Brief Check

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subgdubb
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Brief Check

Postby subgdubb » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:42 pm

Greetings my fellow law school geniuses. As per my school's reasonable work code, I must submit an outline of reasonable quality for professorial review, assessment, feedback, and comment. As such, I have included below an outline for my extremely difficult criminal law course. Please asses and leave any comments, if need be. Ciao.

→ Powell v. Texas
• Supreme Court of the United States
• 392 U.S. 514 (1968) -- (pg 914)

Parties:
• P: State of Texas
• D: Powell (Appellant)

Procedural History: case goes to trial, no jury. Ruled as matter of law that chronic alcoholism is not a defense to charge of public intoxication. Found him guilty, fined $50. Now appealing in Supreme Court because petty conviction and no way to appeal in Texas.

Facts:
• Appellant arrested and charged with being found in a state of intoxication in a public place.
o Violates Texas Penal Code, Art. 477 (1952), reads: “whoever shall get drunk or be found in a state of intoxication in any public pace, or at any private house except his own, shall be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars”
• Expert Witness (Dr. Davis Wade, Physiatrist):
o Outlined disease concept of alcoholism
• Ongoing debate about whether alcohol is physically addicting or merely psychologically habituating.
• KEY: in any case, disease concept of chronic alcoholism is an involuntary drinker who is powerless not to drink and looses control over his drinking.
o → after examining appellant, found to be chronic alcoholic who after reaches intoxication cant stop drinking and reaches this point b/c of uncontrollable compulsion to drink.
o Cross-examination: Admitted when sober Powell knows difference between right and wrong
• ** also said appellant’s first drink when he was sober is an act of his free will…
• Alcoholics have a compulsion which is not completely overpowering but a strong influence … this combined with belief they can handle heavy drinking “causes their judgment to be somewhat clouded.”
• D (Appellant):
o States long history of drinking problems… many arrests for drunkenness
o Testifies unable to stop drinking, when drunk has no control over actions and can’t remember them later, but doesn’t get violent…. Does not remember getting arrest for this charge.
o → on cross-exam, says he had one drink morning of trial but was able to stop drinking! Shows voluntariness of his actions.

Issue: Is the Texas public intoxication statue unconstitutional (against 8th and 14th amendments) because it holds a person criminally liable for a status (in this case, being an alcoholic)?

Summary of Arguments:
• D (Appellant): chronic alcoholism is a disease which suggests lack of voluntary action (actus reus), falling under logic from Robinson v. California (can’t make status (status of addiction) illegal) …
o → this would make the Texas law unconstitutional.
o Submitted following finding of facts
• (1) That chronic alcoholism is a disease which destroys the afflicted person’s will power to resist to constant, excessive consumption of alcohol.
• (2) That a chronic alcoholic does not appear in public by his volition but under a compulsion symptomatic of the disease of chronic alcoholism.
• (3) That Powell … is a chronic alcoholic who is afflicted with the disease of chronic alcoholism.
o KEY: The above find of facts suggest chronic alcoholism is a disease that makes people consume alcohol, and because of this, don’t appear in public voluntarily.
o This would make D’s conduct involuntarily and apply to entire statute, which revolves around being intoxicated in public.
• P: “the state concerned itself with a brief argument that appellant had no defense to the charge because he is ‘legally sane and knows the difference between right and wrong.’”
o Only way he could get out of this would be to argue he was insane b/c didn’t know right from wrong… he doesn’t meet these requirements.

Holding: No, Texas law is not unconstitutional because it does not hold people criminally liable for a status. In reality, it holds people criminally liable for committing a socially reprehensible action.

Rule of Law:
• No rule of law b/c no plurality opinion (no precent). But the below could be used for persuasive argument:
• It is not unconstitutional to impose punishment upon public behavior which might create health and safety issues.
• Robinson V. California ruling designed to prevent punishment for crimes that have not been committed. It does not extend protection for individuals who commit crimes in public due to compulsions (etc), only from punishing on the basis that that are prone to compulsive, uncontrollable behavior.

Court’s Reasoning and Social Implications:
• Justice Marshall, (joined with Black, Harlan). This is a plurality decision. There is a judgment, but no majority opinion for why the affirmed. Its persuasive, but its not precedent.
o (1) Court knows too little about drinking that led to Powell’s arrest, his drinking problem, or alcoholism in general.
• No agreement in medial profession about if alcoholism is a disease.
• Powell had a compulsion to drink, and still had some free will…
 Only had compulsion to drink (from expert witness) and could stop drinking after one drink (as shown in cross-exam of D)
• court believes state of knowledge on alcoholism makes them unable to make a far reaching rule about it.
• KEY: no way to know if alcoholism makes him showing up in public involuntary…
o (2) Alcoholism is a problem and the criminal justice system may not be the best way to deal with treatment.. (bottom of 916-top 917)
• when state uses police powers to help you, there are no limits to the loss of liberty.
• You could be held for years if your mental illness doesn’t respond to treatment, if what got you in jail was a single event…
• Think about proportionality… being drunk in public does not justify being in jail for treatment for a long time…
• KEY: proportionality at question: punishment doesn’t meet severity of a petty crime.
o (3) KEY: case does not fall into logic of Robinson V. California b/c defendant not convicted for being a chronic alcoholic but for being in public while drunk…
• Policy argument:
 Statue imposes criminal sanction which is bad for society, it does not convict for “being an addict, being a chronic alcoholic, being ‘mentally ill or a leper’”
• → Robinson v. California is about only inflicting criminal penalties when the accused has committed an act or has engaged in behavior that society wants to prevent…
 KEY: Robinson does not have anything to do “with the question of whether certain conduct cannot constitutionally be punished because it is, in some sense, involuntary or occasioned by compulsion.”
• Policy argument: expanded Robinson in a way that suggested it was about the externalities of involuntary action or compulsions would allow it to bar liability for people who have a compulsion to murder etc (top pg 918).

Judgment or Order: Affirmed… overturn State ex Rel. Harper v. Zegeer (W. Va. 1982)

Concurring/Dissenting Opinions:
• Justice Black, Justice Harlan, concurring
o States should not be constitutionally required under cruel and unusual punishment clause to inquire as to what part of a defendant’s personality is responsible for his actions and excuse anyone whose actions were in a psychological sense the result of a compulsion.
• Justice White, concurring in result
o Chronic alcoholic should not be punished for drinking or being drunk, but can be punished for being in public while drunk (at least where it was not shown it was impossible to resist drunkenness and avoid public places while intoxicated)
• In case at hand, this was not proven to be true
o Still, this is more in line with the dissenting opinion. It reads Robinson v. California about punishing about status, not ensuring that crimes are only punished if they are committed.
• Fortas, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, dissenting
o Trial court’s findings should be accepted
o Criminal penalties shouldn’t be inflicted on someone for condition they are unable to change.
o Conviction in this case constitutes cruel and unusual punishment b/c trial court found D to be a chronic alcoholic which could not resist excessive consumption of alcohol and did not appear in public by his own volition.

2009 Prospective
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Re: Brief Check

Postby 2009 Prospective » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:00 pm

Whoa, that thing is incredibly way too long to be of use.

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kalvano
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Re: Brief Check

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:49 pm

Wait, what? You have to submit a brief for professorial review?

subgdubb
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Re: Brief Check

Postby subgdubb » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:56 pm

kalvano wrote:Wait, what? You have to submit a brief for professorial review?


Yes, or as I like to say, no in the negative. The reasoning behind the reasoning of our school's reasonable work code is three fold. It, in its capacity as requirement upon first year law students,

(a) fosters academic excellence by ensuring students follow the proper case briefing procedure;
(b) buildings professor-student relationships through cross-polination of ideas, thoughts, and ruminations; and
(c) ensures that professors are communicating the material in the most effective manner reasonable under an objective standard.

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kalvano
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Re: Brief Check

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:02 pm

What school do you go to?

dougroberts
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Re: Brief Check

Postby dougroberts » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:05 pm

If your briefs are this long, good luck finishing all your reading assignments.
Briefs during 1L should be 1pg. Now that I am a 2L, my briefs are half a page.

dakatz
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Re: Brief Check

Postby dakatz » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:09 pm

If anything, a brief this long shows a complete lack of understanding. No, doing one this long does not show all the things you were able to pick up and point out. It just shows that you weren't able to distinguish the most important pieces of information. (I'm not saying OP, or his brief in particular, just in general) My briefs are going closer to a page, and I know they can be shorter if I work on it. But yeah, this is most certainly too long. Not only will it waste time making ones like this, but I doubt you will be able to understand the case as easily if you have so much extraneous stuff clouding the few actual important things in there

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kalvano
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Re: Brief Check

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:16 pm

subgdubb wrote:Yes, or as I like to say, no in the negative.



I bet you are the life of the party.

Anyway, I brief cases. It doesn't really matter much, but I use it as an understanding check. If what I write tracks with what the professor said we should get out of the case, good on me.

But yours is a giant mess.

Case - the name of the case.
Courts - is it an appellate court? Federal, state? What year was the case? What did the trial court decide? Did the appeals court affirm, reverse, remand? It's easy to find, and several of my professors ask about it, so I like to have it for quick reference.
Facts - 3-5 lines. Just the important stuff.
Issue - What are they looking at?
Reasoning - How did the court justify their decision? Again, 3-5 lines.
Rule - What is the ultimate take-away?


It shouldn't be more than a page.

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goosey
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Re: Brief Check

Postby goosey » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:41 pm

my briefs fit in a 1/3 margin of one notebook page, handwritten. that brief is way too long

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johnnyutah
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Re: Brief Check

Postby johnnyutah » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:01 pm

subgdubb wrote:Powell v. Texas, 392 U.S. 514 (1968)
Appellant arrested and charged with being found in a state of intoxication in a public place. Issue is whether the Texas public intoxication statue unconstitutional (against 8th and 14th amendments) because it holds a person criminally liable for a status (in this case, being an alcoholic)? Court holds Texas law is not unconstitutional because it does not hold people criminally liable for a status. An alcoholic, no matter how addicted, is not forced by his disease to appear in public. Insofar as this is an element of the crime, alcoholism =/= criminal violation even assuming that getting drunk is involuntary. Therefore, it is not the status of being an alcoholic that is punished.

Fixed this for you (at least assuming your original brief was correct and I understood what you intended it to communicate).

edit: I also want to know what school you go to

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uwb09
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Re: Brief Check

Postby uwb09 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:32 pm

good god

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zeth006
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Re: Brief Check

Postby zeth006 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:50 pm

johnnyutah wrote: I also want to know what school you go to

Cogburn87
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Re: Brief Check

Postby Cogburn87 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:38 pm

.
Last edited by Cogburn87 on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Drew2010
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Re: Brief Check

Postby Drew2010 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:53 pm

Read Cases... underline holding... enjoy life. Also, for extra time saving, read during classes where paying attention is a waste of time.

For future applicants please post where you to go to school...

smittytron3k
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Re: Brief Check

Postby smittytron3k » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:03 pm

googled "reasonable work code," the only hit is this thread

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chicoalto0649
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Re: Brief Check

Postby chicoalto0649 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:05 pm

Elaborate flame is both elaborate and successful

Renzo
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Re: Brief Check

Postby Renzo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:23 pm

chicoalto0649 wrote:Elaborate flame is both elaborate and unbelievably successful

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traehekat
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Re: Brief Check

Postby traehekat » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:06 pm

--ImageRemoved--

Well done, sir. Well done.

RickyMack
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Re: Brief Check

Postby RickyMack » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:48 pm

Image

subgdubb
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Re: Brief Check

Postby subgdubb » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:21 pm

bump

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Brief Check

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:33 pm

subgdubb wrote:bump

You're doing it wrong.

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GeePee
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Re: Brief Check

Postby GeePee » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:53 pm

This seems like the opposite of an efficient way to brief. First of all, this had to have taken you forever. Second of all, 90% of this is crap.

My impression is that you want to try to pull out the IMPORTANT facts to the rule, and IMPORTANT black letter law. In the appropriate class, you might want to include the corresponding doctrinal groundwork as necessary (relevant statute, restatement of K's, UCC, MPC, FRCP, etc.). Then, if it so happens that you missed something in the case that your professor thinks is important, you amend your brief with that information in class.

Regurgitating the opinion in a manner that's almost as long does nothing for you. You would just as well reread the case. It's called a brief for a reason.

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inchoate_con
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Re: Brief Check

Postby inchoate_con » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:30 pm

goosey wrote:my briefs fit in a 1/3 margin of one notebook page, handwritten. that brief is way too long

Ha-ha, me too.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Brief Check

Postby rbgrocio » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:46 pm

dougroberts wrote:If your briefs are this long, good luck finishing all your reading assignments.
Briefs during 1L should be 1pg. Now that I am a 2L, my briefs are half a page.



Mines were about 1 page during 1L. Now that I'm a 2L they are, at most, a short paragraph. So yeah... you should not be doing such huge briefs




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