USA Law & FBI- History, the law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitution,
the foundation of the federal government of the United States. The Constitution sets out the boundaries of federal law, which consists of acts of Congress, treaties ratified by the Senate, regulations promulgated by the executive branch, and case law originating from the federal judiciary.
USA Law & FBI- History
The United States Code is the official compilation and codification of general and permanent federal statutory law.
Federal law and treaties, so long as they are in accordance with the Constitution, preempt conflicting state and territorial laws in the 50 U.S. states and in the territories.
However, the scope of federal preemption is limited because the scope of federal power is not universal. In the dual-sovereign system of American federalism (actually tripartite because of the presence of Indian reservations), states are the plenary sovereigns, each with their own constitution, while the federal sovereign possesses only the limited supreme authority enumerated in the Constitution. Indeed, states may grant their citizens broader rights than the federal Constitution as long as they do not infringe on any federal constitutional rights.
Thus, most U.S. law (especially the actual “living law” of contract, tort, property, criminal, and family law experienced by the majority of citizens on a day-to-day basis) consists primarily of state law, which can and does vary greatly from one state to the nex.
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Law schools in the US are part of public or private universities that grant Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees. The Juris Doctor program generally lasts three years for full-time students and four years for part-time students. The first year of law school is generally considered to be the most difficult because of the core classes, exams, and the Socrates method.
The Socrates method is a method used in most law school classes in which the professor cold calls on students to state a case or respond to a case-based question. This intimidates many students, particularly international students, who might be afraid to speak up in class, but most international students do just fine.
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The USA Patriot Act is a law passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, giving law enforcement agencies broad powers to investigate, indict and bring terrorists to justice. It also led to increased penalties for committing and supporting terrorist crimes.
An acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,” this anti-terror measure was chiefly designed to lower the probable cause threshold for obtaining intelligence warrants against suspected spies, terrorists, and other enemies of the U.S.
The United States and most Commonwealth countries are heirs to the common law legal tradition of English law. Certain practices traditionally allowed under English common law were expressly outlawed by the Constitution, such as bills of attainder and general search warrants.
As common law courts, U.S. courts have inherited the principle of stare decisis. American judges, like common law judges elsewhere, not only apply the law, they also make the law, to the extent that their decisions in the cases before them become precedent for decisions in future cases.
The actual substance of English law was formally “received” into the United States in several ways. First, all U.S. states except Louisiana have enacted “reception statutes” which generally state that the common law of England (particularly judge-made law) is the law of the state to the extent that it is not repugnant to domestic law or indigenous conditions.
Some reception statutes impose a specific cutoff date for reception, such as the date of a colony’s founding, while others are deliberately vague. Thus, contemporary U.S. courts often cite pre-Revolution cases when discussing the evolution of an ancient judge-made common law principle into its modern form, such as the heightened duty of care traditionally imposed upon common carriers.
Second, a small number of important British statutes in effect at the time of the Revolution have been independently reenacted by U.S. states. Two examples that many lawyers will recognize are the Statute of Frauds (still widely known in the U.S. by that name) and the Statute of 13 Elizabeth (the ancestor of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act).
Such English statutes are still regularly cited in contemporary American cases interpreting their modern American descendants.
However, it is important to understand that despite the presence of reception statutes, much of contemporary American common law has diverged significantly from English common law.
The reason is that although the courts of the various Commonwealth nations are often influenced by each other’s rulings, American courts rarely follow post-Revolution Commonwealth rulings unless there is no American ruling on point, the facts and law at issue are nearly identical, and the reasoning is strongly persuasive.
Early on, American courts, even after the Revolution, often did cite contemporary English cases. This was because appellate decisions from many American courts were not regularly reported until the mid-19th century; lawyers and judges, as creatures of habit, used English legal materials to fill the gap.
But citations to English decisions gradually disappeared during the 19th century as American courts developed their own principles to resolve the legal problems of the American people. The number of published volumes of American reports soared from eighteen in 1810 to over 8,000 by 1910.
By 1879 one of the delegates to the California constitutional convention was already complaining: “Now, when we require them to state the reasons for a decision, we do not mean they shall write a hundred pages of detail. We not mean that they shall include the small cases, and impose on the country all this fine judicial literature, for the Lord knows we have got enough of that already.”
Today, in the words of Stanford law professor Lawrence Friedman: “American cases rarely cite foreign materials. Courts occasionally cite a British classic or two, a famous old case, or a nod to Blackstone; but current British law almost never gets any mention.”Foreign law has never been cited as binding precedent, but as a reflection of the shared values of Anglo-American civilization or even Western civilization in general.
Opponents of the Act argue it effectively lets the U.S. government investigates anyone it sees fit, colliding directly with one of the U.S.’ most cherished values: citizens’ rights to privacy. Questions of misusing government funds arise when limited resources are used in tracking American citizens, especially those moving overseas.
It is unclear what federal authorities plan to do with information discovered through tracking public records, raising concerns about the government’s autonomy and power.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), formerly the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency.
Operating under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to/ both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.
Although many of the FBI’s functions are unique, its activities in support of national security are comparable to those of the British MI5 and the Russian FSB.
Unlike the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has no law enforcement authority and is focused on intelligence collection abroad, the FBI is primarily a domestic agency, maintaining 56 field offices in major cities throughout the United States, and more than 400 resident agencies in lesser cities and areas across the nation.
At an FBI field office, a senior-level FBI officer concurrently serves as the representative of the Director of National Intelligence.
Despite its domestic focus, the FBI also maintains a significant international footprint, operating 60 Legal Attache (LEGAT) offices and 15 sub-offices in US embassies and consulates across the globe.
These foreign offices exist primarily for the purpose of coordination with foreign security services and do not usually conduct unilateral operations in the host countries.
The FBI can and does at times carry out secret activities overseas, just as the CIA has a limited domestic function; these activities generally require coordination across government agencies.
The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, the BOI or BI for short. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. The FBI headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, located in Washington, D.C.
In 1896, the National Bureau of Criminal Identification was founded, which provided agencies across the country with information to identify known criminals. The 1901 assassination of President William McKinley created a perception that America was under threat from anarchists.
The Departments of Justice and Labor had been keeping records on anarchists for years, but President Theodore Roosevelt wanted more power to monitor them.
The Justice Department had been tasked with the regulation of interstate commerce since 1887, though it lacked the staff to do so. It had made little effort to relieve its staff shortage until the Oregon land fraud scandal at the turn of the 20th Century.
President Roosevelt instructed Attorney General Charles Bonaparte to organize an autonomous investigative service that would report only to the Attorney General.
Bonaparte reached out to other agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, for personnel, investigators in particular. On May 27, 1908, the Congress forbade this use of Treasury employees by the Justice Department, citing fears that the new agency would serve as a secret police department.
Again at Roosevelt’s urging, Bonaparte moved to organize a formal Bureau of Investigation, which would then have its own staff of special agents.
J. Edgar Hoover as FBI Director-
J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director from 1924 to 1972
J. Edgar Hoover served as FBI Director from 1924 to 1972, a combined 48 years with the BOI, DOI, and FBI. He was chiefly responsible for creating the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, or the FBI Laboratory, which officially opened in 1932, as part of his work to professionalize investigations by the government.
Hoover was substantially involved in most major cases and projects that the FBI handled during his tenure.
But as detailed below, his proved to be a highly controversial tenure as Bureau Director, especially in its later years. After Hoover’s death, the Congress passed legislation that limited the tenure of future FBI Directors to ten years.
Early homicide investigations of the new agency included the Osage Indian murders. During the “War on Crime” of the 1930s, FBI agents apprehended or killed a number of notorious criminals who carried out kidnappings, robberies, and murders throughout the nation, including John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, Kate “Ma” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.
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Other activities of its early decades included a decisive role in reducing the scope and influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Additionally, through the work of Edwin Atherton, the BOI claimed success in apprehending an entire army of Mexican neo-revolutionaries under the leadership of General Enrique Estrada in the mid-1920s, east of San Diego, California.
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Hoover began using wiretapping in the 1920s during Prohibition to arrest bootleggers. In the 1927 case Olmstead v.
United States, in which a bootlegger was caught through telephone tapping, the United States Supreme Court ruled that FBI wiretaps did not violate the Fourth Amendment as unlawful search and seizure, as long as the FBI did not break into a person’s home to complete the tapping.
After Prohibition’s repeal, Congress passed the Communications Act of 1934, which outlawed non-consensual phone tapping, but did allow bugging. In the 1939 case Nardone v. United States, the court ruled that due to the 1934 law, evidence the FBI obtained by phone tapping was inadmissible in court.
After the a 1967 case Katz v. United States overturned the 1927 case that had allowed bugging, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control Act, allowing public authorities to tap telephones during investigations, as long as they obtained warrants beforehand.