Application: Criminal and Civil Court Systems

Topic: Application: Criminal and Civil Court Systems

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Differentiating criminal from civil courts is a surprisingly complicated exercise. The distinction has much to do with processes and legal protections. For example,
the difference between the two courts in terms of burdens of proof is readily apparent. However, differences in evidentiary principles, scope, and function of the jury
and its deliberative processes, influence of constitutional protections, and eventual remedies or content and structure of verdicts can be difficult to distinguish.
How these two legal forums carry out the functions of law and justice is evident when the same facts from the same case are adjudicated in the two distinct forums.

In this Application, you examine the O.J. Simpson case. O.J. Simpson was accused and tried for murder in both criminal and civil courts. The outcomes of those cases
were different, in part because of the differences between the two court systems. You compare the processes followed in the criminal and civil cases, and discuss how
those differences affected the outcomes of Mr. Simpson’s criminal and civil trials.

To prepare for this assignment:

Review the assigned pages in Chapter 8 of your Course Text, Law and Justice: An Introduction to the American Legal System, and pay attention to how criminal courts
work. Focus on the various processes”from initial hearings to jury deliberations, burdens, as well as the evidentiary and constitutional principles”which guide
criminal proceedings.
With this in mind, review the prosecution’s and defense counsel’s closing arguments in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, in the articles “Marsha Clark’s Closing
Arguments” and “Closing Argument of Johnnie Cochran (Excerpts).” Focus on how the prosecution and defense counsel zero in on the strengths of their own cases and the
weaknesses of the opposition. Keep in mind that the stress in a criminal case is on the sufficiency and integrity of the evidence necessary to meet the “beyond the
reasonable doubt” burden.
Review the assigned pages in Chapter 10 of your Course Text, Law and Justice: An Introduction to the American Legal System. Focus on the procedural and evidentiary
aspects of how civil courts work. Also, reflect on the similarities and differences between criminal and civil cases in terms of process, burden of proof, and
constitutional protection.
With what you read in Chapter 10 in mind, review the article “Civil Trial Jury Verdict Form.” Look for the various burdens of proof for a civil case, and consider how
they differ from the criminal burdens of proof.
Review the civil complaint filed by the Nicole Brown Family in the article “Brown Civil Suit.” Consider the ending plea: what is sought; the remedies listed. Then
reflect on how the civil process is different from the criminal process.
Based on the O.J. Simpson case, reflect on the similarities and differences between criminal and civil cases in terms of process, burden of proof, and constitutional
protection.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

Compare (similarities and differences) criminal and civil cases in terms of process, burden of proof, and constitutional protection.
Explain at least one insight you gained or conclusion you drew about criminal and civil courts.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those
resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.
Learning Resources

Please read and view (where applicable) the following Learning Resources before you complete this week”s assignments.

Readings

Course Text: Abadinsky, H. (2014). Law, courts and justice in america. (7thed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Chapter 8, “Criminal Justice” (pp.241–277)
Chapter 10, “Civil Justice” (pp. 319–342)
Article: Walraven.org. (1995). Brown civil suit. Retrieved from https://walraven.org/simpson/brn_suit.html
Article: Walraven.org. (1997). Civil trial jury verdict form. Retrieved from https://walraven.org/simpson/ver_form.html

Article: University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. (n.d.). Closing argument of Johnnie Cochran (Excerpts). Retrieved January 21, 2010, from
https://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Simpson/cochranclose.html

Article: University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. (n.d.). Marsha Clark’s closing arguments. Retrieved January 21, 2010, from
https://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Simpson/Clarkca.htm

Article: American TORT Reform Association (ATRA). (2007). Medical liability reform. Retrieved from https://www.atra.org/issues/medical-liability-reform