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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Cottman v. State
Citation:886 A.2d 932.
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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:
The defendant and Ms. Benson arranged for a drug deal with an undercover police officer. Benson stood next to the driver’s window. The defendant stood at the driver’s mirror and leaned toward the driver’s window, approximately two to three feet from the police officer. Benson asked the police officer whether he was a police officer, and he replied that he was not. The defendant then inquired: “Are you sure you’re not police?” The officer repeated his denial.
The defendant walked to the front of the police vehicle and looked up and down the street. The officer said that lookouts “commonly traveled with drug dealers in that area,” and during drug transactions, “will keep a lookout to try to identify any police that are in the area.” According to the officer, the defendant’s actions were consistent with a drug dealer’s lookout.
While the defendant was standing at the front of the vehicle, Benson asked the officer what he wanted. The officer responded that he wanted $20 worth of cocaine, and Benson retrieved a small bag of cocaine from her mouth. He received the drugs and drove away. Two to three minutes later, he returned and both the defendant and Benson were arrested.
The defendant was searched, but no drugs or money was found. The defendant was convicted of multiple drug offenses, including possession of cocaine.
- 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.