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Criminal Law Keyed to Dressler
People v. Swain
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
On January 13, 1991, a brown van passed through the Hunter’s Point neighborhood in San Francisco, and slowed down where the eventual victim, a Samoan, Hagbam Saileele, was listening to music with his friends on the street. A young black male was driving the van when several shots were fired from the front of the vehicle. As a result, Chatman and another man fired shots from the rear of the van. The victim later died in surgery after being shot twice from behind. Later, Swain boasted to jail mates about his good aim and the fact that he had shot a Samoan kid while he was in a van. Swain later testified that he had been in the van earlier on the day of the shooting, but that he left because the smell of marijuana bothered him. Chatman admitted he had been in the van at the time of the shooting, but insisted that the original plan was to steal a car in retaliation for a previous theft. Chatman testified that he only began shooting erratically when he believed that someone outside the van was shooting at him.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.