We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

The American Legal System

Foundations, Processes, and Norms

Albert P. Melone and Allan Karnes

Publication Date - April 2003

ISBN: 9780195330168

790 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $244.99

Anchored in social science concepts, this text demonstrates the relationships between private law and public law issues, the business legal environment, as well as related subjects of interest.


This text is designed to introduce students to both private and public law and to the nature of the judicial system. Anchored in social science concepts, The American Legal System demonstrates the relationships between private law and public law issues, the business legal environment, as well as related subjects of interest.

Part I introduces students to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the legal system, the jurisdiction and authority of courts, the organization of courts in the United States, judicial interpretation and decision-making, and the U.S. constitutional system. Part II centers on legal processes--the world of civil and criminal procedure, explained in ordinary language. Subjects include civil suits for money damages; criminal, equity, and administrative processes; and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution. Along the way, students gain a working knowledge of process and procedural rights. Part III provides chapters on the substantive legal topics of criminal law, torts, property, and family law. Part IV treats the law governing the world of business: contracts, business regulation by government, and taxation. All of these substantive law chapters include a section tracing modern substantive law to its common law roots. We also include sections on evolving legal issues including product liability, tort reform, copyright infringement, victimless crimes, youthful offenders, artificial conception of human life, and same-sex marriages.

Every chapter features edited court opinions illustrating many lively and interesting controversies that will capture the interest of students regardless of their academic major. At the beginning of each chapter, students will find chapter objectives designed to guide their reading. A glossary of selected legal and Latin terms will also prove useful to the reader, as will the end-of-chapter discussion questions, lists of key names, terms, and concepts, and listings of selected books and articles for further reading. A table of cases as well as name and subject indices provides even greater detail, so that readers may also use the book as a reference. A comprehensive Instructor's Manual/Testing Program (which includes complete lecture outlines, suggested answers to the discussion questions at the end of each chapter, briefs of court opinions, and suggested films for classroom use) is available, either in book or electronic form. A Student Study Guide, written by Bradley Best (Buena Vista University), is also available.


"The textbook's approach is solid. While the coverage is comprehensive, it is not presented in an overly complex or complicated fashion. The discussion of theoretical concepts and issues is very good--it is clear without being overly long or too short."--Craig Hemmens, Boise State University

Table of Contents

    Part I: The Legal System in Perspective
    Chapter 1: Law in Perspective
    Origins of Law
    Schools of Jurisprudence
    Natural Law
    Historical School
    Analytical Jurisprudence
    Sociological Jurisprudence
    Legal Realism
    Critical Legal Studies
    Branches of Law
    Functions of Law
    Defining Relationships
    Allocation of Authority in Society
    Resolution of Conflict When It Arises
    Redefine Relations of Individuals and Groups in Society
    The Method of the Common Law
    Board of Regents v. Southworth
    Reading and Briefing Court Opinions
    Chapter 2: Legitimacy and the Limits of Authority
    Legitimacy and Legalism as Ideology
    Bush v. Gore and Legitimacy
    Jurisdiction and Common Law Courts
    Specialized Royal Courts
    Court of Common Pleas
    Court of King's Bench
    Exchequer of Pleas
    Court of Chancery-Equity
    Star Chamber Court
    Impact of Royal Courts
    Jurisdictional Questions
    Compelling Court Appearances
    Long Arm Statutes and Minimum Contacts
    Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. v. Coronet Priscilla Ice Cream Corp.
    Chapter 3: Court Organization and Jurisdiction in the Federal System
    State Courts
    Federal Courts
    Problems of Federalism
    National Supremacy
    McCulloch v. Maryland
    Tenth and Eleventh Amendments
    National Common Law
    Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins
    Full Faith and Credit Clause
    Travelers Indemnity Company v. Lake
    New Judicial Federalism
    Power and Justice
    Chapter 4: Judicial Interpretation and Decision Making
    Method of the Common Law
    Lake v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Statutory Interpretation
    Caminetti v. United States
    Other Statutory Canons
    Constitutional Interpretation
    Consequence of the Debate
    Saenz v. Roe
    Empirical Theories of Decision-Making
    Judicial Attitude Approach
    Judicial Role Approach
    Social Background Approach
    Small Group and Strategic Interactions
    Empirical Theories in Perspective
    Part II. Contrasting Legal Processes
    Chapter 5: Civil Suits for
    Money Damages
    Legal Profession
    Stratified Bar
    Hiring a Lawyer
    Kroff v. Larson
    Pleadings, Answers, and Replies
    Pretrial Conference
    Trial Phase of Litigation
    Jury Selection
    Opening Statements
    Parties and the Burden of Proof
    Rules of Evidence
    Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    Motion for a Non-Suit
    Defendant's Presentation
    Plaintiff's Rebuttal and Defendant's Answer
    Request for a Directed Verdict
    Jury Summations
    Judge's Instructions to the Jury
    Jury Deliberation and Verdict
    Remedies in Civil Suits for Money Damages
    Nominal Damages
    Compensatory Damages
    Exemplary Damages
    Liquidated Damages
    Comparing Compensatory and Exemplary Damages
    Hampton v. Dillard's Department Stores, Inc.
    Post-Trial Motions
    Appeal Phase of Litigation
    Res Judicata
    Enforcing Judgments
    Chapter 6: Equity Processes
    Equitable Remedies
    Pleadings, Answers, and Replies
    Johnson v. North American Life & Casualty Co.
    Pretrial Conferences
    Trial Phase of Litigation
    Equitable Maxims
    Finke v. Woodward
    Judicial Decrees
    Doe v. Anderson
    Chapter 7: Criminal Processes
    Values and the Criminal System
    Pleading Phase: Commencing Prosecution
    Grand Jury Indictment
    Arrest and Arraignment
    Discovery in Criminal Cases
    Trial Phase of Criminal Processes
    Right to Counsel
    Right to a Fair and Impartial Trial
    Sheppard v. Maxwell
    Right to a Jury Trial
    Right to a Speedy and Public Trial
    Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
    Confrontation of Witnesses
    Maryland v. Craig
    Jury Selection
    Case Presentation to the Jury
    Final Arguments
    Jury Instructions and Deliberations
    Sentencing the Convicted
    Appealing Convictions
    Res Judicata Exception
    Stone v. Powell
    Juvenile Justice
    Due Process Rights
    Recent Trend in Juvenile Justice
    Chapter 8: Administrative Processes
    Creating Administrative Agencies
    Constitutional Limitations
    Congressional Delegation of Law-Making Power
    Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corp. v. United States
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Presidential Powers and Constraints
    Information and Investigation
    In re Gary Kohn v. Minnesota
    Agency Hearings and Judicial Review
    Jackson Mobilphone Co., Inc. v. Tennessee Public Svc. Commission
    Chapter 9: Alternative
    Dispute Resolution
    Phases of Arbitration
    Pick v. Discover Financial Services, Inc.
    Conciliation, Facilitation, and Mediation
    Phases of Mediation
    Ombuds Programs
    Regulatory Negotiation
    Court-Centered ADR
    Private Trials
    Summary Jury Trials
    Court-Annexed Arbitration
    Part III. Law Governing Conduct, Property, and Relations Among Individuals
    Chapter 10: Torts
    What Is Tort Law?
    Evolution of Modern American Tort Law
    Intentional Torts
    Cohen v. Smith
    Cullison v. Medley
    False Imprisonment
    Taylor v. Gilmartin
    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
    Blair v. LaFrance
    Intentional Intrusions on Land
    Trespass to Chattel and Conversion
    CompuServe, Inc. vs. Cyber Promotions, Inc.
    Defenses and Privileges
    The Interest Invaded
    Negligent Conduct
    Legal Cause of Damage
    The Damaged Party's Conduct
    Product Liability
    A New Era--The Restatement (Third) of Torts, Product Liability
    Hudgens v. Interstate Battery
    Tort Reform
    Chapter 11: Property
    Roots of American Property Law
    Interests in Real Property
    Present Possessory Interests in Real Property
    Methods of Joint or Concurrent Ownership
    Premier Property Management, Inc. v. Chavez
    Future Interests
    In the Matter of: Albright
    Personal Property
    Finders of Property
    Bailments, Thieves and Innocent Third Parties
    Digital Barbarians at the Gate:
    Copyrighted Property Under Siege
    Entertainment Industry Reaction to Technology Advances
    Federal Copyright Statutes
    A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.
    Chapter 12: Family Law
    Who May Marry?
    Baehr v. Lewin
    Common Law Marriage
    In Re Estate of Wagner
    Antenuptial (Premarital) Agreements
    Ending a Marriage
    Division of Property
    O'Brien v. O'Brien
    Spousal Support, Maintenance or Alimony
    Dependent Children of Divorcing Parents
    Other Issues Involving Children
    Children Born out of Wedlock
    Science and Family Law
    Chapter 13: Criminal Law
    Criminal Law Roots
    Sources of Police Power
    The Requirement of an Act and State of Mind
    Nevada v. Richard
    Crimes Against Persons
    Common Law Murder and Modern Variations
    Swafford v. State
    State v. Thompson
    Battery and Assault
    Crimes Against Property
    Common Law Larceny
    Receiving Stolen Property
    Extortion or Blackmail
    Victimless Crimes
    Attempt Crimes
    United States v. Hair
    Necessity and Duress
    Part IV: Law Governing Conduct of Business
    Chapter 14: Contracts
    Historical Evolution of Modern American Contract Law
    Basic Elements of Contract Formation
    Shields v. Gross
    Accepting Offers
    Whitten v. Greeley-Shaw
    Oral and Written Contracts, and the Statute of Frauds
    The Land Contract and One-Year Provisions
    Acceptable Writings and Effect of Statute of Frauds Violations
    Contract Interpretation
    The Problem of Language and the Plain Meaning Rule
    Rules of Interpretation
    The Parol Evidence Rule
    Grove v. Charbonneau Buick-Pontiac, Inc.
    Contract Performance, Conditions, and Breach
    Chapter 15: Business and Government
    Historical Perspective of Governmental Regulation of Business
    Federal Power to Regulate Business
    Taxing and Spending Power
    Commerce Clause
    Katzenbach v. McClung
    Contracts Clause
    Negotiable Instruments
    Requirements of Negotiability
    Effects of Negotiability
    Holders in Due Course
    Secured Transactions
    Employment Discrimination
    The Federal Discrimination Statutes
    Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc.
    Security Regulation
    33 Act Offerings
    34 Act Filings and Regulations
    United States v. Falcone
    Antitrust Law
    Analysis of Allegations of Antitrust Violations
    Specific Activities
    The Debate Behind the Law
    Other Examples of Governmental
    Regulation of Business
    Chapter 16: Taxation
    Federal Tax Authority
    Administration of Tax Law
    Uses of the Federal Tax System
    Political Nature of Tax Legislation
    Income Taxation of Individuals: The Tax Formula
    Gross Income
    Woody v. United States
    Olk v. United States
    Taxable Income, Tax Rates, Filing
    Status, and Tax Credits
    Limitations and Two Vital Planning Concepts
    Income Shifting and Capital Gains
    Entities for Business Activities
    Individual Proprietorships
    Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
    I. United States Constitution
    II. Excerpts From Uniform Commercial Codes
    III. Taxation Appendix
    Glossary of Selected Legal and Latin Terms
    Name Index
    Subject Index

Related Titles

American Courts and the Judicial Process

American Courts and the Judicial Process

Second Edition

G. Larry Mays and Laura Woods Fidelie

Capital Punishment