Author: uslawessentials

What is Obstruction of Justice?

Obstruction of justice in the United States means an act committed with the intention to interfere improperly with the administration of law. 18 U.S.C. § 1505 makes it a felony to interfere with a pending proceeding of a department or agency of the US government.   This statute also makes it felony to interfere in a Congressional investigation. 18 U.S.C. § 1503 criminalizes interference with a juror (including a member of a grand jury) or government official in a federal case. Some ways that a defendant might obstruct justice would be by lying to a government investigator, falsifying evidence,...

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What are Interrogatories?

Interrogatories are a discovery device.  During the discovery phase of a civil litigation the parties share and acquire evidence regarding the case. Interrogatories are written inquiries one party sends to the other party.  Often, but not always, interrogatories are in the form of a question.  Interrogatories might ask a party to describe an accident or to name witnesses.  The party receiving the interrogatory must usually respond to the interrogatories in writing. Please keep in mind that rules for interrogatories can vary from state to state and also between federal court and state court.  Interrogatories in the federal courts are...

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What does “national law” mean in the United States? Is it the same as federal law?

In the United States, national law and federal law are the same thing.  National laws are enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. Because of  federalism, power is divided in the United States between the national government based in Washington, D.C. and state governments.  Both the state and national governments have the power to pass laws.  For example, New York State can pass a law that criminalizes certain types of conduct,  such as robbery, and the United States federal government can pass laws that would criminalize certain types of conduct, such as smuggling illegal goods into the country.  Here is a video on federalism:     Recognizing Federal and State Laws There are some ways to recognize federal and state laws. First, federal laws typically have a recognizable  popular name and a citation.  Popular name just means the name politicians give the law so people can recognize it.  For example, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But citation tells you where the law was published and that will always inform you whether the law is a federal law or not.  Federal laws are published in the United States Code, abbreviated as USC. For example, let’s say you see a  law cited as: 18 USC § 2113 This tells you that the law is a federal law because it is in...

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