HOW THE COURTS WORK: A PLAIN ENGLISH EXPLANATION OF THE AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM
By Marilyn Englander and Curtis Karnow
How the Courts Work provides a plain English, straightforward explanation of the American court system. The authors take the reader step by step through both a civil and a criminal trial, revealing what actually happens in a courtroom from the perspective of the lawyers, the parties, and the judge.
Along the way, the reader will learn the difference between federal and state courts, and between the work of trial judges and appellate judges such as those on the Supreme Court. The authors explain how judges get their jobs, basic constitutional rights that apply in criminal cases, plea bargaining, significant pre-trial procedures, and the difference between criminal and civil law issues.
Importantly, this book eliminates much of the mystery of courtroom proceedings. It is an invaluable guide for anyone who has a case, or is thinking about having a case, in our courts. The book provides an overview of the entire litigation process, and so meets an urgent need for law students, paralegals, and new lawyers who have never handled a case from beginning to end.
Marilyn Englander received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University, where she met co-author Curtis Karnow. She went on to complete an interdisciplinary PhD in history, anthropology and religious studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. After 25 years of teaching humanities courses at middle school through university-level, she established her own school, REAL School Marin, in Marin County, California. Her teenage students focus on personal and civic responsibility as well as global citizenship through studying American history, government and conflict resolution.
Curtis Karnow is a judge on the San Francisco Superior Court. He is the author of FUTURE CODES: ESSAYS IN ADVANCED COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND THE LAW (Artech House), contributory co-author of E-BUSINESS AND INSURANCE (CCH) (chapters on Internet security, copyright, trademarks and trade dress, indirect liability on the internet), INTERNATIONAL E-COMMERCE (CCH) (privacy & security), NETWORK SECURITY: THE COMPLETE REFERENCE (McGraw-Hill), and CYBERCRIME: DIGITAL COPS IN A NETWORKED ENVIRONMENT (NYU Press). He is consulting editor on ACTION GUIDE: HANDLING EXPERT WITNESSES IN CALIFORNIA COURTS (CEB); and CALIFORNIA CIVIL DISCOVERY PRACTICE (CEB). Topics of his law review articles range from artificial intelligence to summary judgment and game theory. Judge Karnow is married to the other author of this book, and together they have two children, Benjamin and Jean.