You will prepare a report that briefs two cases and applies the law from the cases to a hypothetical fact pattern. You must include all of the elements of the brief. In addition, you must discuss what the outcome would be under the hypothetical fact pattern using the law from the case(s). (In other words, what are you going to do for your client, based upon what you have found out.)
The objective of this assignment is to help you become familiar with case briefing as a tool for presenting, analyzing, and applying case law.
The scenario for this case is as follows: (Read carefully, as each element has a particular purpose.)
You are a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Your client has just been convicted of possession with intent to sell marijuana. The case proceeded as follows, namely, the Prosecution had evidence procured under a valid warrant that included twenty full grown marijuana plants. The warrant that seized the plants had been procured with probable cause, signed by a magistrate, to search inside the house, including the attic, and properly implemented at the house of the client. In order to procure the warrant, Officer Jones had noted a possible “grow light” in the attic of your client’s house. This aroused his reasonable suspicion, based upon his years of service, so he returned on trash day, and went through the plastic bags on the curb next to your client’s premises (that area known, in legal terms, as the “curtilage” of the premises), where he found marijuana seeds and drug paraphernalia. He took these to the magistrate as evidence of probable cause, and the warrant was issued. At trial you had objected to the warrant itself, and to the search of the trash without a warrant, which would make the evidence “the fruit of a poisonous tree” and subject to supression. The Court overruled both of your objections, and your client is now doing 20 years in Maximum Security.
You want to mount an Appeal. Is there any way that you might do so? Please answer the following questions, and brief the two cases as a part of your answer for support.
1. Do you have any relief under Federal precedent? Why or why not? (note – question 1 is worth 2 points.)
2. The Commonwealth is in full accord with the Federal precedent. Why is this important? (note – worth 2 points.)
3. Is there any other State that might differ with Federal precedent? Why might you want to go to this length? (note – worth 3 points).
4. How might you use the precedents from all authorities, and what authority might give you a slight chance to prevail in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals? (note – questions 3 & 4 are worth 3 points apiece.)
(The above questions must be answered in at least Two pages.)
Cases: Federal precedent – California v. Greenwood 486 U.S. 35 (1988). (One page)
Foreign State precedent – State v. Goss 150 NH 46 (2003). (One page)
(note – each brief is worth 6 points.)
Use your own words. Do not copy word-for-word from the opinion or simply rearrange or replace words while leaving the basic sentence structure and syntax intact. In the event that limited text must be quoted directly from the case opinion, use appropriate methods (citation) to indicate that you are directly quoting from the case and cite the page of the opinion you are quoting. There will be a severe penalty assessed against anyone who extensively or inappropriately lifts text from the opinions (this is plagiarism!).
Hint: You may rely on Findlaw or Google for the purposes of this exercise. Brief Greenwood for Federal Precedent first. You have been given the precedent for MA (#3 above), but must mention it as to how (or why) you need to know this. Brief the NH (Goss) case second. Now apply your knowledge of Precedent and Authority, in the “best light” for your client. Describe the process that you will use, and the Court(s) that you will use, for your Appeal (if you think that you have a chance at all), as well as why/why not you have chosen to do so.
You will prepare a report that explains a case and applies the law from the case to a hypothetical fact pattern. In addition, you must discuss what the outcome would be under the hypothetical fact pattern using the law from the case.
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