- Term Papers and Free Essays


Essay by   •  March 5, 2011  •  3,744 Words (15 Pages)  •  1,067 Views

Essay Preview: Law

Report this essay
Page 1 of 15

On October 2, of 1995, the clerk in the most watched trial in American history read the following verdict.

In the matter of the people of the state of California versus Orenthal James Simpson, case number BA097211. We the jury in the above-controlled action, find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187A a felony, upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being, as charged in Count 1 of the information.

She further stated,

The Superior court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, In the matter of the people of the state of California versus Orenthal James Simpson. We the jury in the above entitled action, find the defendant Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187A, a felony upon Ronald Lyle Goldman a human being, as charged in count 2 of the information. We the jury in the above entitled action, further find the special circumstances that the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, has in this case been convicted of at least one crime of murder of the first degree, and one or more crimes of murder of the first and second degree to be not true.

The O.J. Simpson trial was probably one of the most watched criminal trials in American history. It was a trial motivated by race and money, which polarized America by accentuating the differences between individuals in society.

But in retrospect the individual beliefs of Americans, were irrelevant then, and are perhaps even more insignificant now. What is relevant is that twelve jurors who sat in the jury box during the duration of the trial, and based on the evidence presented to them reached a unanimous verdict that O.J. Simpson could be found without guilt.

The purpose of a jury is to give a party, an opportunity to be heard by his peers, in which they will decide whether the party in question can be held culpable. The dilemma in a jury trial is finding a jury who is impartial, individuals who are willing to shed the biases which they have fostered for a life. This is what we call American justice.

In a democracy such as America, we are blessed to coexist in a system which affords every person the same opportunity, but at times in the American justice system it seems that democracy is not always present, and justice does not always prevail because of a lack of a moral basis.

From the annals of law there has always existed a moral code which is used as a basis for legal decision making. Legal justice from its inception has sought to rely on morality as its foundational basis for deciding the law. To understand the law, and the intricacies of its system of operating, one must understand what law is, and how law is formulated. To understand morality in law, an individual must comprehend the basis for which morality is applied to legal principles. The purpose of this research paper is two-fold, it consists of defining what law is, and also more importantly it consists of showing the nexus that exist between morality and law.

Jurisprudence can be defined as the study of law or the system of laws, the science or philosophies of law. In Jurisprudence individuals such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbes sought to describe what is meant by the term law, by using the principles of Natural Law.

John Locke espoused what he felt Natural Law to be, he stated,

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent. The natural liberty of man is free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of Nature for his rule.

The concept of Natural Law which John Locke espouses is predicated upon the propensities of human nature to determine a system of governing. John Locke states, "Natural law sees humanity as a part of a natural order, and humanity must fit through the observance of law both natural and positive." John Locke believed that an understanding of human nature would elucidate the derivative of law. This nature he espoused was essential in defining what law is, and its applicability in society.

John Locke believed that the law of nature was inherent in each individual that individuals were not compelled to adhere to a system of set rules, but their system of law was dictated by their own desires. He stated in the Second Treatise of Government,

Man being born, as have been proved, with at title to perfect freedom, and uncontrolled enjoyment of all the right and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is his life, liberty, and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to judge of and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offense deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion requires it.

Law according to John Locke can be defined as that which is formulated by an innate standard of ethical behavior that society possesses. John Locke's system of law subscribes to the belief that individuals in society do not need to rely upon a supreme being as their basis for determining law in society, but only need to rely on themselves to establish an ethical basis.

It is widely known that the Natural Law philosophy has imputed its foundation to a basis of morality. But this morality differs from a traditional understanding of morality. Natural Law from John Locke's perspective is derived from his fundamental understanding of what justice should entail. This comprehension is what he deems morality to be. He understands that there would be no law if each individual did not advocate a set of moral precepts which he adheres to. But rather than attribute this basis for morality to a supreme being, John Locke defines morality as that which is developed through the mechanisms of reason. This is how his reasoning of law is defined. This is how law, from his perspective is developed.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary a social contract can be defined as a,

Agreement or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the 'state of nature' to form the society in which they now live. The theory of such a contract, assumes that men at first lived in a state of anarchy in which there was no society, no government, and no organized coercion of the individual by the group.---Locke made the social contract the basis of his advocacy of popular sovereignty, the idea that the monarch or government must reflect the will of



Download as:   txt (20.9 Kb)   pdf (203.1 Kb)   docx (16.9 Kb)  
Continue for 14 more pages »
Only available on