Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Legal Research & Writing How to Brief a Case. Common Elements of Case Briefs 1. Name of case 2. Citations (including date) – from what specific source.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Legal Research & Writing How to Brief a Case. Common Elements of Case Briefs 1. Name of case 2. Citations (including date) – from what specific source."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Research & Writing How to Brief a Case

2 Common Elements of Case Briefs 1. Name of case 2. Citations (including date) – from what specific source is the case taken? 3. Procedural history – from what legal circumstances did the case originate? 4. Statement of facts – what materially happened?

3 Common Elements of Case Briefs 5. Issue(s) – what specific legal issues does the case raise? 6. Answer(s) 7. Reasoning - What legal reasoning informed the court's decision? What legal reasoning informed the court's decision? What rules of law, for example, did it apply? What rules of law, for example, did it apply? How did it interpret legal principles, documents? How did it interpret legal principles, documents? How did it construe the facts? How did it construe the facts? 8. Holding - what decision was made? (i.e., In support of which side did the court hold?)

4 Case Citation: A State Appellate Court Case

5 Case Citation: U.S. Supreme Court Case

6 Example of a Case Brief Case Name: Minnesota v. Dickerson Case Name: Minnesota v. Dickerson Citation: 508 U.S. 366 (1993) Citation: 508 U.S. 366 (1993) Procedural History: Defendant Dickerson was convicted of the crime of possession of a controlled substance. Upon appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the conviction. The Minnesota Attorney General appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed. Procedural History: Defendant Dickerson was convicted of the crime of possession of a controlled substance. Upon appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the conviction. The Minnesota Attorney General appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed.

7 Example of a Case Brief (contd) Facts: During routine patrol, two police officers spotted Dickerson leaving an apartment building that one of the officers knew was a crack house. Dickerson began walking toward the police but, upon making eye contact with them, reversed direction and walked into an alley. Because of his evasive actions, the police became suspicious and decided to investigate. They pulled into the alley and ordered Dickerson to stop and submit to a pat-down search. The search revealed no weapons, but one officer found a small lump in Dickersons pocket, which he examined with his fingers and determined, after the examination, that it felt like a lump of cocaine in cellophane. The officer then reached into Dickersons pocket and retrieved the lump, which turned out to be a small plastic bag of crack cocaine. Dickerson was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Facts: During routine patrol, two police officers spotted Dickerson leaving an apartment building that one of the officers knew was a crack house. Dickerson began walking toward the police but, upon making eye contact with them, reversed direction and walked into an alley. Because of his evasive actions, the police became suspicious and decided to investigate. They pulled into the alley and ordered Dickerson to stop and submit to a pat-down search. The search revealed no weapons, but one officer found a small lump in Dickersons pocket, which he examined with his fingers and determined, after the examination, that it felt like a lump of cocaine in cellophane. The officer then reached into Dickersons pocket and retrieved the lump, which turned out to be a small plastic bag of crack cocaine. Dickerson was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

8 Example of a Case Brief (contd) Issue(s): Was the seizure of the crack cocaine valid under stop and frisk? Issue(s): Was the seizure of the crack cocaine valid under stop and frisk? Answer: No. A frisk that goes beyond that allowed in Terry v. Ohio in stop and frisk cases is not valid. Answer: No. A frisk that goes beyond that allowed in Terry v. Ohio in stop and frisk cases is not valid.

9 Example of a Case Brief (contd) Reasoning: In this case, the search went beyond the pat-down search allowed by Terry because the officer squeezed, slid, and otherwise manipulated the packets content before knowing it was cocaine. The evidence obtained is not admissible in court. Reasoning: In this case, the search went beyond the pat-down search allowed by Terry because the officer squeezed, slid, and otherwise manipulated the packets content before knowing it was cocaine. The evidence obtained is not admissible in court. Holding: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court that held the seizure to be invalid. Holding: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court that held the seizure to be invalid.

10 Elements of Good Case Briefs They use complete sentences. They use complete sentences. They do not overquote from the opinion. They do not overquote from the opinion. They do not include unnecessary, distracting citations. They do not include unnecessary, distracting citations. They are brief, ideally one or two pages in length. They are brief, ideally one or two pages in length.

11 Tips on Briefing Cases Before you brief a case, read the entire case all the way through. Before you brief a case, read the entire case all the way through. During your first reading, skim the headnotes and the case, and focus on the parties and the relief sought. During your first reading, skim the headnotes and the case, and focus on the parties and the relief sought. Figure out what happened in the lower courts and what the reviewing courts decision is. Figure out what happened in the lower courts and what the reviewing courts decision is. Look for clues in the courts opinion. Look for clues in the courts opinion. Look up any words that you dont understand. Look up any words that you dont understand.

12 Tips on Briefing Cases Use a Case Brief Form Use a Case Brief Form

13 Tips on Briefing Cases Try to summarize cases using the following guidelines: Try to summarize cases using the following guidelines: PartMaximum Number of Words 1. Case Name and Citation+/ Procedural History of the case+/ Statement of Facts in the case +/ The Issues presented by the case, +/- 25 each each stated as a one-sentence question each stated as a one-sentence question answerable only by yes or no answerable only by yes or no 5. Answers to the Issues+/- 25 each 6. Summary of the courts Reasoning on the Issues+/- 200 each 7. Holding - The courts resolution of the case+/- 25

14 Tips on Briefing Cases Develop your own shorthand to lessen the burden of writing. Some tried and true shorthand symbols include the following: Develop your own shorthand to lessen the burden of writing. Some tried and true shorthand symbols include the following: π Plaintiff Contract π Plaintiff K Contract Δ Defendant P Property T Torts DR Family Law CC Commerce Clause EP Equal Protection DP Due Process A1 First Amendment CComplaintx,xcCross, cross-complaint AppAppealAttyAttorney c/aCause of ActionCertCertiorari w/Withw/oWithout re:Regardingv,vs.Versus, as opposed to

15 Tips on Briefing Cases Shorthand symbols (contd): Shorthand symbols (contd): DepDeposition, deponent J, JmentJudgment JNOVJudgment notwithstanding the verdict SJSummary judgment S/FStatute of frauds S/LStatute of Limitations SDP Substantive Due Process SCt Supreme Court (of the United States) DCt (#) District Court (What # Court) CtApp (#) Court of Appeals (What # Court)

16 Tips on Briefing Cases Summarize only the Issues, Answers, and Reasonings that are relevant to your Research Problem. Summarize only the Issues, Answers, and Reasonings that are relevant to your Research Problem.

17 Types of Cases

18 Smith v. Jones – Plaintiff v. Defendant. Smith v. Jones – Plaintiff v. Defendant. In re Smith – not adversarial in nature (e.g., bankruptcy, probate, etc.). In re Smith – not adversarial in nature (e.g., bankruptcy, probate, etc.). State (or United States) v. Smith – criminal proceeding. State (or United States) v. Smith – criminal proceeding. In re Johnny S. – (i.e., no complete name) – matters involving minors. In re Johnny S. – (i.e., no complete name) – matters involving minors.

19 Types of Cases Ex rel. Smith – a case instituted by the government on behalf of a state but instigated by a private party in interest. Ex rel. Smith – a case instituted by the government on behalf of a state but instigated by a private party in interest. Ex parte Smith – one side only; without contest. Ex parte Smith – one side only; without contest. Complaint of M.V. Vulcan – maritime case. Complaint of M.V. Vulcan – maritime case. United States v. (identification of property) – forfeiture action seeking title to property. United States v. (identification of property) – forfeiture action seeking title to property.

20 Types of Judicial Opinions

21 Majority opinions – more than half the judges or justices agree. Majority opinions – more than half the judges or justices agree. Dissenting opinions – opinions of the minority who disagree with the result. Dissenting opinions – opinions of the minority who disagree with the result. Concurring opinions – opinions that agree with the result of the case, but not with the reasoning. Concurring opinions – opinions that agree with the result of the case, but not with the reasoning. Plurality opinions – result reached, but no common legal reasoning. Plurality opinions – result reached, but no common legal reasoning.

22 Treatment of Precedents Overruled – expressly overrules all or part of the cited case Overruled – expressly overrules all or part of the cited case Limited – restricts application of cited case Limited – restricts application of cited case Criticized – disagrees with reasoning/result of cited case Criticized – disagrees with reasoning/result of cited case Questioned – questions the continuing precedential value of cited case Questioned – questions the continuing precedential value of cited case Distinguished – differs from cited case, usually because of different facts Distinguished – differs from cited case, usually because of different facts

23 Outlining Rules of Law

24 A Rule of Law A statement that explains the test for deciding a particular legal issue. A statement that explains the test for deciding a particular legal issue.

25 Common Rule Structures 1. A conjunctive test; 2. A disjunctive test; 3. A factors test; 4. A balancing test; 5. A rule with exceptions; 6. A rule with no subparts.

26 A Conjunctive Test A test with mandatory elements A test with mandatory elements To prove a burglary, the state must prove all of the following elements: To prove a burglary, the state must prove all of the following elements: - Breaking - Breaking - Entering - Entering - A dwelling - A dwelling - Of another - Of another - In the nighttime - In the nighttime - With the intent to commit a felony therein. - With the intent to commit a felony therein.

27 A Disjunctive Test A test that sets out alternative grounds, either of which would establish a particular result. A test that sets out alternative grounds, either of which would establish a particular result. A lawyer shall not collect a contingent fee in either of the following kinds of cases: A lawyer shall not collect a contingent fee in either of the following kinds of cases: - a criminal matter - a criminal matter - a divorce - a divorce

28 A Factors Test A test that sets out a flexible standard guided by identified criteria (factors), no one of which would be dispositive alone. A test that sets out a flexible standard guided by identified criteria (factors), no one of which would be dispositive alone. Child custody shall be decided according to the best interests of the child, considering the following factors: Child custody shall be decided according to the best interests of the child, considering the following factors: - the fitness of each parent - the fitness of each parent - the placement of the childs siblings - the placement of the childs siblings - the degree of disruption that would result - the degree of disruption that would result - any other relevant factors - any other relevant factors

29 A Balancing Test A test that balances countervailing considerations against each other. A test that balances countervailing considerations against each other. A party must respond to interrogatories unless the burden of responding substantially outweighs the requesting partys need for the information. A party must respond to interrogatories unless the burden of responding substantially outweighs the requesting partys need for the information.

30 A Balancing Test With Factors A party must answer interrogatories unless the burden substantially outweighs the need. A party must answer interrogatories unless the burden substantially outweighs the need. - The burden is measured by: time & effort time & effort cost cost privacy concerns privacy concerns - The need is measured by: importance importance availability from other sources availability from other sources

31 A Rule With Exceptions A lawyer shall not prepare any document giving the lawyer a gift from a client except in situations where: A lawyer shall not prepare any document giving the lawyer a gift from a client except in situations where: - the gift is insubstantial, or - the gift is insubstantial, or - the client is related to the lawyer. - the client is related to the lawyer.

32 A Rule With No Subparts To be valid, a will must be signed. To be valid, a will must be signed.

33 Signals of Structural Information And And Or Or Either Either Include Include Limited to Limited to except except Unless Outweighs All Other Shall may

34 Hints For Outlining Rules Follow traditional principles of outlining; Follow traditional principles of outlining; Read word-by-word and phase-by-phrase; Read word-by-word and phase-by-phrase; Notice whether the subparts are exclusive; Notice whether the subparts are exclusive; Paraphrase except for the key terms; Paraphrase except for the key terms; Ask what a party would have to prove to show that the rules requirements are met or not met; Dont be chained to the rules articulated lettering or numbering scheme Convert layered negatives

35 Types of Judicial Decisions

36 Affirmed – affirms the lower courts decision of the case Affirmed – affirms the lower courts decision of the case Reversed – reverses the lower courts decision Reversed – reverses the lower courts decision Modified – modifies or changes the lower courts decision Modified – modifies or changes the lower courts decision Remanded – sends the case back to the lower court for action Remanded – sends the case back to the lower court for action Vacated – vacates or withdraws the lower courts decision Vacated – vacates or withdraws the lower courts decision


Download ppt "Legal Research & Writing How to Brief a Case. Common Elements of Case Briefs 1. Name of case 2. Citations (including date) – from what specific source."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google