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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
Morissette v. United States
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
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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:
Morissette (defendant), entered an Air Force bombing range and took several spent bomb casings that had been lying around for years exposed to the weather and rusting and sold them.Morissette was indicted for violating 18 U.S.C. § 641 which made it a crime to “knowingly convert” government property.Morissette admitted he knew he was taking Air Force property but honestly believed the government had abandoned the casings. The trial judge rejected Morissette’s defense and instructed the jury that “[t]he question on intent is whether or not he intended to take the property.” Morissette was convicted and he appealed. The court of appeals affirmed and made the assumption that Congress meant for the term “knowingly convert” to mean simply an intentional exercise of dominion over property not belonging to the individual. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.
- 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.