Economics and You

Direct Expenditures

The moneys paid out by individuals, businesses, ┬┐nd governments Lo cover their expenses ere known as direct expenditures. The diroct dollars spent on civil end criminal justice by federal, sLate, end locel governrrienls total more than S135 billion per year. Expenses include the salaries of people who work within the justice system. Find out about public law-related jobs by contacting your local justice office or courL.

Trial

IF the parties do not setde, the case goes to trial. There may be a jury of 6 to 12 members, or more likely, a judge will hear the case alone. The plaintiff presents its side first, followed by the defendant. Both sides then summarize their cases.

In criminal trials the prosecution must prove the defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," Civil cases have a lesser standard. The plaintiff in a civil case has to present only a "preponderance of evidence1" enough to persuade the judge or jury that the defendant, more likely than not, was responsible for the incident that caused the damages.

After all the evidence has been presented and the arguments made, the judge or jury will consider the case and then decide on a verdict, or decision, in favor of one of the parties. If the plaintiff wins, a remedy is set. In this case, the remedy might be for your neighbor to pay your medical costs, rcplace your lost earnings, and compensate you for your pain and suffering with a cash payment. If the defendant wins, the plaintiff gets nothing and must pay court costs.

Appeal

If the losing side believes that the judge made errors during the trial or some other type of injustice took place, it may appeal the verdict to a higher court. In cases in which the plaintiff wins a large cash award, the defendant or the defendant's insurance company will very often appeal co have the award reduced. As a result, a winning plaintiff may have to wait years before seeing any of the money the court awarded, and may even end up with nothing.

tfQZQOHHl Summarizing Why are most civil cases settled before they go to trial?

SECTION ASSESSMENT

Checking for Understanding

1. Key Terms Use the following Lerms in compleLe senlences:

plaintiff, defendant, injunction, complaint, summons.

Reviewing Main Ideas

2. Compare How do suits of equity differ from other civil lawsuits?

3. Identify What do the pleadings include? What is Lhe purpose of the discovery phase of e civil trial? Describe what happens during this process.

Critical Thinking

4. Drawing Conclusions In your opinion, should mediation and arbitration be used to settle most civil suits to prevent overloading the court sysLem?

5. Sequencing Information Use a graphic organizer similar to the one he low to summarize the steps involved in mediation.

in Mprlinliori

DOTH

Analyzing visuals

6. Identify Review the procedures of civil courts on page 366. In civil court proceedings, whet ere the two main functions of the court?

it BE AN ACTIVE ClTIZENit

7. Interview Talk with a friend or relative who has been involved in a civil lawsuiL. What was Lhe nature of the case? How was the suit resolved?

SECTION

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