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Criminal Law Keyed to Ohlin
Chambers v. Mississippi
Citation:410 U.S. 284 (1973)
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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 was convicted or murdering a policeman in a Mississippi trial court and the jury assessed punishment at life imprisonment. At trial, after the State failed to put McDonald, one of Chambers’ friends and a crucial witness of petitioner’s crime, on the stand, Chambers called McDonald, laid a predicate for the introduction of his sworn out-of-court confession, had it admitted into evidence, and read it to the jury. As a consequence of the combination of Mississippi’s party witness rule and its hearsay rule, Chambers was unable either to cross-examine McDonald or to present witnesses in his own behalf who would have discredited McDonald’s repudiation and demonstrated his complicity. Chambers had, however, chipped away at the fringes of McDonald’s story by introducing admissible testimony from other sources indicating that he had not been seen in the cafe where he said he was when the shooting started, that he had not been having beer with Turner, and that he possessed a .22 pistol at the time of the crime. Chambers’ defense was far less persuasive than it might have been had he been given an opportunity to subject McDonald’s statements to cross-examination or had the other confessions been admitted.
- 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.
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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.