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Criminal Law Keyed to Lee
Wisconsin v. Mitchell
Citation:508 U.S. 476, 113 S.Ct 2194, 124 L.Ed.2d 436 (1993)
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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:
A group of young black men, including Mitchell, were at an apartment complex together. They discussed a movie scene in which a white man beat a young black boy who was praying. Mitchell asked the group: “Do you all feel hyped up to move on some white people?” The group shortly thereafter saw a young white boy on the opposite side of the street. Mitchell said: “You all want to fuck somebody up? There goes a white boy; go get him.” The group proceeded to beat the boy severely (he was in a coma for four days) and stole his tennis shoes.
After a jury trial, Mitchell was convicted of aggravated battery. That offense carries a two year maximum sentence. However, Mitchell was sentenced to four years imprisonment due to the jury having found that Mitchell had intentionally selected his victim because of the boy’s race. This allowed Mitchell’s sentence to be enhanced on the grounds of the underlying offense being a hate crime.
Mitchell appealed his conviction and sentence, challenging the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s penalty-enhancement provision on First Amendment grounds. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected this argument, but the Supreme Court of Wisconsin reversed. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin held that the statute violates the First Amendment by punishing offensive thought.
- 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.