Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting Closer!

Well, today was a bitter sweet day. Today was my last Monday of college classes.... ever! Normally, I hate Mondays...but today...I loved that it was my last Monday of school. I have reflected back throughout my education and I have so many fond memories throughout my life in school...kindergarten....grade school....middle school....high school and now college. I only have four more days of classes and one final next week that is separating me from graduation. I will receive my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Criminal Justice Administration. Wow! Through out life... it seems like school takes forever and will never end...but now I realize that it didn't take that long at all. Graduation is in 11 days! YIKES! I am lucky that I have met some great friends along the way and I am also blessed with a great family that will be here to celebrate my great achievement with me. I really began to see the light at the end of the tunnel today when I picked up my cap, gown, and tassel. I have almost reached the finish line!

The more exciting thing about graduation being in 11 days....that means... leaving for London is in 12 days! That is right.....less than two weeks till I get to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. While in London, Bryson and I will be attending The Lion King in one of the many Theatres. I am so excited to see one of my favorite childhood movies performed in the theatre setting. It will almost be like completing the circle of life; from watching the movie on VHS when I was little to watching it in a different atmosphere as an adult. It is amazing to think how your perspectives can change so much in a matter of fifteen years.

Photo credit to: Wikipedia found on Google.

Well, I suppose that is enough sappiness for now. I need to prepare for one of my graduation celebrations tomorrow that will be hosted by the Justice Studies Professors. (Side-note: I sure am glad I changed my major to Criminal Justice...The Professors are awesome plus I am able to go on this educational trip! The professors are so helpful and make learning lots of fun. I am extremely appreciative of all the knowledge every one of them has taught me in my college education. OKAY emotional rant over!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are there differences in the courts of the U.K. and U.S.?

The trip to London is focused towards Criminal Justice and is my major in college, so lets discuss some differences between the courts in the United States and the United Kingdom. The courts in the United States are quite similar but a little different than those in the United Kingdom because minor criminal offenses and small civil disputes are handled by special magistrate courts in the United Kingdom. In the U.S. these cases are held in state courts almost exclusively.

There are about 430 Magistrates Courts in the United Kingdom. There is one in almost every town. The cases are heard by magistrates who might be unqualified law justices or qualified District judges. Each court also has a legally qualified clerk present to assist the magistrates. The magistrates in the United Kingdom may be just regular citizens who volunteer or can be District judges.

In the United States there are about 517 full-time and 42 part-time authorized magistrate judgeships as of March 2009. Magistrate judges are appointed by a majority vote of the federal district judges of a particular district. They serve terms of eight years if they are full-time and terms of four years if they are part-time. The magistrates may also be reappointed. Occasionally Presidents nominate magistrate judges for district judge vacancies.

In the U.S., at the federal level, criminal cases and civil cases are not heard by separate courts. At the state level, many states do have separate court systems for these two types of cases. Cases begin in lower courts (Crown Court in the U.K. and District Court in the U.S.) then move on to Courts of Appeals and are finally resolved in Supreme Court if necessary.

The U.S. does not have a "Tribunal System" like the U.K. does for certain disputes. However, there are niche courts for certain types of cases. One example is bankruptcy court is a separate type of federal court. In the U.S. parties can agree to submit to binding arbitration or mediation as a means of alternative dispute resolution in some cases. This is a less costly way to end conflicts and is less adversarial as well.

I am anxious to see the magistrate court in action while in London. I will be able to use my knowledge about the differences in the courts and apply it to a real life example while on the trip.

Dressing for London...What is appropriate?

This semester there has been a lot of discussion about people in London being more proper and dressing more formally. Some of the places we will visit we will have to wear professional clothes. One of our professors told us not to look like "tourists" with the way we dress because the way we speak will be enough for them to know we are Americans. It is important that we blend in so that we are not "targets" for pickpocketing. Since there are no guns allowed in London, pickpocketing is a common crime. Our shirts should not have any logos or writing because that is too casual and will scream "Americans". I am anxious to see while we are in London whether being an American will be a bad thing or whether all the precautions are just to prepare us. Sometimes it is better to assume the worst in hopes of having a better outcome.

If right was right, would left be right?

Over the last fourteen weeks we have learned about London and what we can expect while on our visit. One week we got to talk to Constable Watson via Skype and he was discussing how they drive on the "right side of the road". However, to us they would drive on the left side of road instead of the right side of the road. He seemed to have thought that their way of driving on the left side of the road was the "right way". I will be interested to see how their "right side of the road" will be while in London. Of course, it will be different looking to the opposite side of the road to cross streets. Ill report back later as to whether their way is the "right way" or whether our way is the "right way" after learning more in person.

Hello! Let's get this party started!

Hello, it has come that time of year where my trip to London is almost here. This blog is one of my conditions in order to receive college credit for the trip. Throughout my journey in the next month and a half or so, I will be checking in about different global and cultural issues. My first few posts will be about the global issues and differences from London and the United States. Then, while I am in London for two weeks, I will post about expanding my world view. Once I return, I will post about being a global citizen. These are the three topics I must cover, but I will post other fun blogs about what I am doing and will be sure to post lots of pictures so you can experience what I am! Sit back, relax, and explore my journey to London with me!!