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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
Nix v. Whiteside
Citation:475 U.S. 157, 106 S.Ct. 988, 89 L.Ed.2d 123.
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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 was convicted of murder after a trial. The defendant and two others went to a man’s apartment late at night, seeking marijuana. An argument between the defendant and the man over the marijuana ensued. At one point, the man directed his girlfriend to get his “piece” and went over to his bed. According to the defendant’s testimony, the man then started to reach under his pillow and moved toward the defendant. The defendant stabbed him in the chest.
The defendant was appointed a lawyer named Gary L. Robinson. The defendant told Robinson that he had not actually seen a gun. No pistol was found on the premises. Robinson interviewed the defendant’s companions who were present during the stabbing, and none had seen a gun during the incident either.
The defendant consistently stated to Robinson that he had not actually seen a gun. However, about a week before trial, during preparation for trial, the defendant for the first time told Robinson that he had seen something “metallic” in the man’s hand. The defendant also said that “If I don’t say I saw a gun, I’m dead.” Robinson told the defendant that such testimony would be perjury and that he would advise the Court of what he was doing and withdraw from the representation if the defendant insisted on committing perjury. The defendant testified at trial that he had not actually seen a gun and was convicted.
The defendant petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel by Robinson’s admonitions not to state that he saw a gun or “something metallic.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted it, finding that an intent to commit perjury does not alter a defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel and that Robinson’s admonition to the defendant that he would inform the court of his perjury constituted a threat.
- 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.