How has common law influenced today’s criminal justice in the United States?

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Common law is a term in law that traces its origins back to England and was introduced in the 12th century. Common law refers to a legal system that depends on previous rulings or precedents to make decisions on new and similar cases. Thus, a decision to a case is determined based on existing decisions concerning cases of a similar nature. Decisions in a case determined to be different from previous cases form the case law or precedent for similar future cases.

The system found its way to the United States and remains active in some jurisdictions, especially in the southwestern states. However, it should be noted that a blend of civil law and common law is used in the United States. Civil law applies to cases where statutes are available, while common law is applicable in instances where statutory laws remain silent or are unavailable.

Currently, criminal cases are exclusively determined based on statutory laws at the federal level following the Supreme Court determination in United...

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