The Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: What the book does.
I. TRIAL AND ERROR
A. Judicial System Basics
B. Before the Trial
E. Burden of Proof
II. LEGAL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
III. CRIME ...
IV. ... AND PUNISHMENT
V. CIVIL MATTERS
VI. SOME TERMS OF THE ART
VII. WILLS, PROBATE, AND ADOPTION
VIII. LEGAL MISCELLANY
IX. THINKING LIKE A LAWYER
X. THINKING LIKE A JUDGE
XI. LEGAL ETHICS
XII. RESEARCH AND REFERENCES
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Ch 1A: What’s the difference between a criminal action and a civil action?
A criminal action charges the suspect with a crime–a violation of the rules of society as agreed on and adopted by the state or federal legislature, codified in the criminal statutes. A crime is an offense against the peace and order of society. In theory, the wrong or offense is against society, not just the individual victim....
Ch 1B: How does a prosecutor decide whether to prosecute a specific case?
The prosecutor represents the people. His or her job is to prosecute all crimes committed within the jurisdiction while upholding the rights and privileges of all citizens. That means the prosecutor has a duty to seek the truth, no matter what it is.
And the truth is, some suspects are innocent, and some crimes are never solved.
A prosecutor can’t bring charges just because a crime occurs–he or she needs probable cause to believe that the person charged committed the crime....
Ch 1C: Can I use ancient documents such as letters or the family Bible to prove my character is descended from a particular person?
Yes. Your character will need to establish that the letters or Bible are genuine, e.g., that she inherited the Bible from her grandmother, who kept it on a lace-covered bedroom table and often recounted receiving it from her own mother. If your character also remembers seeing her grandmother receive the letters or record births, deaths, and marriages inside the Bible, admissibility is almost certain.
A fundamental principle of American criminal law, the presumption of innocence means that the prosecution–the government, representing the people–has the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant is not legally considered guilty until convicted.
Defendants are not required to prove or disprove...