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01:790:340 Study Guide - Final Guide: Scale-Invariant Feature Transform, Multinational Corporation, Bench Trial

Political Science
Course Code
Study Guide

of 4
Exam 1 – Textbook Notes
I. Sources of Law
a. Legislative Law
i. Also known as “statutory law” consists of
the enactments of an elected legislative
ii. Ordinance – another form of written,
legislative law, usually referring to the
laws passed be a local government body or
county board of supervisors
iii. Statutes and ordinances are enforced once
passed, unless it is repealed by the
governmental body that passed it or ruled
unconstitutional by state or federal court
b. Judicial Law
i. Adjudication – the process by which courts
apply statutes, ordinances, or
constitutional provisions to the facts of a
particular case
ii. Courts must often interpret the laws based
in the situation it is being used for
1. Courts may develop new legal doctrines
that become part of the law
iii. Lawyers sometimes call judge-made laws “case
law” or “common law” to distinguish it from
legislative resources
1. A central element is “stare decisis” –
the process of following the points of
law established by other courts in
earlier cases
a. When courts apply stare decisis to
cases, the process is called
“precedent” – the authority of a
prior ruling in a similar case
c. Constitutional Law
i. Thought of as a hybrid between legislative
and judicial law
ii. Similar to legislative law in that it exists
in the form of a written document, it is
similar to judicial law in that most studies
of “constitutional law” refers to judicial
law where the constitutional law has been
interpreted and applied
iii. Constitutional law links adjudication and
legislation; courts have the power to
invalidate legislative enactments that
violate provisions of a state or federal
Constitution – known as “judicial review
d. Administrative Law
i. Comprises all of the regulations, standards,
and decisions that derive from the many
administrative agencies created by Congress
and the executive branch
1. These agencies were created to regulate
certain areas of social life
2. Such agencies have the authority to
issue regulations that have the force
of law
II. Substantive Law
a. Civil Law
i. Law regarding private disputes between
parties over property, business
transactions, accidents and injuries, etc.
1. private party – can be individual
person, a small company, or a huge
multinational corporation
a. entity not governmental
b. Criminal Law
i. Law concerning wrongs against the state
III. Procedural Law
a. Regulates the process of resolving a civil law
suit or criminal case
i. Procedure in civil cases
1. Cases begin with pleadings – the
documents filed in court by the
plaintiff and defendant.
2. Discovery – evidence gathered by both
3. Pretrial – conducted by judge assigned
to the case to determine whether the
arties are ready to go to trial
4. After a jury is selected, a trial is
conducted, at the conclusion of which
the jury reaches a verdict for the
plaintiff or for the defendant
ii. Procedure in criminal cases
1. Preliminary Hearing – examines the
basis for the charges against the
defendant, who can waive this step
a. Offers the accused the opportunity
to challenge the prosecution’s
case before the court
b. If judge determines that
sufficient evidence exists to send
the case to trial, the defendant
will face an indictment – formal
presentation of the charges
against him or her
2. Arraignment – the defendant must then
enter a plea to the charges in the
a. Not guilty – trial
b. Guilty – awaits sentence imposed
by court
i. Normally part of a plea
bargain – arrangement in
which the defendant agrees
not to contest charges if
prosecutor will agree to
lesser sentence
c. Nolo Contendere – literally “I do
not contest;” functionally
equivalent to a guilty plea but
does not actually admit
culpability; plea of nolo
contendere cannot be used in later
civil or criminal proceedings as
an admission of guilt
iii. In both civil and criminal cases, the losing
party has the right to an appeal a verdict
1. an appeal asks another court – the
appellate court – to examine whether an
error occurred in the proceeding in
which the losing party lost
a. Appellate courts do not retry the
facts or hear evidence; simply
review the allegation that an
error took place at the trial
level; frequently set precedent
that then becomes part of that law
b. Sets out roles and functions of the various
participants involved in a court proceeding
i. Judge – oversee courtroom procedure and to
serve as the determiner of the law;
authority on what the law requires in a
given case, and he or she must rule on many
different requests from the parties to a
civil or criminal proceeding