A Law Is A Law, Until It Isn’t
A Law Is a Law, Until It Isn’t
CJS 220 – Introduction to Courts
July 10, 2011
Axia College/University of Phoenix
Throughout history laws have been written to protect the citizens of our society and to deter others from criminal behavior. Laws can create social change and may also reflect social changes or in some cases, they may do both. However, how do laws become laws?
If we travel all of the way back to medieval times criminal and civil laws were defined by judges. Each case was looked at individually and decided upon by current customs and the guidance of the Bible. This was known as common law or “judge made” laws. From this two very important concepts were developed in our current legal system. Precedent law or stare decisis is when a judge decides a case by applying rules of law found in earlier cases. This is when the facts from a previous case are closely simulated in another case. The second important concept that came about from common law is codification. Common law was not written down in one central place which made it uncodified. Codified law is based on written codes or statues that are maintained by the government. Early codes appeared to simply be recordings of pre-existing customs. Today codes or statues come out of meetings of those individuals empowered to create law.
As previously stated, in our country laws are created by the state and federal legislative branch of government and enforced by the executive branch which controls law enforcement. The judicial branch then applies the laws and makes sure that they are valid and in accordance with the Constitution.