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LRW1 lecture three


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LRW1 lecture three

  1. 1. Legal Research and Writing I Lecture Three Robert Mead
  2. 2. Identifying Facts <ul><li>All legal problems are made up of a collection of facts </li></ul><ul><li>After interviewing the client or witness and investigating the documents and other evidence, you know SOME of the facts </li></ul><ul><li>You also know a lot of opinions, perspectives, falsehoods, and flat out lies </li></ul><ul><li>Truth – Conformity to reality </li></ul>
  3. 3. Types of Facts <ul><li>relevant facts - does removal or change of this fact significantly alter the case? </li></ul><ul><li>explanatory facts - these facts clarify the relevant facts </li></ul><ul><li>legally unimportant facts </li></ul>
  4. 4. Gathering Facts <ul><li>Let the client of witness tell you their story – ask open-ended questions to get additional details </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for all documents, not just what the clients thinks is important </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let the client “edit” the facts </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unimportant” facts may be critical depending on the results of your research </li></ul>
  5. 5. Use of Facts <ul><li>Use facts to find published cases with similar facts (stare decisis) </li></ul><ul><li>Use facts to prove (or disprove) elements of a statute or cause of action </li></ul>
  6. 6. Identifying Legal Issues <ul><li>Look for elements of cause of action or statute while you’re doing your research </li></ul><ul><li>Look at pleadings in the case </li></ul><ul><li>Elements – the components of a claim </li></ul><ul><li>Lopez, p. 22 </li></ul><ul><li>What issue is on appeal? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the statutory elements? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Class Exercise – Self Defense <ul><li>Fact Pattern: </li></ul><ul><li>At 8:30 p.m. on December 25, 2006, Vinny Victim was celebrating Christmas as his aunt’s house in Chimayo. He had received a number of expensive gifts that year, including a new guitar and amp, which he left in the back of his pick-up truck. The truck was parked in his aunt’s driveway. After consuming a large quantity of Christmas dinner and Jack Daniels, Vinny settled in for a long winter’s nap. His dreams of Santa were disturbed by a commotion out on the lawn. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>His small cousin was screaming loudly at two men who were helping themselves to the contents of Vinny’s truck. In a dazed and drunk confusion, he rushed out to stop them. One of the men ran with Vinny’s new guitar in his arms, but the other wheeled around and rushed Vinny and his cousin. Vinny thought the man was reaching into his coat to pull a weapon, so Vinny grabbed a piece of firewood and swung it at the man. The man ducked the wood, apparently thought better of his actions, and turned to run, but Vinny fractured his skull with the back swing, killing the man instantly. The Sheriff arrested a distraught Vinny for manslaughter. Does Vinny has a claim for self-defense? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Comparing Client’s Fact with Case Law <ul><li>See pp. 18-19 </li></ul><ul><li>Read State v. Rudolfo </li></ul><ul><li>Did Vinny act in self-defense? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Homework <ul><li>pp.436-438 in the Rambeaux matter, what are the relevant facts? explanatory facts? which facts are in dispute? What are three legally unimportant facts? What are the issues? </li></ul>