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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
People v. Smith et al.
Citation:31 Cal.4th 1207, 80 P.3d 662, 7 Cal.Rptr.3d 559.
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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:
An undercover narcotics officer was informed that defendant Edaleene Smith was involved in drug trafficking. The undercover officer met with Smith and told Smith that he wanted to “rip off” a major drug dealer he worked for, and that the amount of cocaine involved would be between 30 and 100 kilograms. Smith assured Officer Martinez that she made her living that way, that she knew exactly what she was doing, and that she always used the same experienced three-person crew (co-defendants Waymond Thomas and Obed Gonzalez). The officer gave Smith the address of a house and informed her that 85 kilograms of cocaine would be located in a van parked in an adjoining garage.
Prior to the arrival of defendants, the officers had placed 85 kilograms of cocaine in the van parked in the garage. The key was left in the ignition of the van. When defendants arrived, Smith remained in the car, while Thomas and Gonzalez entered the house and then the garage. As Thomas and Gonzalez began backing the van out of the garage, the police activated a remote-controlled switch that shut off the engine. Thomas and Gonzalez, as well as Smith, were then arrested.
A jury convicted defendants of attempting to transport cocaine, and the jury found true an allegation that the quantity of cocaine involved exceeded 80 kilograms. All of the defendants received a 25 year sentence enhancement based on the quantity involved.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments of conviction, but modified each defendant’s sentence by reducing the sentence enhancement from 25 years to 15 years, the enhancement terms provided for quantities of controlled substances in excess of 20, but less than 40, kilograms.
- 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.