Criminal Procedure keyed to Saltzburg
Wiggins v. Smith
Only StudyBuddy Pro offers the complete Case Brief Anatomy*
Access the most important case brief elements for optimal case understanding.
*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:
Petitioner Wiggins was tried and convicted for the murder of an elderly woman. He was represented by two attorneys, Nethercott and Schlaich. He elected to be tried before a judge, and was convicted. He elected to be sentenced by a jury, and received a death sentence. Nethercott first stated that the jury would hear evidence that someone other than the petitioner was guilty. She also stated that petitioner “has had a difficult life.” However, the counsel presented no evidence to demonstrate that fact. Defendant was sentenced to death. In his appeal, the petitioner challenged the adequacy of his initial counsel, arguing that the counsel had failed to investigate his dysfunctional background. The petitioner brought forth testimony from a social worker detailing the petitioner’s childhood of abuse. Schlaich testified that he did not remember retaining a social worker, instead opting for a strategy of “retry[ing] the factual case.” The trial court held that when the deci sion not to investigate is a tactical one, “there is no ineffective assistance of counsel.” This was affirmed by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal District Court, which found that the counsel should have looked further. The Fourth Circuit reversed, holding that the counsel had sufficient grounds to make a strategic decision.
- 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.