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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
North Carolina v. Alford
Citation:400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162.
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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 charged with murder. He was appointed an attorney, and the attorney questioned all but one of the various witnesses who the defendant said would substantiate his claim of innocence. The witnesses, however, gave statements that strongly indicated his guilt. Faced with strong evidence of guilt and no substantial evidentiary support for the claim of innocence, the defendant’s attorney recommended that he plead guilty. The prosecutor agreed to accept a plea of guilty to a reduced murder charge.
Before the plea was accepted by the trial court, the State presented evidence. After the presentation of the State’s case, the defendant testified that he had not committed the murder but that he was pleading guilty because he faced the threat of the death penalty if he did not do so. The trial court sentenced him to 30 years’ imprisonment.
He appealed, and the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found his plea of guilty invalid.
- 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.