In the U.S.A. we have one of the top legal systems you’ll find in the world. Everyone who lives in the U.S.A. – except for those with diplomatic status – are affected by this legal system. We have federal courts, state courts and regulatory agencies to help govern and protect this fine country.
The U.S.A. legal system is busy and active. According to Forbes.com, the US courts manage approximately 5,800 lawsuits for every 100k citizens annually. Compare this with 1,800 for every 100k citizens in Japan. You can find plenty of lawyers in the U.S.A. too: 391 for every 100k in our country, compared to just a mere 23 lawyers for 100k people in Japan.
Our top court is the United States Supreme Court. Just below this is the District Court of Appeals and then the United States District Courts. On a state level courts come in different forms, which are defined according to the legislation. In New York State the highest court is the New York Court of Appeals. There is also a Supreme Court in New York but this is the lowest-level trial court. Regulatory agencies create regulations and then enforce them. They include the FAA which regulates air travel and the SEC that regulates the financial sector.
One reason our legal system is the best because those accused of a crime are at first considered innocent until proven guilty. This presumption of innocence can at times be referred to by the Latin term Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies). This is a legal right for the accused in any criminal trial. It does exist in the U.S.A. and in many other countries as well, including Brazil, Canada, Iran, France and Italy. The burden of proof must be put on the prosecution, to collect and present at the trial. The accused must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if reasonable doubt exists, they will be acquitted (found not guilty).
Another reason our justice system works is that we have a law about double jeopardy. Double jeopardy is a procedural defense that will not allow the defendant to be tried a second time for the same (or a similar) charge, following a conviction or an acquittal. Those who are accused of a crime can trust that they will have one criminal trial. There is no way to retry someone for the same crime over and over again, hoping that the jury will find that person guilty this time. Once there has been a ruling, it is final.
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution also offers protection for criminal prosecution. The accused has a right to a speedy and public trial with an impartial jury. The trial will be conducted in the State and district where the crime was committed. The accused will be informed of the criminal charge and to be confronted with witnesses. They will be permitted to obtain witnesses for their own favor and have a lawyer for their defense.
The United States judicial system is very active and so is the prison system. There are more people in prison in the U.S.A. than in any other country in the world. In 2011, more than 2 million people were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and county jails. Nearly 5 million people by the end of 2011 were on probation or parole. In 2010, 70k juveniles were in juvenile detention.
We can count on our judicial system to be fair, just and to protect its citizens each and every day.