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By Lawrence Meir Friedman

This paintings presents an creation to the yank felony procedure for a wide readership. Its concentration is on legislation in perform, at the position of the legislations in American society; and the way the social context impacts the dwelling legislation of the United States

summary: This paintings offers an creation to the yank felony procedure for a large readership. Its concentration is on legislations in perform, at the position of the legislation in American society; and the way the social context impacts the residing legislation of the USA

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History or war is often the ultimate judge. When Ulysses Grant crushed the armies of the South, he swept away the government and legal system of the Confederacy. Other “governments” have sprung up, sometimes in remote areas, where a vacuum in power and law is perceived. This happened, for example, among the Mormons in Utah, before territorial government was organized. From the standpoint of the United States, there was no law in effect in Utah. But in fact, the Mormon Church exercised tight and effective control over this new community.

Legal tradition may explain some aspects of the shape and style of a system, but history and tradition are probably not as decisive as most lawyers (and laymen) think. For example, Haiti and France are supposed to have very similar legal systems; they are close relatives inside a single family. The Haitian system is derived from that of France. This is certainly true on paper. But is it true when we look at the living law? For decades, Haiti was a plundered and mismanaged dictatorship; more recently, democratically elected presidents were overthrown in a series of military coups.

The justice of underworld gangs, or of organized crime, is of this nature. Gangland justice stays hidden, operating only in certain dark corners of society. But our history is also full of open outbursts of unofficial law, or “popular justice,” as it is sometimes called. Among the most famous examples are the so-​called vigilante movements. Vigilantism goes far back in American history. There were examples even in the colonial period—​the so-​called Regulators in South Carolina appeared on the scene in 1767.

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