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Bill of Rights and Geoffrey’s Remedies, Including a Specific Amendment

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Jeffrey is accused of a brutal kidnapping and assault. As a criminal defendant, he will be entitled to certain protections pursuant to the Bill of Rights. Describe the Bill of Rights and which protections Jeffrey has, including the specific amendment(s) related to each of them, in your answer.

The Bill of Rights institutes individual rights against excess government action. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 142) Jeffrey is protected from self-incrimination according to the fifth amendment. He also has the right to an attorney and to have one appointed to him if he cannot afford an attorney. Another protection under the sixth amendment is the right to a speedy trial and an impartial jury. The protection from cruel and unusual punishment is stated in the eighth amendment. The fourth amendment also protects Jeffrey from any unreasonable searches and seizures. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 196-199)

Identify the primary sources of contemporary U.S. law and describe each of them.

The primary sources of U.S. law include United States Constitution and state constitutions, statutes and agency regulations, administrative law, and lastly common law. The foundation of a state or nation’s law are the constitutions. The constitution provides the legislative, executive, and judicial structure for a country. The state constitutions impose rights of citizens. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 23) Statues illustrate the general rules for society and are passed by legislatures. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 25) Rules and regulations made by federal and state administrative agencies are administrative laws. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 25) The decisions by courts that do not involve the explanation of statutes, regulations, treaties, and/or the Constitution are common law. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 26)

Reid Lawrence is running for reelection to the United States House of Representatives. During his prior term, Reid’s voting record drew the ire of Nuclear Resources, Inc. (NRI), a large corporation that removes, hauls and disposes of nuclear waste. Reid is pro-environment and is adamantly opposed to easing restrictions that would provide significant financial benefits to NRI. The company sponsors a number of television and radio advertisements that contain a number of falsehoods and run constantly in the weeks leading up to election day. For example, in order to keep the government from a shutdown, Reid decided to vote for a bill that included a last-minute provision that eliminated funding a small government supported program or the disabled, which was sponsored by an opposing party politician who wanted to advance an agenda that would privatize all programs from the disabled. NRI pays most of the costs of the advertisement which has large letters superimposed over a depiction of several disable children being helped by the existing program, which read “Does Reid Lawrence Just Not Care?” The advertisement states that it is sponsored by Compassionate citizens for a Better Future.

Is the advertisement protected speech? Why or why not? What is the best argument for each side? Can Reid sue anyone for defamation? If so who and why or why not?

Yes, the advertisement is protected speech through the first amendment. Reid can personally consider the advertisement as defamation since the advertisement hurts his reputation. However, statements of opinion are not false therefore the advertisement cannot be defamatory. The statement, “Does Reid Lawrence Just Not Care?” is one’s opinion. Others could form the opinion that he does care, and he just made a quick decision to prevent a government shutdown. Either way, it is an opinion regardless of the tarnishing the advertisement made on Reid’s reputation.

Another reason Reid cannot sue for defamation is due to his position as a public official. Public officials are to be prepared for false accusations and cannot achieve action for defamation unless actions of malice and reckless disregard of the truth are present. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 123)

Greg Jameson owns a medical marijuana dispensary in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He posted large signs touting important features of his product in the business’ windows, which covered more than 50% of the viewable area. North Las Vegas code enforcement officers ordered Greg to remove several of the signs on the ground that they violated a city code which restricted signage on dispensary windows to no more than 1/3 of the total viewable area. Greg has a substantial personal investment in the signs. Greg wants to file a lawsuit on the basis that the code in question violates his First Amendment rights.

What is the standard for this type of speech, and what is required to regulate it? What are each side’s best arguments? Who will win, and why?

The standard for this type of speech is commercial speech. Regulations on commercial speech must concern lawful activity and not be misleading. If so, the government must have considerable interest and must directly advance the government’s interest. Finally, the regulation must be narrowly tailored, meaning the laws must enforce as few restrictions as possible on First Amendment rights. This four-part test referred to as the Central Hudson test, is used by the Supreme Court when concluding if regulation of commercial speech meets First Amendment review. (“The First Amendment Encyclopedia”, Central Hudson Test, para. Greg can argue that the code violates his First Amendment rights, however, the city code had set restrictions on sizes of signage. The restrictions for the size of the advertisement does not take away from the First Amendment rights according to the Central Hudson test stated above. Since the regulation is narrowly tailored, the North Las Vegas code enforcement officers will win the case.

Please answer the following questions regarding negligence:

  1.  Explain the difference between comparative negligence and contributory negligence;
  2.  Explain how actual cause is different than proximate cause; and 3) Explain res ipsa loquitur and describe how it helps establish a negligence claim.

Contributory negligence is if a plaintiff’s injury involved any percentage of personal negligence the court would dismiss the suit. Whereas, comparative negligence allocated damages according to the defendant’s degree of responsibility. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 224)

Actual cause is a connection of fact. If the plaintiff’s injuries would not have happened “but of” the defendant’s actions, then the defendant is the cause of injury. This is referred to as the “but for” test for actual cause. Proximate cause is not too remote or unforeseeable. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 221)

Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase meaning, “the thing speaks for itself”. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 222) Res ipsa loquitur allows a jury to resolve an implication of negligence through indirect evidence. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 223)

What is the statute of frauds and why does it exist? What types of agreements are covered by the statute of frauds? If an agreement does not comply with the statute of frauds, what is the result?

The statute of frauds exists to prevent the fraud that transpires when one party tries to execute a contract that did not exist. Agreements that are proven by some writing and signed by the party are covered by the statute of frauds. If the agreement does not comply with the statute of frauds, then it is not enforceable. (Business Law and the Legal Environment, pp. 280-281)

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