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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
Smith v. Cain
Citation:565 U.S. 73, 132 S.Ct. 627, 181 L.Ed.2d 571.
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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 killing five people during an armed robbery. At the defendant’s trial, a single witness, Larry Boatner, linked the defendant to the crime. Boatner testified that he was socializing at a friend’s house when the defendant and two other gunmen entered the home, demanded money and drugs, and shortly thereafter began shooting, resulting in the death of five of Boatner’s friends. He claimed that he had been face to face with the defendant during the initial moments of the robbery. No other witnesses and no physical evidence implicated the defendant in the crime.
The jury convicted the defendant of five counts of murder. The defendant obtained files from the police investigation of his case, including those of the lead detective. The detective’s notes contain statements by Boatner that conflict with his testimony identifying the defendant as a perpetrator. The notes from the night of the murder state that the defendant could not describe the perpetrators. The detective also made a handwritten account of a conversation he had with Boatner five days after the crime, in which Boatner said that he couldn’t see faces and that he could not identify any of the perpetrators of the murder.
The defendant requested that his conviction be vacated, arguing that the prosecution’s failure to disclose the detective’s notes violated this Court’s decision in Brady v. Maryland. The state trial court rejected Smith’s Brady claim, and the Louisiana Court of Appeal and Louisiana Supreme Court denied review.
- 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.