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Constitutional Law Keyed to Chemerinsky
DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services
Citation:489 U.S. 189 (1989)
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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.
- 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:
DeShaney was born in 1979, and his parents were divorced in 1980. His father was awarded custody and remarried. DeShaney’s step mother reported abuse in 1982 during his father’s second divorce. In 1983, DeShaney was admitted to the hospital with bruises and abrasions. He was placed in temporary custody of the hospital, but the “child protection team” decided there was insufficient evidence for child abuse. Instead, they placed DeShaney in a preschool program and recommended counseling for his father.
One month later, DeShaney was again treated at the hospital for suspicious injuries. The caseworker again decided there was insufficient evidence of abuse, and instead, made monthly home visits. In November 1983, DeShaney was admitted again.
In March 1984, when he was four, DeShaney’s father beat him so badly that he was in a coma. Emergency brain surgery revealed a history of traumatic brain injuries. His brain damage left him severely retarded, and he was expected to spend then rest of his life in an institution.
His father was then tried and convicted of child abuse. DeShaney’s mother sued on his behalf under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They argued that the State deprived DeShaney of his liberty interest in freedom from unjustified intrusions on personal security by failing to protect him from his father.
- 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.