Case law often takes time. The actions of those in the field occur in seconds and those on the bench may take days, weeks, months, even years, analyzing and forming an opinion of that action. You should expect to spend a great deal of time reviewing, often multiple times, a court decision. As judges often have a great deal of time when writing decisions, as opposed to those in the field who must often must rely instinctively and on past training to take immediate action, judicial opinions are often long and drawn out. While the length and volume may pose a hurdle, generally the writing style poses a greater hurdle. This style is often very subtle and complicated as key words, phrases, or points are frequently glanced over on a first reading. It is up to you identify the core of the controversy and accurately identify the court’s ruling. This involves summarizing and condensing in brief and concise form the nature of the issue at hand, the judicial opinion, and the ruling (Krislov, 1972).
Weeks 3, 5 and 8, you will be required to submit a case brief of the assigned case. Each brief represents your analysis of the assigned case. Each brief is worth 16% of your overall grade in the course. Grades for these papers will reflect a combination of form, logic, flow, grammar, spelling, APA format, and demonstrated understanding of principles. These case briefs of 4-6 [double spaced] pages each, when completed, should help your develop your critical thinking/analysis skills. These must be submitted during the week assigned. Late papers will result in the automatic loss of a letter grade.
A very good reference, entitled How to Brief a Case, addressing the pertinent content of a brief but not the form or sequence to be used in this class can be found on the John Jay College website ( https://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/research/ ).
Utilize the Brief Template format provided. All attachments must be submitted in Word format. No other formats are accepted as all faculty may not be able open the attachment and thus not be able to grade it. If you see a numerical score of “1” for the brief, this indicates the faculty member was unable to open your attachment and you must resubmit your work in Word format for a grade. Your work is considered late and late penalties apply until your work is submitted in the proper format to faculty.
Krislov, S. (1972). Judicial process and constitutional law. Boston, MA: Little Brown & Co.
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