Cjs 220 Law

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Date Submitted: 09/19/2012 08:46 PM

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Law Opinion Paper |

CJS220 8-20-2012 Julie Hershenberg |

Chris Cue |

As a democracy, the United States is governed by laws enacted by public officials. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government work together as a system of checks and balances. A single branch of government is not free to act on its own accord; oversight from the other two branches is required. The legislative branch, at both state and federal levels is responsible for enacting laws. The executive branch controls law enforcement agency practices. Upon enactment, the executive branch is responsible for enforcing laws. The judicial branch acts as a median between the legislative and executive branches. This branch is responsible for applying and determining the validity of laws in comparison to the principles established in the United States Constitution. The U.S. constitution created congress and gives the governing body lawmaking power, usually by providing for the formation of legislative bodies empowered to help create, criminal and other laws. The bill of rights of the U.S. constitution as well as similar amendments to state constitutions, also describe procedural laws that dictate how substantive laws are to be administered. Constitutions are important to the substantive criminal law they set limits on what can be defined as a crime (Jon'a F. Meyer, 2003). The common law heritage of the American legal system is rooted in medieval English legal practices. Judges decided both civil and criminal cases individually, and according to their interpretations of existing customs. Because of this, historical common laws may be referred to as “judge made” laws. The current American legal system developed greatly upon two concepts that are rooted in medieval English common law. These two concepts are precedent and codification. Many American criminal and civil court cases are decided according to precedent or state decision. Judges often apply rules of law from...