BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT:
• legislative – congress( house of representatives and senat)
• Judaical – supreme court
• executive - president
CHECKSAND BALANCES – the principle under which the powers of the national government are
divided among among three separate branches- the executive(enforces), legislative(makes law), and
judicial(interprets) branches- each of which exercises a check on the actions of the others.
SUPREMACY CLAUSE –the requirement in the article 4 of the Constitution where under this clause,
state and local laws that directly conflict with federal law will be rendered invalid.
BILLOF RIGHTS - CHAPTERS 4AND 7
FIRST-- freedom of speech, religion, press etc.
FIFTH AMENDMENT – due process, equal protecyion, self-incrimination, double jeopardy
FOURTH – search and seizure, probable cause/warrant
SIXTH – counsel, speedy trial, jury
EXCLUSIONARY RULE - evidence illegally seized by law enforcement officers in violation of a
suspect's right to be free from unreasonabSEARCHES AND SEIZURES cannot be used against the
suspect in a criminal prosecution.
CIVIL LAW V. CRIMINAL LAW - P. 13, as discussed and covered in class and in Chapter 7
-BURDEN OF PROOF IN CRIMINAL CASES (against society) IS BEYONDA REASONABLE
DOUBT; UNANIMOUS VERDICT; GOVERNMENT V.ACCUSED; LIBERTY; criminal defendants
are prosecuted by publick officials on behalf of the state, not by their victims or other private parties.
-CIVIL CASE( violations of person's rights). IS BYAPREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE;
USUALLYABOUT MONEY; Private party sues another private party to make that other party comply
with a duty or pay for the damage caused by the failure to comply with a duty.
JURISPRUDENCE - P. 3
DISCOVERY - Begins on P. 47
• REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
• (FYI - REQUEST FORADMISSIONS - but not on test)
Superior Court, District Court -- Trial Courts (Jury trials/ verdicts)
Appeals Court of Massachusetts and Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) -Appellate/reviewing courts-- no
testimony, no jury; panels of judges SOURCES OF LAW - Chapter 1 and in Class
– CONSTITUTION – supreme law of the Land. State constitutions are supreme within state
borders to the extent that they don't violate the US Constitution or federal law.
– LEGISLATION/STATUTES – laws and ordinances created by federal, state and local
legislatures and governing bodies. None of these laws can violate Constitution or the relevant
state constitutions. Uniform laws, when adopted by a state legislature, become statutory law in
that state. Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. chapter and section)
– CASE LAW - (CASE PRECEDENT) – judge-made law, including interpretations of
STARE DECISIS – a common law doctrine under which judges are obligated to follow the precedents
established in prior decisions.
Jardines v. Florida (facts, decision, holding and reasoning; also dissenting opinion)
Texas v. Johnson - flag burning
JURISDICTION – the authority of a court to hear and decide specific case33
JUDGES / JUSTICES
TRIAL COURTS V.APPELLATE COURTS - TEXTAND covered in class;
ROLE OF THE REVIEWING COURT – reviews the records of the case on appeal, which includes a
transcript of the trial proceedings, and determines whether the trial court committed an error. They
focus on questions of law not facts.
APPELLATE REVIEW – a court of appeals doesn't hear evidence – it reviews the records for errors of
law. The a