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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
Berghuis v. Thompkins
Citation:560 U.S. 370, 130 S.Ct. 2250, 176 L.Ed.2d 1098.
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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 deadly shooting occurred outside of a mall in Michigan. The defendant was a suspect and he fled. About a year later, he was found in Ohio and arrested there. An officer presented the defendant with a form that had the Miranda rights on it, and he asked the defendant to read it out loud. The defendant did so. The officer then asked the defendant to sign the form to demonstrate that he understood his rights, but the defendant declined to sign the form.
The officers began an interrogation that lasted for about three hours. At no point did the defendant say that he wanted to remain silent, that he did not want to talk with the police, or that he wanted an attorney. The defendant was mainly silent during the interrogation, but he did give a few limited verbal responses such as “yeah,” “no,” or “I don’t know.” About 2 hours and 45 minutes into the interrogation, an officer asked the defendant if he believed in God and if he prayed. The defendant said yes. The officer then asked, “Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?” The defendant answered “Yes” and looked away. The defendant refused to make a written confession, and the interrogation ended about 15 minutes later.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress the statements made during the interrogation, arguing that he had invoked his right to remain silent. The trial court denied the motion and he was convicted of murder.
- 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.