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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Messerlian
Citation:832 F. 2d 778 (3rd Cir. 1987)
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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:
Mr. Topolosky got into a car accident with Mr. Velazquez. When Mr. Velazquez and his passengers went to see if Mr. Topolosky was okay they smelled alcohol on him and saw his two children in the car, but he was without injury. When the officers arrived on the scene, Messerlian and McClelland, they arrested Mr. Topolosky after smelling the alcohol on him and he was placed in the officer’s cruiser without injury to his person or face. The officers then went to speaker to Mr. Velazquez and his passengers along with Mr. Topolosky’s children when Mr. Topolosky kicked out the left window of the car. In response, Officer Messerlain entered the cruiser and struck Mr. Topolosky three or four times on his face and neck with a long, black flashlight. The Officers then finished their interviews and drove Mr. Topolosky to the station. Before the officers left, Mr. Velazquez and his passengers observed Mr. Topolosky motionless in the back seat of the cruiser with blood running from his mouth and face. When the officers got to the station, Mr. Topolosky’s face was puffy and bloody, and he was unconscious. The supervising officers order Messerlian to remove the handcuffs and bring Mr. Topolosky to the hospital. Mr. Topolosky was pronounced dead upon arrival.
After the jury at trail rendered an unanimous guilty verdict, the defendant appealed, arguing that the jury instructions the District Court judge erroneously rendered allowed circumstantial evidence to prove his specific intent which was not allowed for these federal crimes.
- 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.