Property rights are put in place to protect a citizen’s property such as personal things like cars, land, and houses. Even an individual’s reputation falls under this category. The rights are emphasized by laws such as the criminal laws and the civil laws. Whenever the rights are reinforced, they involve, search, and seizure of property through some rules and exceptions are adhered to. These rules also are drawn from the American Constitution that explains the fourth Amendment of criminal and civil laws. Search, and seizure is applicable during investigations that are required by the court on certain property cases. This essay will focus on examples of a few chosen civil and criminal cases that have helped shape the American Criminal Justice System.
A civil case involves misunderstanding or a conflict between individuals or organizations such businesses, mostly because of money or valuable property. It usually starts when an individual or institution that is a plaintiff claims to have been harmed or injured by another person or an institution that is the defendant. For instance, a civil case that was presented in court on fortuitous actions on another person’s car that required compensations. The court order for investigations to be carried out by giving a search warrant to the police officers. The investigations involved a thorough search of the car in determining the fortuitous acts. The plaintiff privately owned the car thus a search warrant was needed (Vago, 2015).
The search warrant required may be to stop the defendant from destroying evidence or for the police officer to seek more information to secure themselves and other people (Norrie, 2014). The court resolved the case by applying the appropriate civil legal rights. The defendant was faced with legal consequences due to his actions.
Criminal law is reinforced where a person commits an act that is seen as awful to the community and spoils the society’s reputation. A criminal case arises when the authority that is responsible stands to correct and punish the awful behavior. An example of a criminal case that was heard in court that involved an individual who kept illegal drugs in a bathroom (LaFave, 2017). The suspect who had kept the illegal drugs was arrested for further investigations to be carried out. After the investigations and thorough search, the court passed a verdict in the case that the suspect to be punished as according to the criminal laws because the investigations showed that the findings were right.
The criminal and civil laws differ in so many ways that help many people to distinguish them. Among the differences is that the two laws serve different purposes altogether to protect the property rights. The major role of civil law is to resolve and settle disputes and also provide compensation penalty to an injured person by someone else’s actions or behavior. The primary role of the criminal law is to prevent an awful behavior of a person and punish those who commit acts seen as undesirable by the society. In addition to that, in civil law, the person who is injured is the one who brings a lawsuit which is in contrast with the criminal law, where it is the government that files the charges. Also, the injured person can file a complaint in court, but with criminal law, the government has to decide whether criminal charges should be filed or not (Vago, 2015).
Civil law’s violation is considered as a crime against society, the state and the federal government at large. It is also taken as a violation of the public law instead of private law (Vago, 2015). For instance, an individual owning drugs that are prohibited by law as property. Regarding standards of proof that are required to reach a verdict, the civil law requires a plaintiff to prove a civil law case by a preponderance of the evidence, while criminal law needs a higher standard of proof of its proceedings. The state ought to prove their case beyond all doubts. The reason the higher standards of proof is because of a person’s freedoms that are at stake.
The reasoning and making of decisions concerning a criminal case involve several stages that take place to pass a verdict. Firstly, it starts with an arrest, where the suspect is arrested and taken to court for trials. Second is the arraignment that involves the first appearance in court of the suspect that is held as quickly as possible. This is to determine whether further investigations should be carried out or the suspect should be let free if not found with any offenses.
A civil case has several stages as well that are followed in the hiring of the case to make decisions. It first starts with the prefilling where the conflict on the property arises, and the parties claim in court. Second is the beginning pleading then it is followed by the discovery stage where the parties exchange information on what took place and establish their differences. Fourthly is the pretrial stage to allow for preparations for the trial stage. The preparations may include collections of evidence and witnesses to court. The fifth stage is the trial stage where the case is heard in court, and the jury takes their time to decide it correctly. It may take a long or short period depending on the complexity of the case. The last stage is the post-trial where the parties that were involved in the conflict appeal the ruling of the court that was passed at the trial stage (Vago, 2015).
The criminal laws or cases are determined by their systems that distinguish them from other kinds of penalized conducts. The criminal cases are decided by a guide that is provided by system’s criminal prosecutions of the damages brought by the injured party. Civil cases are always treated as private matters because the victim has the responsibility to investigate what must happen, to identify the wrongdoer and file a complaint against him. The law provides the courts through which the case should be heard and decided. It also provides norms that help on points of references. It specifies the right remedies to be taken, and it might also aid with successful plaintiffs to extract the damage from those who are willing to provide. Though the injured party is supposed to bring a case, pursue it or abandon it, to emphasize and insist on extracting the damages the court awarded or to leave them (Norrie, 2014).
The criminal cases have helped in shaping the American criminal justice system because they have helped courts use these cases as materials of reference on deciding other related cases on search and seizure of personal property. They have strengthened the laws, and the criminal justice system pays keen attention at those who violate the laws based on past experiences from the above cases. Therefore, the cases have laid strong foundations to any other cases on the property as several amendments have been made to protect property. Also, civil cases have improved the standard of proof that is put in place by the American criminal justice system to be used in courts to make decisions and pass verdicts (LaFave, 2017). The standard of proof is looked at basing the event of evidence provided to determine the losing or winning side. Also, these cases have helped bring clear and convincing facts and evidence about a case as many amendments have been made to the civil laws.
The criminal and civil cases have also helped put much reinforcement of the respective laws and property rights in the American society to ensure the protection of a citizen’s property. This has mostly protected the less privileged people in the society and also reduced corruption heights. Therefore, they have shaped the American criminal justice system by ensuring protection and safety to the peoples’ property, reputations and lives at large, thus promoting peace and development in the society.
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- LaFave, W. (2017). Principles of criminal law. West Academic.
- Norrie, A. (2014). Crime, reason and history: A critical introduction to criminal law. Cambridge University Press.
- Vago, S. (2015). Law and society. Routledge.