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Criminal Procedure keyed to Weinreb
Florida v. Bostick
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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:
Police officers boarded a bus on route to Atlanta from Miami and discovered cocaine in a suitcase belonging to Terrance Bostwick (“Mr. Bostwick”). The police officers approached Mr. Bostwick without an articulable suspicion. The officers identified themselves as narcotics agents, inspected his ticket which matched his identification, but still asked Mr. Bostwick’s permission to search his bags. The majority concentrated on two facts. First, “the police specifically advised Bostick that he had the right to refuse consent.” Second, “at no time did the officers threaten Bostick with a gun.” The police arrested Mr. Bostwick and charged him with trafficking in cocaine. He moved to suppress the cocaine arguing that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The trial court denied Mr. Bostwick’s motion to suppress and he then pled guilty, but reserved the right to appeal the motion to suppress ruling. The Florida District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling, but certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court. The “Florida Supreme Court reasoned that Bostick had been seized because a reasonable passenger in his situation would not have felt free to leave the bus to avoid questioning by the police.” The court ruled “categorically that an impermissible seizure result[s] when police mount a drug search on buses during scheduled stops and question boarded passengers without articulable reasons for doing so, thereby obtaining consent to search the passengers’ luggage.” In other words, “the Florida Supreme Court adopted a per se rule that the Broward County Sheriff’s practice of ‘working the buses’ is unconstitutional.” Because the opinion was limited to busses, “police in Florida, as elsewhere, may approach persons at random in most public places, ask them questions and seek consent to a search, but they may not engage in the same behavior on a bus.”
- 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.