Civil AND Criminal Law Essay Samples
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One area of civil law that has come under constant scrutiny is health care reform, namely medical malpractice suits. Over the last several decades doctor’s organizations, insurance companies and many citizens have criticized medical malpractice regulations as being costly, inefficient and not practical. Many say medical malpractice law suits are the culprit for insurance rates being so high due to policies to protect against legal action that must be paid for by doctors. This in turn pushes up the cost of medical treatment and results in what is called “defensive medicine, where the consumer or patient absorbs these costs. There are a large number of states that have introduced caps on the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive, but another alternative would be to shorten the statute of limitations. If people had to commence their action in a swifter period of time, it would aid in decreasing the amount of suits and their nature.
Another area of civil law that needs reform is civil forfeiture. Under existing state and federal regulations, police departments can cease a citizen’s assets without them actually being charged with a crime then sell the property without consulting the person. Originally implemented to aid in important investigations, there are many instances where that privilege is now abused. The law should be altered to limit the seizure of property to only circumstances or if it is connected to the crime or suspected criminal act. In addition, the legal regulations should be altered to allow for people to have their property returned to them in a timely fashion if they are
not charged with or convicted a crime. Under these circumstances, it is often very difficult to retrieve property once it falls into the police department’s hands.
Another area of civil law that must be reformed is gun control. In this nation, there is the right to bear arms and there should be, but there should also be more stringent regulations in regards to who can obtain a gun. Granted a gun dealer cannot control a person’s behavior with a weapon or the type of access others will have to it, but is there really a need for the populace to have so many unregistered guns available. There should be more stringent legislation when it comes to how people receive guns. There should also be regulations on a type of training program every time someone purchases a gun so they are aware of the responsibility they have by owning one.
An area of civil law that should be retained is institutions for freedom of speech. Even if an individual’s decisions or opinions do not concur with the mainstream way of thought or can be derogatory, they have the right to speak their mind. Whether other people have to listen, however, is their choice. Freedom of speech is one of the founding principles of any democracy and should always be protected.
Wrongful death suits are another area of civil law reform that should not be changed. In many cases, people have case against and should recover damages. In all honesty, there is no compensation for losing a loved one and this is a solution for them to receive closure in some fashion. Also, the right to satisfy a debt does not lie solely in paying bills. Even if the monetary funds do not relieve the loss, it is at least a gesture and a course of action people should be allowed to follow.
Another area of civil law that should remain intact is freedom of the press. In the new world with the increase in globalization, news outlets have vastly altered and rely on the production of social media. Just like with freedom of speech, freedom of the press is definitely one of the tenets of democracy, reporters must be allowed access and space to tell their stories. Unless they are deliberately maligning an issue, person or company that constitutes a criminal act, media should be allowed the freedom to publish what they think is important.
An area of criminal law that must be reformed is sentencing for drug violations. It makes absolutely no sense the United States has more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world and most of those inmates are in jail because of a drug issue. Addiction is certainly a problem and often plays a role in why a crime was committed, but someone that is in jail for selling pounds of marijuana should not be sentenced to 10 years. The sentencing structure must be changed in order to reduce the burden on the taxpayers to pay for their room and board. Violent crimes should be fully prosecuted and punished, but the amount of people incarcerated for minor drug offenses must be reduced.
Another criminal law reform should address the use of force in the case of police officers. A very contentious issue in our nation today revolves around the deaths of individuals such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. There have also been multiple incidents over the course of the last year of other occasions where police have not been found to violate laws while shooting a black suspect. Racial profiling and prejudice do play a role in this, as bias is ingrained in society, but the police forces should be responsible for that action. Life is a precious thing and the rule only in cases of fear for their lives should they resort to drawing and emptying their weapon. This policy should be enforced much more than it currently is.
A third area of criminal law that should be changed is the drug testing of people that receive public assistance. The courts have already ruled it was unconstitutional to test individuals for drugs without a strong feeling the results will be positive. Politicians need to understand this is singling people out when they should be afforded privacy. That is one of the basic principles of freedom. Just because public assistance implies a negative connotation, there are many people that need the help. Testing should be strictly regulated on a situation that requires it and should not be mandatory.
The Miranda Acts are one of the most essential regulations in criminal justice. By following those standards, it induces a fair introduction of criminal procedure. In many cases, people may not be aware of what rights they possess and in certain circumstances, the police are not always in the right when arresting an individual. Miranda protects citizens by allowing them to know what they can do and also even if they have committed a crime, how to address it. They are a cornerstone of the legal system.
Another area of criminal law that is appropriate is the ability to be tried as a juvenile. In many cases, these individuals can be reformed or rehabilitated. Also, many juveniles are not mature enough to understand the complications or ramifications of what they are truly doing. It’s important to have criminal law maintain that distinction. In fact, the juvenile standards should be closely examined as it could save people from becoming a repeat performer. Justice must be served but not meted out in a fashion that will return a young person to a life of crime.
There is much debate over search and seizure laws. It is certainly appropriate for any police force to have the freedom to enter someone’s home when they think there is a crime
committed. It is their job to protect the community from harm and when there is a reason for them to enter, they should be allowed to do so. Naturally, there should be limitations to protect a person’s privacy, but that certainly is a very important element in solving crimes.
The excessive use of force by police is definitely an issue that will be examined over the coming year. With all the press, publicity and outrage over Ferguson, New York City and the young men that died, it is bound to be addressed. People want answers as to why police are not punished for using deadly force when the victim seems defenseless and it could be based on race. It simply brings up two issues, namely the rights and privileges of the police force in solving crimes and also racism.
That will be another legal trend that continues for the upcoming year. Is racism ingrained in our legal system, as it seems to be in our society? Even though slavery ended more than 150 years ago, it seems America has never eradicated the vestiges of prejudice when it comes to the color of someone’s skin. The issue of color is not going to recede into the background but become more of a condition to terminate. The questions remains if that is really possible.
Cybercrime is also another area of law that will have increased attention devoted to it in the coming months. With globalization and the rise of the Internet, there is no known precedent to act appropriately in this area of law. Most definitely numerous crimes are committed online from identification theft to defamation. Not only are many of these crimes not elucidated, but there is no case law to support punishments. That is an extreme problem the entire world must examine. It is very difficult to implement regulations and then track down criminals. Especially online with all shields people can place to hide their true identity, but this is an area of the law
that must be established and soon to face the growing demands created by the global environment.
Another legal issue that will gain a significant amount of attention is gay marriage and if the laws should be altered accordingly. With the Supreme Court on the cusp of making a landmark decision, this area of law will be scrutinized accordingly. Although this area of law is tied into traditional notions and morality of a husband and wife, times have changed and the rights of homosexual couples should be acknowledged. This will entirely change the views of marriage, as well as parenthood. It will not only be a serious shift in direction in cultural integration, but will be a tremendous legal change as well.
No government is perfect. There are always flaws and benefits to any system. For instance, there is a large amount of discourse over whether a common law or civil law system is preferable, which is why many nations incorporate institutions of both. However, there are specific aspects that can always be improved upon. Civil law and criminal law are very different but both seek to remedy wrongs that have been performed. They just go about these processes in different ways. Civil law seeks to remedy a person’s injury or the harm done to them, while criminal law punishes a person that does not abide by the rules or commits a transgression against another party. In any legal system, it normally takes a fairly long period of time for any change to occur, but with the rapid pace the planet is developing, both fields of law will be examined in the coming year. This is to determine how best to proceed in societies that are swiftly evolving. The law must keep pace to guarantee peoples’ rights, protections, etc. are in line with the times and also adapt for how the world has transitioned. It may appear to be an old,
outdated system, but legal alterations and history are very important as to how people live their everyday lives.
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