October 12, 2014
Court History and Purpose Paper
The judicial arm of the government is an important function of said institution. Without which there would be no avenue to address disputes between parties and bring justice to criminals. Early legal code, common law and precedent serve as today's court system foundation.
Courts make up the Judicial Branch of the Government. The textbook, Courts and Criminal Justice in America notes that it is hard to come up with a summarizing definition of a court. However, the U.S. Justice Department defines a court as " an agency or unit of the judicial branch of government, authorized or established by statute or constitution, and consisting of one or more judicial officers, which has the authority to decide upon cases, controversies in law, and disputed matters of fact brought before it ( Siegel, Schmalleger, & Worrall, 2011). " The court system's role in society is to decide what punishment should be assigned to individual crimes. Although, some crimes have mandatory minimum sentences which are passed by the legislature, judicial officers, or judges take great care in determining what the proper sentence is when dealing with the case in front of them. In United States' society there are many different types of courts with varying purposes. For example, individual counties within the several states have their own traffic court. This court determines the penalties for traffic injunctions such as speeding. Another type of court is a small claims court; the purpose of this agency is to adjudicate small matters of dispute between two individuals or groups.
Dual Court System
The dual court system in the United States of America is a crucial part of American society. The U.S. dual court system is one in which there is a separation between the federal and state courts. This type of system serves the country well because it reinforces federalism, which is the type of government that the founding fathers, through the constitution created. True federalism exists when power is divided between the federal government and the states and the dual court system supports that. If there were only federal courts than the states, in effect would really have little or no real power because it could easily be taken away. Conversely, if there wasn't a federal courts system, the states wouldn't have a way to settle disputes among one another. Also, citizens and states wouldn't have a proper outlet to address harms that the federal government may commit. As noted this type of court system is desirable, however, it can make things complicated. This is because there are an increasingly amount of laws, both state and federal and many crimes break both state and federal laws. This can make it difficult in determining where the offenders should be tried or whether they should be tried in two separate courts.
Role That Early Legal Codes, Common Law and Precedent Played in Court Development
Early legal codes and common law help build the core of the American justice system. The earliest known example of a legal code is the Code of Hammurabi, which was written in 1760 B.C. This code states that if " any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or as sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death (