General Litigation Newsletters
Amicus curiae is a Latin term meaning a "friend of the court." An amicus curiae is not a party to the lawsuit but is a person or group that has a strong interest in the matter being litigated. The function of an amicus curiae is to bring to the court's attention law, facts, or circumstances in the pending lawsuit that might not otherwise be discussed by the parties to the lawsuit. An amicus curiae's intent is to influence the court's decision.
DNA is genetic material that controls inherited traits such as eye color, hair color, and bone density. DNA testing is used to match a sample of evidence (sperm, blood, saliva, skin, or hair) from the crime scene to a suspect. Current DNA techniques are so sophisticated that one person can be differentiated from all other living persons by analyzing DNA from a single strand of hair. DNA testing is especially helpful in solving rape and murder crimes and in exonerating wrongly convicted prisoners.
In a lawsuit, both the plaintiff (the party suing) and the defendant (the party being sued) introduce evidence during the trial. Evidence refers to something submitted to the court to prove or disprove the truth of a factual matter being weighed by the court.
The common law developed from unwritten English law, which was based on tradition and custom. English common law is the basis for federal law and the law of all states, except Louisiana (whose law is based on the Napoleonic Code or the French Civil Code). The most important characteristic of common law is that it is judge-made law rather the law derived from constitutions, statutes, regulations and ordinances, which are legislative enactments. Under the common law system, current cases are decided using the precedents established by past judicial decisions.
Electronic traffic law enforcement involves the use of technology to enforce traffic laws. Police officers have been using conventional radar guns for years to detect speeding drivers. More recently, laser speed guns have been developed that more accurately clock the speed of moving vehicles. Red light cameras detect vehicles that run red lights at intersections.