Justice

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Posted by sonny 03/01/2009 @ 05:01

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Enviro groups like what they see in Obama's justice pick - New York Times
Environmentalists primarily are pointing to a single 2007 decision by Sotomayor -- on US EPA's use of cost-benefit analysis in the regulation of pollutants -- as a signal that the potential future justice may side with them on a number of issues....
Sanofi-Aventis Unit To Pay $95.5M To Settle Charges - Wall Street Journal
By Brent Kendall Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--A Sanofi-Aventis SA (SNY) unit will pay $95.5 million to settle allegations that it overcharged state Medicaid programs for anti-inflammatory nasal sprays, the Justice Department announced...
Eagles' Justice looking for a second chance - Philadelphia Inquirer
By Jeff McLane Winston Justice was talking about the life of an offensive lineman and how one mistake can eclipse 100 flawless blocks. "If you mess up once," the Eagles tackle said, "everyone thinks you're horrible." Two seasons ago, Justice messed up...
Justices Ease Rules on Police Interrogations - Courthouse News Service
The justices voted 5-4 to overturn Michigan v. Jackson, which bars police from interrogating a defendant once he has requested counsel. Petitioner Jesse Montejo was questioned by detectives in connection with a 2002 robbery and murder, and waived his...
Justice Records shaking up industry with 50-50 model - Bizjournals.com
Justice Records is getting a foothold in the evolving music industry by tipping the scales in favor of artists. Founded by Houston music producer Randall Jamail, Austin-based Justice Records' business model is a twist on the traditional music industry...
Justice: Time for Astros to fire Cooper may be now - Houston Chronicle
By RICHARD JUSTICE Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Astros manager Cecil Cooper (left) talks to general manager Ed Wade (right) during spring training. Sorry, your version of Flash doesn't support this video. Please download the latest version at...
Prosecutor in anthrax, Blackwater cases resigns - The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal prosecutor who became the public face of the Justice Department's investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, the killing of Chandra Levy and the Blackwater Worldwide shooting is resigning. Washington US Attorney Jeffrey...
China's Lawyers Face a Crackdown - Wall Street Journal
"The Ministry of Justice uses the 'annual exam' to limit and restrict lawyers' professional rights," says Xie Yanyi, who handles cases for people with AIDS and represents farmers in land-rights cases. The last few months have also seen an uptick in...
Justice or excuse for executions? - abc11tv.com
By Rebecca Hall RALEIGH (WTVD) -- You might think the NAACP would be behind a piece of legislation called The Racial Justice Act, but that's not the case. The civil rights group is leading the fight against it in the North Carolina Legislature....
Obama Expands on Criteria for New Justice - Washington Post
It is "important this is somebody who has common sense and somebody who has a sense of how American society works and how the American people live," he told C-SPAN, in his most extensive public comments yet on his deliberations since Justice David H....

Criminal justice

Criminal justice is the system of practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deterring and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights.

The criminal justice system in England and Wales aims to "reduce crime by bringing more offences to justice, and to raise public confidence that the system is fair and will deliver for the law-abiding citizen." In Canada, the criminal justice system aims to balance the goals of crime control and prevention, and justice (equity, fairness, protection of individual rights). In Sweden, the overarching goal for the criminal justice system is to reduce crime and increase the security of the people.

Law is a system of rules usually enforced through a set of institutions. The purpose of law is to provide an objective set of rules for governing conduct and maintaining order in a society.

The oldest known codified law is the Code of Hammurabi, which was established circa 1760 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. Throughout history laws have been handed down by many different organizations. In ancient Rome for example, laws had to be voted on by a Senate before taking effect. Throughout the Dark and Middle Ages laws were often created or abolished according to the whim of the ruling nobility. In different parts of the world, law could be established by philosophers or religion. In the modern world, laws are typically created and enforced by governments. These codified laws may coexist with or contradict other forms of social control, such as religious proscriptions, professional rules and ethics, or the cultural mores and customs of a society.

Within the realm of codified law, there are generally two forms of law that the courts are concerned with. Civil laws are rules and regulations which govern transactions and grievances between individual citizens. Criminal law is concerned with actions which are dangerous or harmful to society as a whole, in which prosecution is pursued not by an individual but rather by the state. The purpose of criminal law is to provide the specific definition of what constitutes a crime and to prescribe punishments for committing such a crime. No criminal law can be valid unless it includes both of these factors. The subject of criminal justice is, of course, primarily concerned with the enforcement of criminal law.

The criminal justice system consists of three main parts: (1) law enforcement (police); (2) adjudication (courts); and (3) corrections (jails,prisons, probation and parole). Criminal justice agencies are intended to operate within the rule of law.

The first contact an offender has with the criminal justice system is usually with the police (or law enforcement) who investigate and make the arrest. Police or law enforcement agencies and officers are empowered to use force and other forms of legal coercion and legal means to effect public and social order. The term is most commonly associated with police departments of a state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. The word comes from the Latin politia ("civil administration"), which itself derives from the Ancient Greek πόλις, for polis ("city"). The first police force comparable to the present-day police was established in 1667 under King Louis XIV in France, although modern police usually trace their origins to the 1800 establishment of the Marine Police in London, the Glasgow Police, and the Napoleonic police of Paris.

The notion that police are primarily concerned with enforcing criminal law was popularized in the 1930s with the rise of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the pre-eminent "law enforcement agency" in the United States; this, however, has constituted only a small portion of policing activity. Policing has included an array of activities in different contexts, but the predominant ones are concerned with order maintenance and the provision of services.

The courts serve as the venue where disputes are then settled and justice is administered. With regard to criminal justice, there are a number of critical people in any court setting. These critical people are referred to as the courtroom work group and include both professional and nonprofessional individuals. These include the judge, prosecutor, and the defense attorney. The judge, or magistrate, is a person, elected or appointed, who is knowledgeable in the law, and whose function is to objectively administer the legal proceedings and offer a final decision to dispose of a case.

In the U.S. and in a growing number of nations, guilt or innocence is decided through the adversarial system. In this system, two parties will both offer their version of events and argue their case before the court (sometimes before a judge or panel of judges, sometimes before a jury). The case should be decided in favor of the party who offers the most sound and compelling arguments based on the law as applied to the facts of the case.

The prosecutor, or district attorney, is a lawyer who brings charges against a person, persons or corporate entity. It is the prosecutor's duty to explain to the court what crime was committed and to detail what evidence has been found which incriminates the accused. The prosecutor should not be confused with a plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel. Although both serve the function of bringing a complaint before the court, the prosecutor is a servant of the state who makes accusations on behalf of the state in criminal proceedings, while the plaintiff is the complaining party in civil proceedings.

A defense attorney counsels the accused on the legal process, likely outcomes for the accused and suggests strategies. The accused, not the lawyer, has the right to make final decisions regarding a number of fundamental points, including whether to testify, and to accept a plea offer or demand a jury trial in appropriate cases. It is the defense attorney's duty to represent the interests of the client, raise procedural and evidentiary issues, and hold the prosecution to its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defense counsel may challenge evidence presented by the prosecution or present exculpatory evidence and argue on behalf of their client. At trial, the defense attorney may attempt to offer a rebuttal to the prosecutor's accusations.

In the U.S., an accused person is entitled to a government-paid defense attorney if he or she is in jeopardy of losing their life and/or liberty. Those who cannot afford a private attorney may be provided one by the state. Historically, however, the right to a defense attorney has not always been universal. For example, in Tudor England criminals accused of treason were not permitted to offer arguments in their defense. In many jurisdictions, there is no right to an appointed attorney, if the accused is not in jeopardy of losing his or her liberty.

The final determination of guilt or innocence is typically made by a third party, who is supposed to be disinterested. This function may be performed by a judge, a panel of judges, or a jury panel composed of unbiased citizens. This process varies depending on the laws of the specific jurisdiction. In some places the panel (be it judges or a jury) is required to issue a unanimous decision, while in others only a majority vote is required. In America, this process depends on the state, level of court, and even agreements between the prosecuting and defending parties. Other nations do not use juries at all, or rely on theological or military authorities to issue verdicts.

Some cases can be disposed of without the need for a trial. In fact, the vast majority are. If the accused confesses their guilt, a shorter process may be employed and a judgement may be rendered more quickly. Some nations, such as America, allow plea bargaining in which the accused pleads guilty, nolo contendre or not guilty, and may accept a diversion program or reduced punishment, where the prosecution's case is weak or in exchange for the cooperation of the accused against other people. This reduced sentence is sometimes a reward for sparing the state the expense of a formal trial. Many nations do not permit the use of plea bargaining, believing that it coerces innocent people to plead guilty in an attempt to avoid a harsh punishment.

The entire trial process, whatever the country, is fraught with problems and subject to criticism. Bias and discrimination form an ever-present threat to an objective decision. Any prejudice on the part of the lawyers, the judge, or jury members threatens to destroy the court's credibility. Some people argue that the often Byzantine rules governing courtroom conduct and processes restrict a layman's ability to participate, essentially reducing the legal process to a battle between the lawyers. In this case, the criticism is that the decision is based less on sound justice and more on the lawyer's eloquence and charisma. This is a particular problem when the lawyer performs in a substandard manner. The jury process is another area of frequent criticism, as there are few mechanisms to guard against poor judgement or incompetence on the part of the layman jurors.

Offenders are then turned over to the correctional authorities, from the court system after the accused has been found guilty. Like all other aspects of criminal justice, the administration of punishment has taken many different forms throughout history. Early on, when civilizations lacked the resources necessary to construct and maintain prisons, exile and execution were the primary forms of punishment. Historically shame punishments and dismemberment have also been used as forms of censure.

The most publicly visible form of punishment in the modern era is the prison. Prisons may serve as detention centers for prisoners after trial. For containment of the accused, jails are used. Early prisons were used primarily to sequester criminals and little thought was given to living conditions within their walls. In America, the Quaker movement is commonly credited with establishing the idea that prisons should be used to reform criminals. This can also be seen as a critical moment in the debate regarding the purpose of punishment.

Punishment (in the form of prison time) may serve a variety of purposes. First, and most obviously, the incarceration of criminals removes them from the general population and inhibits their ability to perpetrate further crimes. Many societies also view prison terms as a form of revenge or retribution, and any harm or discomfort the prisoner suffers is "payback" for the harm they caused their victims. A new goal of prison punishments is to offer criminals a chance to be rehabilitated. Many modern prisons offer schooling or job training to prisoners as a chance to learn a vocation and thereby earn a legitimate living when they are returned to society. Religious institutions also have a presence in many prisons, with the goal of teaching ethics and instilling a sense of morality in the prisoners. If a prisoner is released before his time is served, he is released as a parole. This means that they are released, but the restrictions are greater than that of someone on probation.

There are numerous other forms of punishment which are commonly used in conjunction with or in place of prison terms. Monetary fines are one of the oldest forms of punishment still used today. These fines may be paid to the state or to the victims as a form of reparation. Probation and house arrest are also sanctions which seek to limit a person's mobility and their opportunities to commit crimes without actually placing them in a prison setting. Many jurisdictions may require some form of public or community service as a form of reparations for lesser offenses.

Execution or capital punishment is still used around the world. Its use is one of the most heavily debated aspects of the criminal justice system. Some societies are willing to use executions as a form of political control, or for relatively minor misdeeds. Other societies reserve execution for only the most sinister and brutal offenses. Others still have outlawed the practice entirely, believing the use of execution to be excessively cruel or hypocritical.

Criminal justice is distinct from the field of criminology, which involves the study of crime as a social phenomena, causes of crime, criminal behavior, and other aspects of crime. Criminal justice emerged as an academic discipline in the 1920s, beginning with Berkeley police chief August Vollmer who established a criminal justice program at the University of California, Berkeley in 1916. Vollmer's work was carried on by his student, O.W. Wilson, who led efforts to professionalize policing and reduce corruption. Other programs were established in the United States at Indiana University, Michigan State University, San Jose State University, and the University of Washington. As of 1950, criminal justice students were estimated to number less than 1,000. Until the 1960s, the primary focus of criminal justice in the United States was on policing and police science.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, crime rates soared and social issues took center stage in the public eye. A number of new laws and studies focused federal resources on researching new approaches to crime control. The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Earl Warren, issued a series of rulings which redefined citizen's rights and substantially altered the powers and responsibilities of police and the courts. The Civil Rights Era offered significant legal and ethical challenges to the status quo.

In the late 1960s, with the establishment of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and associated policy changes that resulted with the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The LEAA provided grants for criminology research, focusing on social aspects of crime. By the 1970s, there were 729 academic programs in criminology and criminal justice in the United States. Largely thanks to the Law Enforcement Education Program, criminal justice students numbered over 100,000 by 1975. Over time, scholars of criminal justice began to include criminology, sociology, and psychology, among others, to provide a more comprehensive view of the criminal justice system and the root causes of crime. Criminal justice studies now combine the practical and technical policing skills with a study of social deviance as a whole.

The modern criminal justice system has evolved since ancient times, with new forms of punishment, added rights for offenders and victims, and policing reforms. These developments have reflected changing customs, political ideals, and economic conditions. In ancient times through the Middle Ages, exile was a common form of punishment. During the Middle Ages, payment to the victim (or their families), known as wergild, was another common punishment, including for violent crimes. For those who could not afford to buy their way out of punishment, harsh penalties included various forms of corporal punishment. These included mutilation, branding, and flogging, as well as execution.

Though a prison, Le Stinche, existed as early as the 14th century in Florence, Italy, incarceration was not widely used until the 19th century. Correctional reform in the United States was first initiated by William Penn, towards the end of the 17th century. For a time, Pennsylvania's criminal code was revised to forbid torture and other forms of cruel punishment, with jails and prisons replacing corporal punishment. These reforms were reverted, upon Penn's death in 1718. Under pressure from a group of Quakers, these reforms were revived in Pennsylvania toward the end of the 18th century, and led to a marked drop in Pennsylvania's crime rate. Patrick Colquhoun, Henry Fielding and others led significant reforms during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The first modern police force is commonly said to be the London Metropolitan Police, established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel, which promoted the preventive role of police as a deterrent to urban crime and disorder. In the United States, police departments were first established in Boston in 1838, and New York City in 1844. Early on, police were not respected by the community, as corruption was rampant.

In the 1920s, led by Berkeley, California police chief, August Vollmer and O.W. Wilson, police began to professionalize, adopt new technologies, and place emphasis on training and professional qualifications of new hires. Despite such reforms, police agencies were led by highly autocratic leaders, and there remained a lack of respect between police and the community. Following urban unrest in the 1960s, police placed more emphasis on community relations, enacted reforms such as increased diversity in hiring, and many police agencies adopted community policing strategies.

In the 1990s, CompStat was developed by the New York Police Department as an information-based system for tracking and mapping crime patterns and trends, and holding police accountable for dealing with crime problems. CompStat has since been replicated in police departments across the United States and around the world, with problem-oriented policing, intelligence-led policing, and other information-led policing strategies also adopted.

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Social justice

Social justice, sometimes called civil justice, refers to the concept of a society in which justice is achieved in every aspect of society, rather than merely the administration of law. It is generally thought of as a world which affords individuals and groups fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society. (Different proponents of social justice have developed different interpretations of what constitutes fair treatment and an impartial share.) It can also refer to the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society.

Social justice is both a philosophical problem and an important issue in politics, religion and civil society. Most individuals wish to live in a just society, but different political ideologies have different conceptions of what a 'just society' actually is. The term "social justice" is often employed by the political left to describe a society with a greater degree of economic egalitarianism, which may be achieved through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution, policies aimed toward achieving that which developmental economists refer to as equality of opportunity.

Social Justice features as an apolitical philosophical concept (insofar as any philosophical analysis of politics can be free from bias) in much of John Rawls' writing. It is a part of Catholic social teaching and is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party upheld by the worldwide green parties. Some of the tenets of social justice have been adopted by those who lie on the left or center-left of the political spectrum (e.g. Socialists, Social Democrats, etc). Social justice is also a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality.

The political philosopher John Rawls (1921-2002) draws on the utilitarian insights of Bentham and Mill, the social contract ideas of Locke, and the categorical imperative ideas of Kant. His first statement of principle was made in A Theory of Justice (1971) where he proposed that, "Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others." (at p3). A deontological proposition that echoes Kant in framing the moral good of justice in absolutist terms. His views are definitively restated in Political Liberalism (1993), where society is seen, "as a fair system of co-operation over time, from one generation to the next." (at p14).

This applies to one person representing a small group (e.g. to the organiser of a social event setting a dress code) as equally as it does to national governments which are the ultimate trustees, holding representative powers for the benefit of all citizens within their territorial boundaries, and if those governments fail to provide for the welfare of their citizens according to the principles of justice, they are not legitimate. To emphasise the general principle that justice should rise from the people and not be dictated by the law-making powers of governments, Rawls asserted that, "There is . . . a general presumption against imposing legal and other restrictions on conduct without sufficient reason. But this presumption creates no special priority for any particular liberty." (at pp291-292) This is support for an unranked set of liberties that reasonable citizens in all states should respect and uphold — to some extent, the list proposed by Rawls matches the normative human rights that have international recognition and direct enforcement in some nation states where the citizens need encouragement to act in a more objectively just way.

Many authors criticize the idea that there exists an objective standard of social justice. Moral relativists deny that there is any kind of objective standard for justice in general. Non-cognitivists, moral skeptics, moral nihilists, and most logical positivists and analytic philosophers deny the epistemic possibility of objective notions of justice. Cynics (such as Niccolò Machiavelli) believe that any ideal of social justice is ultimately a mere justification for the status quo. Supporters of social darwinism believe that social justice assists the least fit to reproduce, sometimes labeled as dysgenics, and hence should be opposed.

In To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks describes how social justice has a central place in Judaism. One of Judaism’s most distinctive and challenging ideas is its ethics of responsibility reflected in the concepts of simcha ("gladness" or "joy"), tzedakah ("the religious obligation to perform charity and philanthropic acts"), chesed ("deeds of kindness"), and tikkun olam ("repairing the world").

Social Justice is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party. Social Justice (sometimes "Social and Global Equality and Economic Justice") reflects the general rejection of discrimination based on distinctions between class, gender, ethnicity, or culture. Green Parties are almost universally egalitarian in their outlook, seeing that great disparities in wealth or influence are caused by the perversion of or total lack of social institutions that prevent the strong from plundering the weak.

Social justice is also a concept that is used to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality, and can be defined as "the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society" .

There are a number of movements that are working to achieve social justice in society. These movements are working towards the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of background, have basic human rights and an equal opportunity to access the benefits of their society.

Social Justice was also the name of a periodical published by Father Coughlin in the 1930s and early 1940s. Coughlin's organization was known as the National Union for Social Justice and he frequently used the term social justice in his radio broadcasts. In 1935 Coughlin made a series of broadcasts in which he outlined what he termed "the Christian principles of social justice" as an alternative to both capitalism and communism.

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Minister of Justice (Canada)

Canadian Coat of Arms Shield.svg

The Minister of Justice (French: Ministre de la Justice) is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for the Department of Justice and is also Attorney General of Canada.

This cabinet position is usually reserved for someone with formal legal training in both Common Law and Civil Law. This cabinet portfolio has been held by many individuals who went on to become Prime Minister including John Sparrow David Thompson, R.B. Bennett, Louis St Laurent, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John Turner, Kim Campbell and Jean Chrétien. This is one of the few Canadian Ministries which had not been reorganized since its creation in 1867.

The current Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is Rob Nicholson.

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Justice of the Peace

The office of John Clemens, Mark Twain's father, who was the Justice of the Peace in Hannibal, Missouri when it was a frontier settlement.

In 1195, Richard I ("the Lionheart") of England commissioned certain knights to preserve the peace in unruly areas. They were responsible to the King for ensuring that the law was upheld, and preserved the "King's Peace", and were known as Keepers of the Peace.

An Act of 1327 had referred to "good and lawful men" to be appointed in every county in the land to "guard the peace"; such individuals were first referred to as Conservators of the Peace, or Wardens of the Peace. The title "Justice of the Peace" derives from 1361, in the reign of King Edward III Plantagenet. The "peace" to be guarded is the "King's peace" or (currently) Queen's peace, the maintenance of which is the duty of the Crown under the royal prerogative. Justices of the Peace still use the power conferred or re-conferred on them in 1361 to bind over unruly persons "to be of good behaviour." The bind over is not a punishment, but a preventive measure, intended to ensure that people thought likely to offend will not do so. The justices' alternative title of "magistrate" dates from the sixteenth century, although the word had been in use two hundred years earlier to describe some legal officials of Roman times.

The Municipal Corporations Act 1835 stripped the power to appoint normal JPs from those municipal corporations that had it. This was replaced by the present system, where the Lord Chancellor nominates candidates with local advice, for appointment by the Crown.

Until the introduction of elected county councils in the 19th century, JPs, in Quarter Sessions, also administered the county at a local level. They fixed wages, regulated food supplies, built and controlled roads and bridges, and undertook to provide and supervise locally those services mandated by the Crown and Parliament for the welfare of the county.

Being an unpaid office, undertaken more for the sake of renown and to confirm the justice's standing within the community, the justice was typically a member of the gentry. The Justices of the Peace conducted arraignments in all criminal cases, and tried misdemeanours and infractions of local ordinances and bylaws. Towns and boroughs with enough burdensome judicial business that could not find volunteers for the unpaid role of Justice of the Peace had to petition the Crown for authority to hire a paid stipendiary magistrate.

In the centuries from the Tudor period until the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the JPs constituted a major element of the English (later British) government system, which had been termed sometimes squirearchy (i.e., dominance of the land-owning gentry). For example, historian Tim Blanning notes that while in Britain the royal prerogative was decisively curbed by the 1689 Bill of Rights, in practice the central government in London had a greater ability to get its policies implemented in the rural outlying regions than could contemporary absolute monarchies such as France - a paradox due especially to JPs belonging to the same social class as the Members of Parliament and thus having a direct interest in getting laws actually enforced and implemented on the ground.

Women were not allowed to become JPs until 1919, the first woman being Ada Summers, the Mayor of Stalybridge, who was a JP by virtue of her office. Now in Britain 50% of JPs are women.

In special circumstances, a Justice of the Peace can be the highest governmental representative, so in fact 'gubernatorial', in a colonial entity. This was the case in the Tati Concession Land, a gold-mining concession (territory) in the Matabele kingdom, until its annexation by the British Bechuanaland protectorate.

A Justice of the Peace in Australia is typically someone of good stature in the community who is authorised to witness and sign statutory declarations and affidavits and to certify copies of original documents. Criteria for appointment vary widely, depending on the state. For example, in Queensland, a Justice of the Peace (qualified) must complete an exam prior to being eligible for appointment, whereas in Victoria, a person need only prove good character by way of references.

Generally speaking, a Justice of the Peace cannot act in relation to a document which is to be used in a foreign country. One exception to this, however, is that countries in the Commonwealth frequently accept documents so certified, but this is largely dependent on local legislation.

Documents which are to be used in a foreign country that does not provide for a foreign JP to witness them should be dealt with by a notary public. This is the same for all countries where the office of a Justice of the Peace exists. Notary publics are appointed from amongst the ranks of solicitors and barristers, and the best way to locate one is to contact your local law society.

In the state of Queensland, a "Justice of the Peace (qualified)" has the additional powers to issue search warrants, arrest warrants, justices examination orders, and (in conjunction with another Justice of the Peace (qualified) constitute a magistrates' court and exercise powers to remand defendants in custody, grant bail, and adjourn court hearings.

Some justices are appointed as Justice of the Peace (magistrates' court), usually in remote aboriginal communities, to perform many of the functions that might otherwise fall to a stipendiary magistrate.

In Queensland, Justices of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations (JP C.Dec) have powers limited to witnessing documents, witnessing statutory declarations, witnessing affidavits, witnessing and administering oaths and affirmations.

Justices of the Peace and bail justices are appointed to serve a semi-judicial function in all areas of the Victorian community. The main official roles they play in the Victorian community include witnessing statutory declarations, witnessing affidavits and hearing bail matters outside court hours (bail justices only).

Justices of the Peace (JPs) provide a service to the community as independent witnesses of statutory declarations, powers of attorney and affidavits. JPs are recommended by the state Attorney-General and appointed by the Governor-General in Council, and it is their job to authorise and witness statutory declarations and affidavits within the state of Victoria. There are currently more than 4,000 JPs serving in all areas of the state.

The role of a bail justice is to hear bail applications (under the Bail Act 1977) and to hear applications for interim accommodation orders for children (under the Children and Young Persons Act 1989) within Victoria. Bail justices, once appointed, may remain in their role until they turn 70 years of age (although they must be under 65 at the time of their appointment). They are often required to attend call outs and rule on bail applications or protection applications for children in danger on weekends and late at night when the courts are closed, but they can also witness Victorian statutory declarations and affidavits. Candidates must successfully complete a three-day training course run by Victoria Police, the Magistrates' Court, and the Department of Justice. Bail justices also have some limited powers under federal legislation, including the power to conduct interstate extradition hearings and extending question time for federal police.

Justices of the Peace perform few judicial functions, if any, in New South Wales. Those justices employed by the Attorney-General's Department can issue some kinds of warrant, and perform minor judicial functions such as granting bail outside normal court sitting hours. These powers are increasingly being transferred to Registrars of the Local Court, who (usually, but not always) have legal qualifications.

This aspect aside, Justice of the Peace in NSW typically receive statutory declarations and affidavits - primarily administrative tasks.

Justices of the Peace can be located in courthouses, municipal councils, and many public service offices. Previously a lifetime appointment, the term was limited to five years from 8 December 2003 at which time all previous lifetime appointments lapsed. The New South Wales Government provides a web service that allows people to locate a suitable JP: here.

In South Australia, there are two types of justices: Justice of the Peace and special justices.

A Justice of the Peace (JP) in South Australia is typically someone of good stature in the community who is authorised to witness and sign statutory declarations, affidavits, waiver rights, search warrants, drug warrants, divorce documents, and to certify copies of original documents and to witness the signing of power of attorney and guardianship documents, providing the JP is satisfied with the capability of the signatory.

A Special Justice (SJ) is a higher level of Justice of the Peace in South Australia; they sit casually on the bench of the magistrates' court hearing cases in the petty division.

The South Australian Attorney-General has set up a web site to locate Justices of the Peace: . The majority of metropolitan and many regional Councils (Local Government authorities) have a rotational Justice of the Peace in residence at nominated times.

In Canada, Justice of the Peace (Justices) play a key role in the administration of justice at the provincial level. Justices are appointed by the lieutenant governors of Canada's provinces, and by the commissioners of Canada's territories, on the advice of their relevant premier or Attorney General.

Canada is a vast country and Justices are often the only magistrates in some regions. In the Northwest Territories, Justices are regularly assigned to hear federal crimes. However, in more populated provinces Justices usually preside over bail hearings and provincial offences courts. When not in a court session, a Justice can perform other judicial functions, such as issuing search warrants.

In Ontario, Justices perform a wide variety of duties related to criminal and regulatory law, at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Current information on the role of a Justice in Ontario can be found at role of Justices in Ontario. Information on qualifications and selection criteria can be found at Qualifications for Justices in Ontario.

In Hong Kong, the historical functions of Justices of the Peace have been replaced by full-time, legally-qualified magistrates. Nowadays, Justices of the Peace are essentially titles of honour given by the Government to community leaders, and to certain officials while they are in their terms of offices. They have no judicial functions, and their main duties include visiting prisons, institutions for young offenders and drug addicts, psychiatric hospitals, remand homes, places of refuge, reception and detention centres , and administering statutory declarations.

In India, Justices of the Peace do exist , but is no longer a prominent post. Among the famous JPs was Kavasji Jamshedji Petigara.

A Justice of the Peace (JP), according to the Ministry of Justice, is a person of unquestionable integrity who seeks to promote and protect the rights of the individual and helps to provide justice to persons in a particular community. Additionally, the JP serves as a justice in petty court sessions, attends juvenile court sessions, issues summonses, considers applications for bail, explains and signs legal documents, sits on licensing panels, and gives counsel/advice. Any Jamaican citizen that can speak and write English is eligible to become a JP. Any club/organisation/citizen can recommend someone to become JP for a community. JPs are chosen under the Governor-General's discretion.

In Malaysia, Justices of the Peace have largely been replaced in magistrates' courts by legally-qualified (first-class) stipendiary magistrates. However, state governments continue to appoint Justices of the Peace as honours. In 2004, some associations of Justices of the Peace pressed the federal government to allow Justices of the Peace to sit as second-class magistrates in order to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts.

A Justice of the Peace in New Zealand is someone of good stature in the community who is authorized to witness and sign statutory declarations and affidavits.

They also have certain powers to issue search warrants, and (in conjunction with another Justice of the Peace) may try minor criminal trials in the district court and exercise powers to remand defendants in custody, grant bail, and adjourn court hearings. They are nominated for office by local Members of Parliament.

Justice of the Peace (JP) is an honorary post, with authorization to witness and sign statutory declarations and affidavits. JPs are chosen under the Minister of Justice's discretion. Any citizen of Sri Lanka can apply to the Ministry of Justice giving his or her credentials to be appointed as a Justice of the Peace. However, the applicant should be one who has served the public and carries out social service and should be of good standing. Mostly the Minister of Justice appoints JPs as honours.

A magistrates' court in England and Wales is composed of a bench of (usually three) JPs or magistrates, who dispense summary justice: that is they decide on offences which carry up to six months in prison. They are advised on points of law by a legally-qualified clerk. No formal qualifications are required but magistrates need intelligence, common sense, integrity and the capacity to act fairly. Membership is widely spread throughout the local area and drawn from all walks of life. All magistrates are carefully trained before sitting and continue to receive training throughout their service. Magistrates are unpaid volunteers but they may receive allowances to cover travelling expenses and subsistence. Lay justices or magistrates must sit for a minimum of 26 sessions (half-days) per year, but some sit as much as a day a week.

In addition to the lay justices, there are a small number of district judges (magistrates' court), formerly known as stipendiary magistrates. These are legally-qualified, full-time members of the magistracy and hear cases alone, without any other magistrates on the bench. It is important to distinguish the district judge (magistrates' court) from the district judges who usually sit in the county court.

Magistrates' courts today can deal with minor offences (fines of up to £5,000, and imprisonment of up to 6 months or 12 months for consecutive sentences) and handle over 95% of the criminal cases in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. With more serious offences, magistrates are responsible for indictment and committal to the Crown Court (a task in former times dealt with by a grand jury). Magistrates also had some limited civil jurisdiction, such as licensing applications, although these functions were mostly removed from them under the Licensing Act 2003 and transferred to local authorities. The Magistrates now act in licensing matters only as an appeal court from the decisions of the local authority.

Until the Courts Act 2003 came into force, magistrates were tied to a particular area (see magistrates' court committee, commission area, petty sessions area). This has now been changed such that they are assigned to local justice areas, but less strongly.

The Courts Act provides the current framework for appointment of the justices, which is done by the Lord Chancellor in the name of Her Majesty. Justices can also be removed by the same mechanism. District Judges (Magistrates' Court) - previously known as Stipendiary Magistrates - must have a 7 years' general legal qualification, and are appointed by Her Majesty on the advice of the Lord Chancellor.

Within the Scottish legal system Justices of the Peace are lay magistrates who currently sit in the Scottish District Courts. These courts were introduced in 1975 as replacement for burgh police courts. Justices sit alone or in threes with a qualified legal assessor as convener or clerk of court. They handle many cases of breach of the peace, drunkenness, minor assaults, petty theft, and offences under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

In Glasgow, the volume of business requires the employment of three solicitors as "stipendiary magistrates" who sit in place of the lay justices. The stipendiary magistrates' court has the same sentencing power as the summary sheriff court. However, in 2006, the Scottish Government announced its intention to unify the management of the sheriff and district courts in Scotland, but retaining lay justices, as part of its initiative to create a unified judiciary under the Lord President.

In some U.S. states, the Justice of the Peace is a judge of a court of limited jurisdiction, a magistrate, or a quasi-judicial official with certain statutory or common law magisterial powers.

The Justice of the Peace, or solicitor general, typically presides over a court that hears misdemeanor cases, traffic violations, and other petty criminal infractions. The Justice of the Peace may also have authority over cases involving small debts, landlord and tenant disputes, or other small claims court proceedings. Proceedings before Justices of the Peace are often faster and less formal than the proceedings in other courts. In some jurisdictions a party convicted or found liable before a Justice of the Peace may have the right to a trial de novo before the judge of a higher court rather than an appeal strictly considered.

In Arizona, a Justice of the Peace has the same jurisdiction as a municipal magistrate with respect to traffic and misdemeanor cases and restraining orders. Additionally, JP court hears civil law suits up to a limit of $10,000, small claims cases, and issues evictions, called writs of forcible or special detainer. Justices, also called judges of the Justice Court, are elected in partisan elections for four year terms from specific districts called precincts. They have the same authority and responsibility as all other judges in the state with respect performing marriages, administrating oaths, adhering to the code of judicial conduct, and all aspects of justice administration.

The Justice of the Peace is also the judge to whom parties seeking a civil marriage can repair. Justices of the Peace in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are often called on to perform marriages and, especially, same-sex marriages which certain religious officials are not willing to do. Justices of the Peace in Connecticut can preside over same-sex civil unions Connecticut Justices of the Peace will preside over gay marriage ceremonies beginning October 28, 2008. Unlike Massachusetts, Connecticut JPs are not penalized for refusing to perform such ceremonies.

Justices of the Peace in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont have the same general oath-giving powers as a notary public.

New Hampshire Justices of the Peace are commissioned magisterial officers, appointed by the Governor and Executive Council to terms of five years, with the power to administer oaths, acknowledge instruments, perform marriage ceremonies and, effective January 1, 2008, solemnize civil unions for same-sex couples. They may also order compulsory mental examinations for good cause, act as a magisterial official regarding enforcement complaints on orders for isolation or quarantine issued by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, administer oaths of office to public officials, take depositions and issue subpoenas. New Hampshire Justices of the Peace are also authorized, upon a showing of probable cause supported by affidavit, to issue arrest warrants, search warrants, administrative inspection warrants and by court appointment, to fix and receive bail in criminal cases.

In Arkansas, a Justice of the Peace is an elected official equivalent to a county commissioner or county supervisor. Arkansas JPs sit on a county quorum court, composed of 9, 11, 13 or 15 JPs. The quorum court is a part-time body, elected from single-member districts, that has overall responsibility for county affairs. Among their responsibilities are passing the budget, creating new ordinances (at the misdemeanor level), setting property tax millage levels, and working with other elected officials. The full-time elected county administrator, who presides over the quorum court, is the county judge. Neither JPs nor the county judge has any judicial authority, other than the right to preside over civil marriages. Justices of the Peace are elected every two years to these partisan offices.

In many states, the office of Justice of the Peace has been abolished or transferred to another court, such as the magistrate court. In larger cities, cases may be heard in a municipal court which has jurisdiction only within that city. Most efforts to abolish the office of Justice of the Peace have been led by the American Bar Association, which views non-lawyer judges as no longer necessary, as there are now far more persons with formal legal education than in the past when Justices of the Peace were first used.

California formerly had Justice of the Peace courts staffed by lay judges, but began phasing them out after a landmark 1974 decision in which the Supreme Court of California unanimously held that it was a violation of federal due process (under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) to allow a non-lawyer to preside over a criminal trial which could result in incarceration of the defendant. The remaining justice courts (as well as municipal courts) were eliminated by the passage of Proposition 220 in June 1998, which merged all lower courts within the state judicial branch into the superior courts (the courts of general jurisdiction). Under current California law, all California judges must be licensed attorneys.

Notably, the Supreme Court of the United States disagreed with California's analysis of the Fourteenth Amendment in the landmark case of North v. Russell, 427 U.S. 328 (1976), in which the Court held that Kentucky's use of nonlawyer judges in its police courts was not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws.

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Source : Wikipedia