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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Miller
Charles Strickland v. David Washington
Citation:466 U.S. 668 (1984)
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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:
Washington (defendant) planned and committed three groups of crimes, including three murders, torture, kidnapping, assault, attempted murders, attempted extortion, and theft. After his accomplices were arrested, Washington surrendered to police and confessed to kidnapping and one of the murders. He was indicted and the court appointed an experienced criminal lawyer to represent him. Counsel actively pursued pretrial motions and discovery, but Washington went against his counsel’s advice by confessing to the other two murders and pleading guilty to all charges.
To prepare for the sentencing hearing, counsel spoke with Washington, his wife, and his mother. However, he did not seek out character witnesses nor did he request a psychiatric examination. This was to prevent the state from cross-examining Washington and putting on psychiatric evidence of its own. Counsel also successfully moved to exclude Washington’s rap sheet and did not prepare a presentence report in order to prevent the admission of Washington’s criminal history into evidence.
The trial court sentenced Washington to death on each of the three counts of murder. Washington sought collateral relief in state court, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he argued that counsel was ineffective because he failed to move for a continuance to prepare for sentencing, to request a psychiatric report, to present meaningful arguments to the sentencing judge, and to investigate the medical examiner’s reports or cross-examine the medical experts.
- 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.