In order to understand the duties and relevance of civil attorneys, district attorneys, and defense attorneys, one must first examine the elements of both criminal law and civil law, as well as understand what the judicial system is comprised of and how the courts work. The definition of the word “judicial” includes the following: 1. Of or relating to the administration of justice. 2. Of or relating to judgement in a court of law or to a judge exercising this function. 3.
Incline to pass judgement; discriminating. 4. Having qualities appropriate to a judge. 5. Giving or seeking judgement, especially seeking determination of a contested issue. In the judicial system of the United States, someone accused of a crime has the right to an attorney to help in the defense against charges, according to the Constitution.
If the accused cannot afford to hire an attorney, then one will be appointed at government expense. Regardless of the charges, all defendants are humanely treated and their civil rights observed. Civil attorneys, district attorneys and defense attorneys are all participants in this system. As Auerbach sums it up in The Politics of State Courts, “Law is our national religion; lawyers constitute our priesthood,” (61. ) With the above facts and elements in mind, we must examine what the courts do and exactly how the attorneys play a part in the judicial process.
The two main players are the prosecutor (the district attorney) and the defense (the public defender or defense attorney).
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A civil attorney can be both the prosecutor or the defender, depending on whether his or her client is the one being sued or the one doing the suing. At the beginning of the court hearing, the accused is presumed innocent until the court can find him guilty. Both prosecuting and defense attorneys make an opening unshorn statement. After that, the prosecutor must introduce evidence to prove the allegations in the complaint beyond a reasonable doubt. This is usually accomplished by introducing evidence through the testimony of witnesses, who swear an oath to tell the truth.
Then, the prosecutor asks questions of the witness in a direct examination. Once the prosecutor has finished, the defense attorney cross-examines the witness in an attempt to rebut previous answers that could damage the defendant’s chances of acquittal. When the prosecutor is finished questioning witnesses, the defense attorney attempts to refute earlier evidence that may be damaging to his or her client. This procedure, depending upon the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses called, could take days, weeks or even months to complete. At any time during this process, the accused client has the right to testify under oath in his or her behalf. If it’s a criminal case, the accused also has the right to refuse to be questioned under oath and cannot be coerced to testify against his or her own best interest.
In closing arguments the two attorneys again stress to the jury the evidence that is most favorable to their respective positions. Then the judge instructs the jury on the specific applicable law and the jury leaves the courtroom to deliberate, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, as long as it takes for the jury to reach a unanimous decision on the case. civil law is “private law”, which deals with disputes between individuals. Many of these “private” situations can lead to lawsuits and many of these situations involve torts, or wrongs. This is where one individual causes a loss or injury to another. To put it simply, the purpose of criminal prosecutions is to punish; the purpose of civil actions is to compensate the victim.
... courts. (Simmons, 2008) In civil actions, the plaintiff usually files the case with the court. The attorneys for both parties will present ... the tort (civil) law is governed by a negligence standard. The object of civil actions is to address the harmful actions committed against a ... In the early phases of the development of the laws, civil and criminal actions were dealt with in the same manner. Over ...
There are elements of punishment and deterrence in civil actions, but the main point of civil suits is to obtain compensation for a victim. We will first take a look at civil attorneys and civil law, as it has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Most people refer to civil attorneys as “those who sue and are sued,” which can be a very brief, but correct, definition of what a civil attorney can be hired for. More specifically, a civil attorney handles disputes between more than one individual, or civil actions.
Civil actions are a main component of civil law. A civil action is any legal action that is not a criminal action. Civil actions are between private individuals, unlike criminal actions which are between the state and the accused. Examples of civil actions can be claims for debt, claims for damages arising from a car accident, divorces, adoptions, foreclosures, and the administration of estates following a person’s death. The persons involved in a civil action are called the parties and thus, any attorney practicing law in the field pertaining to civil actions is a civil attorney. A civil attorney is an individual’s, their client’s, advocate who will conduct matters with their best interest in mind.
Some of the many duties of a civil attorney include drafting the pleadings, take steps to protect their clients position, advise the client of the time limits on the case and the ways to enforce the court order, present the client’s evidence at trial and draft the court’s order. Civil attorneys are not only for those who want to sue another individual or are being sued. Other suits or private practice areas that civil attorneys can follow are those of business or corporations, malpractice, personal injury, patents, international affairs, and family law. Criminal law, in contrast to civil law, has to do with crime. Criminal law is “public law”, law which regulates relationships between the individual and the state. A crime can be defined as a wrong against society proclaimed in a statute and punishable by fine and / or imprisonment, or in some cases, death.
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Many statutes provide for criminal as well as civil sanctions. Therefore, criminal law joins civil law as an important element in the legal system. The prerequisites for establishing fault or guilt in criminal cases differ from those in civil cases, as do the sanctions and penalties. The district attorney (DA) is the state prosecuting officer in a specified judicial district.
The DA or his or her assistant, a Deputy DA, brings the force of the state, with all its resources, to bear against the individual. He or she is a nonpartisan official, usually elected every four years to represent the people and the laws in a given state. The Deputy DA is hired, not elected, usually right out of law school or as a conversion from another area of law practice. The DA, or more frequently, their Deputy DA prosecutes all felony crimes and sometimes misdemeanor crimes, varying from county to county. These criminal cases are received by the DA’s office by state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies, it’s own Bureau of Investigation, and regular entities. The County of Los Angeles is home to the largest local prosecuting agency in the US.
The staff is composed of 1, 000 deputy District Attorneys, 300 investigators, or detectives, and 800 support personnel. Before bringing his or her case to court, the DA must perform an investigation of the suit. An investigation is the systematic collection and reporting of observations, statements and evidence related to an incident. The investigation of criminal conduct requires consideration of the elements of criminal offenses, such as details of any person’s knowledge of facts related to the incident, collection and preservation of any evidence, any possible defenses and accurate documentation of any knowledge obtained by the officer reporting on any phase of an investigation. Defense attorneys are appointed to protect the constitutional rights of individuals and to prevent the arbitrary use of power on the part of the government.
There are public defenders and criminal defense attorneys as well as private defense attorneys. The differences of the three include that the latter does not work for the state and has a choice on how many cases to accept at one time. Usually private defense attorneys have a better salary than government employed attorneys. In its criminal-defense function, the Office of the Public Defender not only provides legal counsel at the Superior Court level in each of a state’s different counties, but also handles appeals and other subsidiary legal proceedings. A public defender represents and advises clients who are unable to hire their own lawyer for whatever reason, usually lack of financial funds. The first centralized public defender’s office system of its kind in the United States originated in New Jersey.
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New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender has served for more than three decades as a model, and continues to be contacted today by states considering switching to a statewide system. The office of the public defender provides attorneys for indigent criminal defendants in both the adult and juvenile levels of the Superior Court in a given state. The primary goal of the office, as set forth by the Legislature, is to ensure that the constitutional guarantees of counsel in criminal cases are met. It provides for an established system by which no innocent person will be convicted because of an inability to afford an attorney and where the guilty will be convicted only after a fair trial. A secondary goal of the statewide system is to spare county and local property-taxpayers the expense of legal representation for indigent defendants. An example of a case that was conducted in both the criminal and civil court is one that I had personal experience with.
In September 2000, 37-year-old Robert Beck inger was prosecuted by DA Donnell Slivka in Sacramento County, CA, on charges of statutory rape. My best friend, a minor at the time, “Jane Doe,” had consensual sex with Robert, who was a friend of her father. Robert’s wife found out and called the police who handed the case over to the DA and her assistant, Detective Jason Gay, who took it from there. Robert hired a private defense attorney, Steve Cochran, cousin of the infamous Johnny Cochran, instead of being appointed one by the state. At the end of a 2-week trial period in which I had to testify against Robert, (as it was my mobile phone that was used as a go-between for “Jane” and Robert, which in the end, induced more time in jail to his sentence) Robert was sentenced to ten months in a correctional facility. After Robert’s ten-month jail sentence was served, “Jane’s” family hired a civil attorney and sued him on the charges that he morally disrupted “Jane” and caused severe stress and tension for the family.
... are often appointed on a pro bono basis for criminal defense. Private attorneys could be deputized for a single trial or for ... , Virginia, and Robert Hooker of Tucson, Arizona. The Committee serves to assist our communities and the legal system by shedding light ... Wainwright (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that because the assistance of counsel in a criminal case is a fundamental necessity ...
This took eighteen weeks to complete and the result was a $250, 000 award to “Jane” and a $100, 000 award to her family that Robert had to pay, for damages caused by the criminal actions he committed. The above example can be used to show how prevalent district attorneys, defense attorneys and civil attorneys are today. These players in judicial politics are there to serve, defend, advise, counsel and prosecute so that the American Judicial System may function for the people and the states of America.