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US Court of Appeals - 11 circuits plus DC
If you lose at District court, you may appeal to the circuit court to decide the legal issue, not the facts of the case
US Supreme Court - top dawgs; writ of certiorari to even dance
State Courts - many flavors, like Baskin Robbins What is the role of the Courts in the US? stare decisis: "stand by things decided" The American legal System "America is a nation of laws, lawyers, and lawsuits"
p. 1 What type of law we talkin about here? The big kahuna - The Constitution Criminal law vs Civil Law Criminal law - the act is a crime against society (murder, robbery, rape, etc.); "the state" prosecutes the accused - guilty beyond a reasonable doubt Torts and Damages civil action not for contract breach is a tort action; tort actions cover injuries: negligence, product liability, libel - the wrong actor is a tortfeasor/defendant
plaintiff must show negligence or malice and "damages:" general, special or punitive
general: compensation for losses (includes pain)
special: plaintiff must prove actual losses (Dr. bills); also called compensatory or actual damages
punitive: plaintiff must prove malice by the defendant How US Courts work (or don't work) Media Law Think about the various forms of media in the US right now; constant litigation - money goes to the winners, yes, but also the attorneys involved While legal issues regarding law are always present, before we can talk about them, we should look at how the courts actually work many laws have been passed regulating media conduct; the involvement of the courts in law comes down to interpretation HOWEVER - HOLD THE PHONE!
not all court cases establish president Media lives and dies on the 1st Amendment; no law may be enacted or enforced if it conflicts with The Constitution Common Law - based on court decisions; right of privacy, libel, slander - domain of the states Statutory law - Congressional acts, state, county, city laws; US Code, for example - Title 17 deals with copyright Administrative law - FCC, FTC Equity Actions - injunctions; MS still has a circuit and chancery court systems; based on fairness Civil law - one party sues another; contract actions, personal injury (that do not arise to criminal cases), libel and slander
BUT - you may have a criminal action (DUI) and a civil action (property damage, personal injury) on the same event keeping track of damages is important; one damage might be available, but not another . . . The Story of NYT v Sullivan the complaint: clerk @ trial court assigns a number; titled the case Sullivan v. New York Times; NYTimes answered
pretrial motions: demurrer; summary judgment
discovery: subpoenas; depositions; interrogatories
trial: jury selection; plaintiff lays out case, defendant responds; verdict: $500K for Sullivan; NYT motions for new trial, appealed to AL Supreme Court - New York Times v. Sullivan
state appeal: written briefs arguing application of law, not facts; oral arguments; justices vote: majority opinion, dissent or concurring
SCOTUS: written and oral briefs; NYT won, AL court ordered to reconsider the case under SCOTUS instructions; Sullivan could not win; case terminated Finding the Law you need Legal research: county courthouses, law school libraries, Westlaw/Lexis-Nexis, other sites
Court decisions: citing law decisions: New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (volume, series, page)
Legal Encyclopedias: Am. Jur.; CJS - broad legal subject discussions
Annotated Codes: state and federal laws; Copyright Act - 17 U.S.C. 100: title 17, US Code, Section 100
Administration regulations: CFR- FCC/FTC