Summaries Chapter Seven, Eight and Nine – Law, Justice, and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction
Chapter Seven Summary: Civil and Administrative Law
In this chapter, we are introduced to civil law as well as administrative law. Civil law is defined as private law that governs the transactions that take place between non-government entities that include the likes of corporations and private individuals. Also, according to the chapter, both civil and criminal law are public law; however, Civil law is different from criminal law in ways that can be broadly categorized into who is the legal victim? Who initiates the lawsuit? The issue before the court, the various standards of proof, which the burden of providing proof falls on, what is the sought-out remedy, the defendants’ rights and who has the right to appeal in adverse circumstances. Civil law aims at resolving the disagreements that occur among citizens and the institutions in various areas such as property, contracts and personal injury. Therefore, civil law is designed to ensure that all citizens respect the rights of other individuals, even if it means sacrificing some of their interests to create an environment that is conducive for everyone. There are five subdivisions of civil law, namely; torts, property, contracts, family and juvenile law.
Tort law is the part of civil war that handles the harm that is caused to the plaintiff by the action or the inaction of the defendant that do not include breaches of contract. Several forms of harm are covered under the tort law, including invasion of property, inflicting injury to someone, medical or legal malpractice, product liability and the act of trespassing. Tort law differs from criminal law in that unlike criminal law tort law seeks not to punish the crime doer, but to ensure that the aggrieved gains some financial compensation. There are three categories under tort law, including intentional acts where the defendant willingly causes harm to another person’s self or their property.
Negligent acts whereby the defendant had a duty to act in a certain way in which he did not do, and hence, the plaintiff was injured and finally acted for which strict liability exists. Strict liability involves cases whereby the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant acted either intentionally or negligently. The liability comes into play when it can be proven that the defendant caused injury to the plaintiff. There are defenses to liability which a defendant can use to challenge the case including contributory negligence, comparative negligence, consent and immunity.
Another category of civil law is family law that is designed to protect the integrity that exists in marriage. The law focusses on the intricacies that are involved when parties are entering into or dissolving a marriage. There are no national laws on family law, only state laws that vary. For a marriage to be considered valid thereby, they have to have a license from the state, have vows made in front of someone who is legally eligible to acknowledge marriage and the vows must be witnessed. The law also governs who may marry whom? Persons who have reached the legal limit of eighteen can marry in all the states. However, persons with mental deficiencies, closely related persons and persons who are below the legal age of marriage. Other categories of civil law are Property law and contract law. Property law involves laws that govern the rights of ownership of personal, real and intellectual ideas. The laws also handle how these properties can be used. On the other hand, contract law handles the laws on how business can be conducted.
Finally, there is administrative law which is the branch of law that involves the governmental administrative agencies whose activities range from the making of, enforcement and the adjudication of particular regulatory agendas. The agendas usually have a massive impact on everyone. The chapter also touches on the origins and the growth of administrative agencies and their legislative function.
Chapter Eight Summary- Juvenile Justice
The chapter addresses the justice system of the United States on the treatment of children, adolescents and young adults. The individuals need to be protected from themselves as they are not aware of the long-term effect that they behaviors may have on their future. Thus, juvenile justice is placed under civil law and not criminal law. Status offenders are the situation where the law punishes the children from engaging in activities that are illegal to them but legal to the adults. For Example, drinking, smoking, refusing to go to school, having unprotected sex. Nonetheless, juvenile delinquents are children who have committed criminal acts that are illegal even for adults, For Example, murder, stealing.
The law must determine the extent of delinquency when dealing with the youths. Statistics estimate that juvenile offenders are about 2.5 times the total violent offenders in the country and about 4.5 times the property offenders. However, the youths under eighteen-year-old are only 6% of the population. Therefore, youths are lost at this time in their lives; they aim to detach themselves from their parents and find their place in this complex world. The court makes a ruling based on this assumption and with the determination of the extent of delinquency.
The court should be able to understand the developmental factors of juvenile such as the environment around and the influence that the environment has on them. Also, the synchrony between the immature nervous system and the overly mature physical body of the juvenile may have led to such criminal activities. The juvenile may also have varying feelings of pleasure from the normal adults hence resulting in the use of other simulations to achieve the same desire. Puberty has everything to do with the level of crime committed by the juvenile. Hence, essential to understanding the different levels of synchronization and factors surrounding the juvenile, leading to such violations.
According to research, the majority of adolescent offenders are known to reform when they become adults. Only a small percentage of the adults continue to offend wit time; hence, thus the life-course-persistent (LCP) offenders. The offenders exhibit a low IQ and possess negative emotions. On the other hand, adolescent limited offenders are stimulated to commit a crime due to the surrounding factors. They may have a high IQ and are regarded as normal adolescents who may have been caught up with the pressure of adjusting in a complex world.
In the history of the United States, there is a record of children being jailed, executed and even life imprisoned for minor offences. Children as young as six years old being imprisoned in the same jails as the adults are wrong; thus, the juvenile offences were classified under civil law. The standard year of jail term is eight years, but it varies in the different states from six in North Carolina to ten in Arkansas and Colorado. Previously, children were punished by the family, especially the fathers. Nonetheless, in some families, children are let loose, which has led to an increase in the crime rate as the children grew up. There was a need for standard treatment of all children who are considered as persons under supervision, the children under eighteen years.
According to the church, the spiritual scripture stipulated that children under seven years old are not to be held accountable for their acts as they had not reached the age of transgression. The government saw the need to establish a standard measure of violations by the children as some parents placed their kids under the law for small violations such as idle and disorderly behavior. Also, abuse of children for personal gain was evident when the children were placed in homes, and the homeowners were the determinants of the reform in the children or not. Thus, using the children in carrying out other duties and activities away from their parents. With the rise of the child savers came the need for juvenile facilities as the criminal courts were not sufficient for children.
Chapter Nine: The Law and Social Control
The chapter explains how society is controlled through the law. Social control is defined as actions that are either deliberate or unconscious that have the sole aim of instilling conformity to persons, whether or not they are aware of the process happening. The law is the tool used to maintain social control through a system of rules and regulations. The law reduced cases of unpredictable unconformity by encouraging behavior that is predictable and peaceful. Social control can be classified along two dimensions that include direct versus indirect and formal versus informal. Direct control is coercive, while, on the other hand, indirect control is both persuasive and voluntary.
Deterrence and punishment are some aspects of the law being used in social control. Deterrence is the means of using punishment to create a precedence that deters other persons who may have the same inclinations towers the crime. Deterrence can be classified as specific deterrence where an individual is punished for a crime. Therefore, the punishment is the deterrence for the person not to do the crime in the future. General deterrence occurs when a punishment is handed out as a preventive effect on those who have witnessed the punishment but have not themselves experience it. Other forms of punishment philosophies are retribution whereby the aspect of “an eye for an eye” is applied, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
Black Styles of social control are social control methods that were identified by Donald Black. He uncovered four styles, which are the penal, therapeutic, compensator, and conciliatory. The compensatory method involves the situation whereby there is a breach of an obligation between an accused debtor and their victim. The conciliatory style involves the type of breach that exists between people who are in a harmonious relationship. In this case, the resolution lies not in who is right or wrong but instead in fair and reasonable resolution for the problem. In penal style, one person has usually violated the penal code aspect and thus deserves punishment. The therapeutic style where the individual commits the crime is considered ill and therefore requires treatment instead of punishment. Punishment is handed in penal style because the individual is considered to have willingly done the crime while in therapeutic style, the person is not punished; rather, they are treated.
Several issues are in the social control system, which can be considered controversial, such as plea bargaining and the death penalty. Plea bargaining involves the process whereby the defendant pleads guilty to gain a lighter sentence. The death penalty is the ultimate form of punishment, where the guilty party loses their lives for their crimes. Plea bargains are controversial because the judges and prosecutors usually hold grudges against defenders who refuse the plea bargain. The death penalty has the other side of the controversy because it is the highest magnitude punishment. Therefore, some parties want it abolished, and another party that wants the death penalty is maintained. Also, minorities are the ones who suffer most in the s plea agreement and the death penalty, thus alluding to the fact that the justice system is racist.
Also, the chapter touches on the law and social control of political dissent. The rights to free speech and to assemble are contained in the Bill of rights. Wall governments wish to stay in power, and to do so, they would require various forms of social control. More totalitarian governments restrict political dissent than more democratic countries such as the U.S. Finally, the use of physiatrist social control whereby the society is controlled by being deemed mad, thus in need of assistance. The assumption based on this social control methods is that an n insane person cannot make a very rational decision,