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Constitutional Law. By Felix Romero. Constitutions. Constitutions contain the fundamental laws for the United States and each individual state (Smith 2003)

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constitutional law
Constitutional Law


Felix Romero

  • Constitutions contain the fundamental laws for the United States and each individual state (Smith 2003)
  • Government officials produce rules and policies that reflect social values (which are known as law), and these rules and procedures are what are written in the Constitutions (Smith 2003).
types of constitutions
Types of Constitutions
  • There are two types of Constitutions:
  • United States Constitution
    • Ratified in 1789
    • Gives individuals basic protections
    • View copy of the United States Constitution at
types of constitutions con t
Types of Constitutions Con’t
  • State Constitutions
    • Each State has its own Constitution
    • Originally established by the people to prevent abusive actions by the government (Smith 2003).
    • Can give individuals more rights than listed in the United States Constitution, but cannot restrict the rights of the United States Constitution (Smith 2003).
    • Example of State Constitution:
  • “Law defines and limits the authority of the government, and it establishes the protections that individuals enjoy against interference by government” (Smith 2003).
  • The State and Federal Constitutions established two main types of law:
    • Civil Law
    • Criminal Law
civil law
Civil Law
  • Civil Law deals with torts, breaches of contracts, contested wills, trusts, worker’s compensation, insurance claims, property contests, and divorce (Territo 2004).
  • In a civil law violation, one individual sues another individual or organizational entity (Territo 2004).
criminal law
Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law deals with offenses committed against the safety and order of the state (Territo 2004).
  • Two categories of criminal law:
    • Substantive Criminal Law
    • Procedural Criminal Law
substantive criminal law
Substantive Criminal Law
  • “Laws that define which behaviors will be subject to punishment by government…” (Smith 2003).
  • Examples include prohibitions on murder, rape, assault, and burglary.
  • Punishment can range from mild fines to prison and, in some states, the death penalty.
procedural criminal law
Procedural Criminal Law
  • “Mandates the steps in the criminal justice process and provides legal protections for criminal suspects, defendants, and convicted offenders” (Smith 2003).
  • Legal protections from governmental actions are known as constitutional rights.
similarities between criminal and civil law territo 2004
Similarities between Criminal and Civil Law (Territo 2004)
  • Both Criminal Law and Civil Law seek to control behavior
  • Both impose sanctions against the defendant
  • Similar areas of legal action exist, such as personal battery and environmental offenses
differences criminal law territo 2004
Differences: Criminal Law(Territo 2004)
  • A crime is an offense against the general public
  • Sanctions associated with criminal law are deprivation of liberty, incarceration, and death
  • The right to go forward in litigating or to drop a case belongs exclusively to the state
  • The state must prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt”
  • If fines are imposed, they go to the state treasury
differences civil law territo 2004
Differences: Civil Law(Territo 2004)
  • Civil Law involves litigation against another person for a private wrong
  • The damages associated with civil infractions are exclusively monetary
  • The individual alone has the choice whether to bring forth litigation and may drop it at any time
  • The plaintiff upon victory receives only monetary damages as compensation for the harm done to him or her
  • The burden of proof is “a preponderance of the evidence”
  • Smith, C.E. (2003). Criminal procedure. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, Inc.
  • Territo, L., Halsted, J.B., & Bromley, M.L. (2004). Crime and justice in america: A human perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.