Civiland Criminal Laws and the
Accordingto Haugen& Musser (2009), Americahas made significant advances in ensuring the equal treatment of itscitizens under the law ever since a case where a tired tailor calledRosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat. In 1964, the Congresspassed legislation on the Civil Rights Act, to promote equality inthe workplaces(Jacobs, 2013).In the next year, the Congress passed the Voting and the Immigrationand Nationality Acts that sought to eliminate racial discrimination.In 1991, the San Jose Mercury News reviewed many criminal cases fromCalifornia, conducted between the year 1980 and 1990 (Jacobs,2013).The study discovered a profound difference in the way the whites andblacks were treated in the legal system. For instance, six percent ofthe whites’ and only four percent of the blacks’ won “theinterest of justice dismissal.” In 1990, a white defendant with nocriminal history had a chance of 33% of reducing his charges toinfarction as compared to a black or Hispanic counterpart who had a25% chance.
Thecivil and criminal laws are two different categories of rules withdistinctive sets of procedures and punishments(Haugen & Musser, 2009).A civil suit occurs when individuals or corporations disagree onlegal matters for instance on the ownership of property or the termsof a contract. A civil case may be filed when one damages property orinjures an individual. After a trial of the civil suits, if the juryconcludes that the defendant is innocent, the case is dismissed, butwhen the defendant is guilty, the judge must consider authorizing forthe remedy proposed in the pleadings or other methods to compensatethe plaintiff. The judge may approve for monetary remedies,declarations or injunctive remedies.
Acriminal case is an offense against the whole society(Van & Bartollas, 2011).The state files a criminal prosecution. Criminal cases are classifiedinto summary convictions, which include minor cases such asdisturbances, and indictable cases, which include the seriousoffenses such as theft and murder. In criminal cases, the accused isinnocent until proven guilty. If the prosecutor fails to demonstratethat the defendant is guilty, the judge acquits the suspect and setshim free, but if found guilty, a proper sentence is considered basedon the seriousness of the offense committed. The accused has theright to make an appeal to try to reprove their innocence (Jacobs,2013).Criminal law maintains order in the society through the punishment ofoffenders and hence discouraging other offenders.
AJudge decides whether the defendant is liable or not in civil law.The claimant must produce proof beyond probabilities, but it is up tothe accused to counter this evidence. The opinion of the jury may nothave to be unanimous. Either party can make an appeal on the ruling.In the criminal law, the tabled evidence must be concrete. It is upto the prosecution to prove the guilt of the defendant. The judgesmust agree unanimously before passing the verdict. Only the defendantmay appeal the court ruling in criminal law.
Thecriminal justice process can be confusing and intimidating tonon-regular participants in the justice systems. The people need toknow what to expect and where to seek for support. The citizens needto be aware of their rights and the choices they may have to make.For instance, harassment or stalking by the offender during thecriminal trial process should be reported to the police who informthe prosecutor. When the verdict is passed and the offender jailed,there should be notifications of their release or escape(Van & Bartollas, 2011).The justice systems are not fair to the minorities. Racial andethnicity is an important aspect to consider whenever one wishes toachieve an efficient and vigorous criminal justice system. Both thecivil and the criminal cases are important to the American justicesystem as they provide many valuable decision mechanisms and manyways to solve complex cases(Haugen & Musser, 2009).
Haugen,D. & Musser, S. (2009). Criminaljustice.Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Jacobs,J. (2013). The Liberal Polity, Criminal Sanction, and CivilSociety. CriminalJustice Ethics,32(3),231-246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0731129x.2013.860730
VanWormer, K. & Bartollas, C. (2011). Womenand the criminal justice system.Boston, Mass.: Prentice Hall.