Introduction to the American Legal System

Introduction to the American Legal System

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Appropriate for courses in Paralegal, Legal Studies, Criminal Justice, Poltical Science, and Pre-Law, any course that requires a brief introduction to the legal system. Affordable, concise, and newly designed, the Eighth Edition of Introduction the American Legal System describes the structure of the American legal system, the criminal justice system, and the federal courts in a straightforward and accessible style. Known for its clear explanations of basic legal concepts, this text provides concrete examples in the substantive areas of torts, contracts, real property, wills and intestate succession and legislation. It offers an overview of the judicial process from beginning to end and includes an extensive glossary of terms. In addition to its competitive price, this edition features new photographs and illustrations, timely sections on international and military law, information on federal tribunals with exclusive jurisdiction, and important Internet links throughout.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 193 x 246.4 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • Pearson
  • Upper Saddle River, NJ, United States
  • English
  • 8th edition
  • 0131199218
  • 9780131199217
  • 2,150,718

Table of contents

1. General Introduction to the Legal System.

Basic Legal Concepts and Terminology.

1. Sources of American Law.

2. Substance v. Equity.

3. Substance v. Procedure.

4. Civil v. Criminal.

The Court.

1. The Judiciary and the Separa tion of Powers.

2. The Judiciary and Federalism.

3. Courts as Protectors of the Individual and the Oppressed.

4. Role of the Courts in Making Law.

5. The Judge.

2.The Criminal Justice System.


Rights of the Accused.

4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments.

The Lawyers.

1. Prosecution.

2. Defense.

Pretrial Process.

1. Investigation.

2. Arrest.

3. Charging.

4. First appearance.

5. Bail.

6. Arraignment.

7. Plea Bargaining.

8. Pretrial Motions.


1. Jury Selection.

2. Staging the Trial.

3. Presenting the Case.

4. Closing Arguments.

5. Jury Deliberations.


3. Substantive Civil Law.


1. Intentional Torts.

2. Negligence Torts.

3. Torts Involving Landowners.

4. The Negligent Victim.

5. Strict-Liability Torts.

6. Nuisance.

7. Other Torts.

8. Damages and Remedies for Torts.


1. Types of Contracts.

2. Elements of a Contract.

3. Equitable Contracts.

4. Intention of the Parties.

5. Unenforceable Terms and Contracts.

6. Discharge of a Contract.

7. Contractual Damages.

8. Contracts Governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.

9. Other Sources of Contract Law.

Real Property.

1. Freehold Estates.

2. Leasehold Estates.

3. Nonestate Interests in Land.

4. Co-Ownership.

5. Liens.

6. Deeds.

7. Restrictions on Ownership.

8. Equitable Ownership.

9. Landlord-Tenant Law.

10.Personal Property.

Wills and Intestate Succession.

1. Intestate Succession.

2. Distribution by Will.

3. Administrative Procedure.

4. Administrative Regulation.


1. Constitutional Law.

2. Statutory Law.

3. Administrative Regulation.

4. Administrative Procedure.

Alternative Dispute Resolution.

4. Legal Ethics.

Nonlawyers and the Practice of Law.

The Ethical Practice of Law.

5. Legal Research.

Sources of the Law.

Legal Materials.

1. Judicial Decisions.

2. Legislation.

3. Regulation and Administrative Decisions.

4. Secondary Sources.

5. Research Aids.

Techniques of Legal Research.

6. Federal Courts.


1. Federal Court Jurisdiction.

2. Types of Federal Jurisdiction.

3. Civil Removal to Federal Court.

4. Criminal Jurisdiction.

Judicial Restraint.

1. Justiciable Controversy.

2. Standing.

3. Advisory Opinions.

4. Political Questions.

5. Hypothetical Questions.

6. Mootness.

Structure of the Federal Courts.

1. Federal District Courts.

2. United States Courts of Appeals.

3. United States Supreme Court.


1. The Complaint.

2. The Defendant's Response to the Complaint.

3. Counterclaims.

4. Discovery.

5. Motion Practice - Termina tion of the Litigation without Trial.

6. The Trial.

7. Motion for Judgment Notwith standing the Verdict.

8. Motion for a New Trial.

9. Judgment.

Personnel of the Federal Courts.

1. The Federal Judge.

2. The United States District Judge and the Judge's Staff.

3. The United States District Clerk.

4. The United States Magistrate Judges.

5. The United States Probation Office.

6. The United States Marshal.

7. The United States Attorney.

7. Conclusion.


Appendix A:Constitution of the United States.

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