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Family Law Keyed to Weisberg
DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services
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- 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.
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- 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 Joshua DeShaney was born in 1979, and custody of him was awarded to his father in 1980. In 1982 authorities first learned petitioner might be a victim of child abuse when his second wife complained to police. The County Department of Social Services (DSS), respondents, interviewed the father, but he denied the accusations and DSS did not pursue it further. In 1983 petitioner was admitted to a local hospital with multiple bruises and abrasions. The physician suspected child abuse and notified DSS. DSS obtained an order placing Joshua in the temporary custody of the hospital. The county convened an ad hoc Child Protection Team, which decided there was insufficient evidence of child abuse to retain petitioner in the custody of the court. The Team recommended several measures to help protect petitioner. A month later emergency room personnel again called the DSS caseworker to report that petitioner had again been treated for suspicious injuries. The caseworker concluded there was no basis for action. The caseworker made monthly visits to the home. She observed a number of suspicious injuries on petitioner’s head. She also recorded that the measures suggested were not being complied with. In November 1983 DSS was again notified that petitioner was treated for suspected child abuse by the hospital. On the caseworker’s next two visits, she was told that petitioner was too ill to see her, but DSS still took no action. In March 1984, father beat petitioner so severely that he fell into a life-threatening coma. He suffered severe brain damage and was expected to spend the rest of his life confined to an institution for the profoundly retarded. Father was convicted of child abuse.
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- 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.