When was civil law born in our country? – Daily breeze


Q: When did civil law courts start to be used in the United States? When was the first costume or major decision on the note?

– JRG, Wilmington

A: Civil law, sometimes called civil law or Roman law, is a legal system that originated in Europe. The ground rules are codified in a system which functions as the source of the law of the company. It should not be confused with the common law, which is a set of decisions of the courts and tribunals which render decisions which apply the law.

Civil law came into force in the United States when the Constitution became operational in 1789. Article III created three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial. The states themselves began codification with the New York Field Code in 1850, followed by the California Code in 1872.

Regarding the first notoriety lawsuit or significant decision, research suggests that there were two historic first decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. In Hylton v. United States in 1796, the court upheld the transportation tax. In Marbury v. Madison in 1803, the court for the first time struck down a law as unconstitutional.

Q: When did jury trials first take place in this country?

– SF, Redondo beach

A: The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the Constitution of the United States guarantee the right to a jury in all criminal cases and in all civil suits over $ 20. It is interesting to note that before the adoption of the Constitution, jury trials were already available. One of the most notorious cases in which a jury sat was the trial of John Peter Zenger, a German-American printer and journalist, for alleged seditious libel in 1735. The jury supported freedom of the press (the England decided to end defeat).

Q: Is there a reason the judges wear black robes?

– MT, San Pedro

A: There is no specific rule that requires judges to wear a particular dress, let alone a black dress. Black court dresses date back to England, although English judges also wore colorful dresses and wigs which did not become the norm here. There is a form of uniformity among the judges with regard to dress, color and respect for tradition. It is the symbol of a desire to consistently respect the rule of law and to dispense justice accordingly. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote an interesting article on why judges wear black robes. You can find it online.

Ron Sokol is a Manhattan Beach lawyer with over 30 years of experience. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email questions and comments to [email protected] or write to Ask the Lawyer, Daily Breeze, 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 170, Torrance, CA 90503.


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