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Law and Justice: An Introduction to the American Legal System, Fourth Edition

NCJ Number
Howard Abadinsky
Date Published
412 pages
This comprehensive text examines the complex interaction of law and society.
The first chapter prepares the reader for subsequent chapters by examining the problem of defining law, natural law, rational law, common law, equity, and civil law. It discusses statutory law, legal reasoning, case law, administrative law, and the application of law through a comparison of the inquisitional system used in continental Europe and the adversarial system used in England and the United States. Chapter 2 is a history of the development of American law and justice from colonial times through the 20th century. Chapter 3 examines legal education, the development of bar associations, and the practice of law, followed by a chapter that reviews the history and development of court systems, the variety of ways in which they are organized, court administration, and reform. Chapter 5 considers the key actors: the lawyers, judges, prosecutors, attorneys for plaintiffs, and attorneys for defendants in criminal and civil cases. Chapter 6 begins with a review of the evidence needed to convict in a criminal case, the due process guarantees to which every criminal defendant is entitled, and the relevant U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have affected defendant rights. Chapter 7 contrasts the civil trial process with the criminal trial and examines issues surrounding the contingency fee and class action lawsuits. The concluding chapter provides an in-depth examination of the method most often used to decide criminal and civil cases, i.e., plea bargaining and negotiation. The chapter concludes with a discussion of alternative methods of dispute resolution in both civil and criminal matters. Chapter review questions, a glossary, 704 references, a case index, and author and subject indexes


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