Forms of Law and their implications

Dark blue: Common law jurisdictions. Light blu...

Dark blue: Common law jurisdictions. Light blue: Jurisdictions with mixed systems using elements of common law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pember and Calvert (2013) discuss “Common Law” and define it to be as old as America dating back to the Anglo-Saxon era and is adopted or fashioned after British Law, and became common law to distinguish it from ecclesiastical law found in the church. Hence, the law was used to settle matter of the people according to their customs. Common law is inductive which says that court decisions and rules are established by what has happened before. Also, in this particular setting are found a judge and jury.  (p.2, 3. Para. 1, 3).

Similarly, American courts today are supported by this same common law and its standard where “Precedents” from prior cases are used to establish credibility in certain court cases.  For example, the infamous “Roe v Wade” case is used in many cases where women might be denied rights concerning their bodies in abortion issues to establish a precedent. The role of establishing a precedent does not stop there it infiltrates many other venues of law and those who find themselves at the mercy of the court. Murder is a huge issue where bout establishing precedent would be used. (i.e. Mass Murder, Rape, etc.). For the journalist who would write a story concerning either of the crimes mentioned, the notion that there has been a previous case to draw from can help them refresh their public’s  memory of a particular high profile case. For a reporter, storytelling is key and in turn keeps the public morale up; also sells papers if people are being kept abreast of these occurrences.

In “Equity Law” litigants are awarded damages and can apply for restraining orders. At first glance of this law I am reminded of Judge Joe Brown where people sue for damages and have the burden of proof; however, I would rather go with a civil suit like domestic violence where there could be damages accrued, pay for those awarded, and/or a restraining order granted to the victim. Although, many domestic violence cases are handle by a District Attorney; monetary awards can be sought in a civil type setting.

Pember & Calvert (2013) states, “The rules, and procedures under equity are far more flexible than those under common law. Equity begins where common law leaves off. Equity suits are never tried before a jury, and ruling come in the form of judicial decrees, not in judgments of yes or no.” Hence, the judge decides the outcome and makes the ruling on these types of cases.

As stated before, in this particular case there might be some sort of altercation where a boyfriend damages property by hitting a woman’s car with a bat and shatters the windshield. Also, he could have punched her and she needed to be seen by a dentist or see a physician for a bruising which has resulted in medical and dental bills. In most of this type cases the judge sets the standard of protection in the restraining order. All this I see as Equity Law. I think that it is up to the journalist to make these type of stories subject specific because the of the prevalence of these type issue; especially among stars who are seen publicly. Notably, the journalists’ job should also be to seek out ways to inform the public of how the case is handled instead of making the occurrence seem glamorous; if a black eye can be seen glamorous.

 

Finally, “Constitutional Law” where again, “Roe v Wade” case is used in many cases where women might be denied rights concerning their bodies. These rights recognized as “Inalienable Rights” in which the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution says all men are entitled to the right of “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”. I argued this point in the gay marriage issue a while ago and was met with a barrage of insults and comments because of the biblical aspect; however, I continue to support gay rights or any other civil rights issue because for the government “belief in God” has nothing to do with “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” no matter how morally wrong it might seem to someone else.

The text gives a description of the law saying, “Constitutions tend to be short, and, at the federal level and in most states, infrequently, amended.” (Pembert and Calvert, 2013, p.11. Para.2)

 

I believe journalists sometimes have to become teachers through all these; generally, reporting fact and truth that makes sense.

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