Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and the art of justice. State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals may create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation. The creation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.
The CSI effect is any of several ways in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences public perception. The term most often refers to the belief that jurors have come to demand more forensic evidence in criminal trials, thereby raising the effective standard of proof for prosecutors. While this belief is widely held among American legal professionals, some studies have suggested that crime shows are unlikely to cause such an effect, although frequent CSI viewers may place a lower value on circumstantial evidence. As technology improves and becomes more prevalent throughout society, people may also develop higher expectations for the capabilities of forensic technology.
There are several other manifestations of the CSI effect. Greater public awareness of forensic science has also increased the demand for forensic evidence in police investigations, inflating workloads for crime laboratories. The number and popularity of forensic science programs at the university level have greatly increased worldwide, though some new programs have been criticized for inadequately preparing their students for real forensic work. It is possible that forensic science shows teach criminals how to conceal evidence of their crimes, thereby making it more difficult for investigators to solve cases. (more...)
After attending college and law school, Minton served as a captain in World War I, following which he launched a legal and political career. In 1930, after multiple failed election attempts, and serving as a regional leader in the American Legion, he became a utility commissioner under the administration of Indiana GovernorPaul V. McNutt. Four years later Minton was elected to the United States Senate. During the campaign, he defended New Deal legislation in a series of addresses in which he suggested it was not necessary to uphold the United States Constitution during the Great Depression. Minton's campaign was denounced by his political opponents, and he received more widespread criticism for an address that became known as the "You Cannot Eat the Constitution" speech. As part of the New Deal Coalition, Minton championed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's unsuccessful court packing plans in the Senate and became one of his top Senate allies.
After Minton failed in his 1940 Senate reelection bid, Roosevelt appointed him as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. After Roosevelt's death, President Harry S. Truman, who had developed a close friendship with Minton during their time together in the Senate, nominated him to the Supreme Court. He was confirmed by the Senate on October 4, 1949, by a vote of 48 to 16, 15 Republicans and one Democrat (Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia) voting against him. He served on the Supreme Court for seven years. An advocate of judicial restraint, Minton was a regular supporter of the majority opinions during his early years on the Court; he became a regular dissenter after President Dwight Eisenhower's appointees altered the court's composition. In 1956, poor health forced Minton to retire, after which he traveled and lectured until his death in 1965. (Full article...) (more...)
The bill passed the Hawaii House of Representatives in February 2009 in a form specific to same-sex couples, was passed in amended form including opposite-sex couples by the Hawaii Senate in May 2009, and was carried over in the 2010 session, where it passed the Senate again in January 2010 with a veto-proof majority. The bill moved back to the House but was indefinitely postponed by a voice vote initiated by House Speaker Calvin Say, requiring a vote of two-thirds of Representatives to be taken up again in 2010, and was considered dead. In April 2010, on the last day of the legislative session, the House suspended the rules on the Senate bill and passed it with a majority, sending the bill to Governor Linda Lingle, who vetoed it in July 2010.
Hawaii did not allow same-sex marriages or civil unions, but two unmarried people can register for a reciprocal beneficiary relationship, which provides some of the rights and benefits that come with marriage. The bill was written to become law on January 1, 2010, would allow all couples to obtain rights equal to those of married couples, and make Hawaii the only state in the Western United States to allow civil unions instead of domestic partnerships. (Full article...) (more...)
Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunals in the course of deciding cases, in which the law was analyzed using these cases to resolve ambiguities for deciding current cases. These past decisions are called "case law", or precedent. Stare decisis—a Latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand"—is the principle by which judges are bound to such past decisions. These judicial interpretations are distinguished from statutory law, which are codes enacted by legislative bodies, and regulatory law, which are established by executive agencies based on statutes. In some jurisdictions, case law can be applied to ongoing adjudication; for example, criminal proceedings or family law.
For examples of noted cases, see Lists of case law. Following is one example of such a noted case:
R v Baillie, also known as the Greenwich Hospital Case, was a 1778 prosecution of Thomas Baillie for criminal libel. The case initiated the legal career of Thomas Erskine. Baillie, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Greenwich Hospital for Seamen, a facility for injured or pensioned off seamen, had noted irregularities and corruption in the hospital, which was formally run by the Earl of Sandwich. After his official reporting of the problems failed to bring about reform in the hospital, Baillie published a pamphlet that was critical of the hospital's officers, alleging that Sandwich had given appointments to pay off political debts; Sandwich ignored the pamphlet but ensured that Baillie was indicted for criminal libel. Baillie hired five barristers, including Erskine, then newly called to the Bar, and appeared before Lord Mansfield in the Court of King's Bench on 23 November 1778.
After four of the barristers had spoken, Mansfield announced that the court session would resume the next morning rather than continue into the night, which gave Erskine the time he needed to present a full speech rather than a brief comment. In it he accused Sandwich of cowardice and of orchestrating the attack on Baillie, arguing that Baillie was merely doing his duty by attempting to bring the problems with the hospital into the public eye, and was therefore not acting in bad faith. If the issues with the hospital were not acknowledged, Erskine claimed, the Royal Navy would be "crippled by abuses", with seamen no longer willing to risk their lives for a fleet that would fail to treat them well in their retirement. Erskine was successful in having Baillie found not guilty, and after leaving the court was met with a standing ovation; Emory Speer writes that "It is probably true that never did a single speech so completely ensure professional success". (Full article...) (more...)