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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
People v. Pointer
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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:
Ruby Pointer (Defendant) was the mother of two young children, Jamal and Barron. Defendant followed a strict macrobiotic, low-calorie diet and made sure her children did as well, despite repeated warnings from various doctors of the dangers of such a diet for children. Doctors asked Defendant to stop the diet for both herself and her children and to cease breastfeeding. Defendant refused to listen, and eventually, she brought Jamal to Dr. Rao, who had him admitted to the hospital, because he was near death due to malnutrition. Even during Jamal’s hospitalization, Defendant would sneak him the dangerous macrobiotic food. Once released, Jamal was placed in foster care. Defendant subsequently abducted Jamal and went to Puerto Rico, where she was later arrested. Upon the family’s return to California, doctors found that both children were severely underdeveloped, and Jamal had experienced permanent brain damage, resulting from the forced diet. Defendant was charged and convicted of violating Penal Code § 273 and § 278.5, which punish the infliction of physical or mental suffering on children within a person's custody. Defendant was sentenced to five years of probation, participation in a counseling program, exclusion from visits with her children, and a condition that she not conceive a child during the probationary period. Defendant appealed, arguing that the prohibition on conception was an unconstitutional infringement upon her fundamental rights to privacy and procreation.
- 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.