Criminal law, differing from civil law, is a branch of law concerned with punishment of individuals who commit crimes. Usually the prosecution of the people who commit crimes is conducted by governments through state attorneys in their judicial structure. The burden of proof is on the governments and the standard of proof in a criminal trial gives the prosecutor a much greater burden than the plaintiff in the civil trial. The defendant must be found guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

In United States of America, each state decides what conduct to designate a crime through its own statute, therefore crimes vary across different states. It is also worth noting that The Model Penal Code provides an overview of the most common crimes, as Title 18 of the United States Code provides a list of all federal crimes. Only the government may initiate a criminal case in the United States, usually through the U.S. Attorney’s office. Defendant, U.S. Attorney judge and grand jury constitutes a criminal trial as the principal actors of the process. U.S. Attorney represents the United States in most court proceedings, including all criminal prosecutions. The grand jury reviews evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney and decides whether the defendant is guilty or not, while the judge decide and render the sentence of the crime upon the verdict of the grand jury.

Agenda Item: ‘State of Oregon v. Robert Miller‘