of the dissenting opinions as majority Can overturn precedent o Concurring opinion Sometimes same majority opinion is reached, but for different reasons
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Outcome is still majority Concurring judge (the one who voted for the different reason) gets to write his opinion o All this can make case very long Analyze decision based on jurisdiction over the defendant – the plaintiff gives consent, so jurisdiction applies to him or her in whatever state
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