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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Dressler
United States v. Armstrong
Citation:517 U.S. 456, 116 S.Ct. 1480, 134 L.Ed.2d 687.
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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 defendants were indicted on certain drug and firearm charges. In response to the indictment, the defendants filed a motion for discovery or for dismissal of the indictment, alleging that they were selected for federal prosecution because they are black. In support of their motion, they stated that in every one of the same charge cases closed by the office during the prior year, the defendant was black.
The Government opposed the motion, arguing, among other things, that there was no evidence or allegation “that the Government has acted unfairly or has prosecuted non-black defendants or failed to prosecute them.” The District Court granted the discovery motion. It ordered the Government provide a list of all cases from the last three years in which the Government charged both cocaine and firearms offenses, to identify the race of the defendants in those cases, to identify what levels of law enforcement were involved in the investigations of those cases, and to explain its criteria for deciding to prosecute those defendants for federal cocaine offenses.
When the Government indicated it would not comply with the court’s discovery order, the court dismissed the case. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that a defendant is not required to demonstrate that the government has failed to prosecute others who are similarly situated in a selective prosecution case.
- 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.
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- 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.