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Within the legal system, substantive and procedural laws are the two main distinctive classes within it. Substantive law implies to statutory or written laws which are enacted with the main objective of governing the relationship that exists amongst the people or between the people and the state. In this regard, the substantive laws implies to a set of rules which define the obligations and rights of persons and collective institutions. On the other hand, procedural laws refers to a set of laws and rules that need to be adhered to and followed when a court is conducting a hearing. Therefore, procedural laws define what will take place during a criminal or civil proceeding (Melone & Karnes, 2008).
From this definition of the two terms, it is without ant dispute that the two laws differ in the role that they play. For instance, when rteferri9ng to the procedural laws, they refer to the step by step processes through which a case has to go through. For instance, the procedural laws will dictate as to whether, a case is supposed to go into trial or not. A law becomes substantive when it has the ability to create or lead to the creation of new and it is able to recognize the existence of a right or an obligation (Xavier, 2008). Procedural laws are recognized because they lay down the structural frameworks and processes which will make it possible for a petitioner or a claimant to realize and obtain what may be termed to as legally and rightfully his or hers. The procedural laws give us a map to be followed in order to determine the parties' rights (Bastiat, 2007).
When a person is accused of a crime, this matter is never treated lightly; however, this does not mean that the person is guilty. In order for a conviction trial to be won, the prosecutors must be able to prove that the accused and his actions fully meet the various crime elelemnts. The principles of criminal law include: actus Reas, causation, foreseeability, mens rea, innocent until proven guilty, burden of proof and concurrence,
Actus Reas implies that an individual can not be punished for a crime that has not been committed. This means that the law must come up with proof before any conviction can be considered. The act that deserves to be punished must be one that is prohibited.
Mens Rea is a Latin term that implies to "guilty mind". This therefore means that a person can not be punished for an act of crime when the person's mind is free off crime. Therefore, the prosecutors are expected by the law to proof, Mens Reas before any action can be taken on an individual. A third criminal principle is causation. This implies that an individual can not be convicted if he is not the reason for a crime occurring. For a person to be accused of a crime he must have directly caused it and the prosecutors must be able to prove that in the court of law (Xavier, 2008).
Foreseeability refers to a case where a person can not receive conviction if at the time the crime occurred it could not be foreseen. In addition, it may refer to a case where an individual's action at a time was not foreseen as a crime. For an individual to be convicted there must be a concurrence between mens rea and actus reas. The person in question should have had a guilty mind and it is this mind that led to the action in question being committed.
The legality principle requires that though a person has been accused of a crime, he remains innocent until the prosecutor is able to prove his guiltiness in relation to the matter at hand. The prosecutor has the role of proving the guilty of the defendant. The accused should not try to prove his or her innocence.
For an action to be considered to as a criminal offence, there are three elements that must define it. The three are, the conduct must be prohibited by law, the mental element of a mind that is guilty and the element of liability.
Civil laws are owed with the responsibility of dealing with disputes that arises among private parties or acts of negligence that end up causing harm to others. Criminal law deals with the actions that are intentional and are geared towards harming other individuals and can be considered in broad terms to as offences to all of us. The parties in the civil and criminal suites differ greatly. In a civil case, the parties can either be private individuals while those in the criminal cases the state on behalf of the public accuses and brings the offender to court with the aim of the court determining his innocence or proving him guilty (Melone & Karnes, 2008).
Criminal lawsuits are very different from civil ones. On the side of criminal suits, the intention is to punish and convict the offender for the actions taken while in civil suits; the intention is to settle disputes among private individuals. In criminal lawsuits, the defendant may be punished through fines or imprisonment while in civil cases; the defendant who looses the judgment to the plaintiff should compensate the plaintiff directly.
A lot of evidence is required to prove a person guilty in criminal suits than in civil suits. For one to be convicted of crime, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to show that there is proof beyond any doubt that the person in question committed the crime and in a number of cases, it should be proved that they had the intentions of doing it (Harr & Hess, 2007). It is not possible for the juries and the judges to convict a person due to believe, the accused should be guilty for the jury to be certain of the action they take. It is through this that the accused is given a benefit of doubt and thus making it less obvious for an innocent man to be accused and imprisoned for a wrong not committed. Unlike criminal cases, the civil ones must be proven on probabilities balance.
It is the right of each and every citizen to be aware of the laws that are applicable in the land. No one can be excused for being ignorant of the laws that govern him or protect him. It should be noted that ignorance is no defense (Bastiat, 2007). Even when a person is not on the wrong side of the law, it is important to know the laws that you can be able to use so as to protect yourself and your rights. There are various categories of laws that we have in our country. Some of them are criminal laws, civil laws, admiralty laws and tort laws.
A crime is understood as any omission or act that violates a public law that commands or forbids it. Despite the fact that there are a number of common criminal laws most of them are either established locally or internationally. The criminal law is punished by the state on behalf of its citizens because the actions of an individual are often directed to the interests of the public which are either breached or harmed.
Another category of law that is in existence is the public law. This is concerned with the relations that exist within the state or internationally. The public laws may also define the relationship that exists between an individual and the state.
The civil laws present to us sets of rules from which we should know how to conduct ourselves. The set of rules governs the relationship and transactions amongst people or entities. Proceedings in civil laws are brought in to the court by the private individuals especially those with grievances. Proof is based on balance of probabilities; this implies that there is less degree of evidence and proof required than in the case of criminal law suits (Melone & Karnes, 2008).
The tort law deals with things such as nuisance, negligence, trespass and defamation. The tort laws are geared towards the civil wrongs that are inculcated on individuals and not only on the breach of contract. The law expects people not to infringe other people's rights, privacy and other people's interests.
Law sources refer to the authorities that are responsible for making laws. There are a number of sources or authorities that are responsible for making laws and the most common ones are legislation, government regulations, courts and custom. Apart from these sources, Harr & Hess (2007) argue that the laws can be based on the constitution, legislative statute, judges' decisions in courts and those that exist naturally.
Constitutions are typically the highest sources of laws in a country and this therefore implies that new laws that are formed should never contradict what he constitution is saying. The legislature constitutes of declaration of legal rules by an authority that is considered competent. The legislature is deemed as the direct and topmost source of laws (Bastiat, 2007). The decisions passed by some jurists in courts can act as sources of laws. These laws are referred to as precedent laws and they are often enforced when there is no law that can be employed in addressing changing conditions within the system. In addition to this, the custom has become a constant source of law. This refers to the rules that particular people, families, tribes, and classes of people have been following for a very long time.
According to Melone & Karnes (2008) a law is a set of rules and guidelines that are enforced by a recognized institution to govern the conduct of people and institutions. It from the laws that economics, politics and the general society is shaped in a number of ways. The law acts as a mediator and governs how people relate with one another especially in terms of their conduct. For a subject to qualify as a law, a state had to be considered sovereign. Territories must be there, a government must be in force, there must be a population and the state must be in a position of conducting and engaging in foreign and diplomatic relations.
The republic in which the laws in force have been established has the capability of defining its own laws. The set laws are often there to govern it and its citizens and the general organs that are found within its boundaries. It is the republic that knows how the laws will affect it and its subjects and this means that it can not enforce laws that are demeaning and which will affect the nation negatively (Xavier, 2008). In addition to this, the constitution of the nation will define the country's laws. It is from the constitution that all rules and repercussions for any person who infringes a law are noted and the best way to administer them.
The law refers to rules that have been established by a governing body or authority with the aim of maintaining and instituting order within its subjects. The elements present in the definition of the term law are categorized in to four. A law defines the conduct of the people; it acts as a guide in the relationships of persons and the general subjects in it. The laws that have been set must be just, obligatory and they must describe the authority in power.
Since its inception and the birth of the American nation's way back to its revolution in the 1775 to 1785, to the early twentieth century, all the various parts of the American criminal justice system have been developing gradually (Harr & Hess, 2007). Some of the various parts of this system that have been influenced highly include its courts, prisons and the policing departments. Before the revolution, the system was still in existence. The various colonies that existed during this time existed and operated separately and independently. The punishments, criminal codes and the courts were varied and structured to be in line with the different colonies that came into power.
As asserted by Bastiat (2007) by the time the revolution took place, the reformers were eager to come up with a new system that was unified and which could be interpreted as one. The founders of the nation crafted a constitution that was to put the new nation in track, the constitution was unique and it presented a number of opportunities to the whole nation as one and not as parts. The constitution was aimed at gaining uniformity and to ensure that the hard won battles of the colonists would not be lost to the new and independent federal states.
The American criminal justice system is made up of three core components: courts, police and prisons commonly known as corrections. A number of powers were granted to the specific federal government by the constitution. The founders believed that through this, the powers of the government would be limited and the liberties of individuals would be protected adequately. So when the different states met, the people's liberties and rights were demanded through the criminal justice system. This is because they were scared that the growth of the federal government over time would lead to the disappearance of their liberties. This led to a hot contention which resulted to the drafting of a number of amendments which included the ten amendments, which were later to be referred to as the bill of rights.