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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Miller
United States v. Sylvia Mendenhall
Citation:446 U.S. 544 (1980)
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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:
Two DEA agents stopped Mendenhall (defendant) as she disembarked from a plane because her conduct appeared to be characteristic of a person carrying narcotics. After briefly questioning Mendenhall, the agents learned that she had been in California for only two days and had flown to Detroity with an airline ticket under another name. One of the agents asked Mendenhall if she would accompany him to the airport DEA office about 50 feet away from where they were speaking, and she followed him. There, the agent asked Mendenhall if she would allow a search of her person and bag, informing her that she had the right to decline the search. Mendenhall responded, “Go ahead.” A search of her person revealed two small packages, one containing heroin.
- 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.