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Secondary Authority and Case Law

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Project 1

15%

This project requires you to find secondary authority and case law relevant to the question posed from the fact pattern.

Fact pattern: You are a paralegal in a Maryland general practice law firm. The intake paralegal who screens new client phone calls has set up an appointment for a prospective client to meet with your supervisory attorney later in the day. All you know about the case is this: the client is an elderly woman whose son, Johnny, was found guilty in federal court of several crimes involving possession and distribution of narcotics. He was sentenced to confinement for 10 years but plans to appeal his conviction. His mother wants to know if it’s possible for Johnny to be released on bail pending appeal. She told the intake paralegal that Johnny told her that he might not get bail pending appeal if the court determines that he is a danger to the community.

Your supervisory attorney wants you to research secondary legal authority to get some idea of what constitutes a danger to the community when a judge has to decide whether to release someone convicted of narcotics offenses on bail pending appeal.

Research Question: What constitutes a danger to the community when a judge has to decide whether to release someone convicted of narcotics offenses on bail pending appeal?

Note 1: This is a federal court issue so make sure you use federal cases. Your cases may be from the U.S. Supreme Court case, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, or a U.S. District Court — but the case must be published (tip: look for a print citation) and must not be a memorandum opinion or an order.

Note 2: You may not use the same case for both parts. You’ll see that A.L.R. usually provides far more cases and discussion in annotations than AmJur2d does in its articles, so you may have to rethink which case you’ll use for Part 1 to ensure there is no duplication with Part 2.

Part 1 – American Law Reports

1. Provide the title, author and publication data (ALR series, volume #, start page) for one ALR annotation that has information directly relevant to the research question. Do not simply copy and paste the citation to the annotation.

2. Within this annotation, what are the title(s) and number(s) of the most directly relevant section(s)? Why is/are these section(s)directly relevant to the question?

3. Give the name of one federal court opinion referenced in one of these sections that appears to be relevant to the question. Why do you think it is relevant based on the information in the annotation?

4. Retrieve the full court opinion you referenced in #3. Explain why this opinion is relevant to your question using a quote from the summary or syllabus or the introductory part of the opinion that shows that the opinion is relevant to your question.

5. For the court opinion you referenced in #3, state where that opinion is published (reporter, volume number, start page), what court wrote the opinion, and what year was the opinion decided. Do NOT simply provide the citation to the case.

Part 2 – American Jurisprudence 2d
1. Provide the topic of an article in AmJur2d and the number and names of the sections within that topic that have information directly relevant to your question. Why are these sections relevant?

2. Give the name of one federal court opinion referenced in one of these sections that appears to be relevant to the question. Why do you think it is relevant based on the information in the encyclopedia article?

3. Retrieve and read the full the court opinion you referenced in #2. Explain why this opinion is relevant to your question using a quote from the summary or syllabus or the introductory part of the opinion that shows that the opinion is relevant to your question.

4. For the court opinion you referenced in #2, tell where that opinion is published (reporter, volume number, start page), what court wrote the opinion, and what year was the opinion decided. Do NOT provide a citation.

Category:

Description

In spite of the existent judicial guidelines regarding decisions on bailing convicts with narcotic related offenses, judges have on a number of occasions faced difficulties in making rulings for applications for release pending a court hearing. When a judge makes decisions on what constitutes dangers to the community that would inhibit the approval of bail, it is required that there is an accompanying brief statement detailing these dangers. Ratio decidendi are also a basis for judges making such decisions and, therefore, the judge in this case would be interested in looking at how Federal courts made related judgments in the past.

Part 1

The State V. Vance case is one such case that relates to granting bail for convicted narcotics and the judge exercising judgment on whether to do the release or not. The title of the case from the American Law Reports is State of Hawaii Vs. John Cance, a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of Hawaii. The details of this case from the ALR records are: volume 98, 2nd edition and right from page 27 (98 A.L.R. 2d pg 27). The author of the publication was the Chief Justice at that time, Justice Richardson and its year of publication was 13th November 1979.

Section 1 is relevant because it gives the details of the case and outlines facts that are key in making decisions for the judges. The appellant in the case is John Vance who claims that the defendant, his brother, was erroneously convicted following his arrest for peddling and using drugs. This part relates to warrantless arrests and granting of bails of convicted criminals. In part of his ruling, the presiding judge asserted that it was not the duty of an arresting officer to grant bail on all occasions but that this action or non-action would be subject to a number of factors. Some of these factors included the time, whether daytime or nighttime, that the arrest took place, and in this case of narcotics drugs usage, the condition of this individual. Another factor that would be considered in granting bails included the readiness and ability of the convict to give a satisfactory bail and this is a factor that would work for Johnny in his case.

As earlier mentioned, judicial precedence is key in the stare decisis of the presiding judge and this case is no different. The State V. Burnett case is mentioned as a related case where the Supreme Court of Missouri outlined a number of factors that would inform a presiding judge’s decision to grant or not grant bail. One such issue related to the satisfaction of the court that this individual was not a threat to public security. There were also other issues such as the willingness of the convict to meet the terms and conditions of the bail. The appellant needs to satisfy the presiding judge that the accused, especially if alleged to be dealing in narcotics, would be of absolutely no threat or danger to the community and the onus of this lies with the appellant. The details of the State V. Burnett case are 429 S.W.2d from page 239-243. The reporters of this case are Roger Queen and William Britt.

On page 942 of the ruling, the Judge claims that “…our conclusion is that the police didn’t violate the right to bail of the appellant…” This is a relevant ruling to the topic of discussion as it implicitly and explicitly states the reasons for the judgment based on the facts of the case. Therefore, the police were right in their decision to deny bail to the accused, and this is something that could possibly be extrapolated to Johnny’s case as judicial precedence form basis of decisions for many Federal cases.

Part 2

United States v. Montoya de Hernandez 473 U.S. 531 (1985)

The case involved a woman from Colombia who was detained by custom officers at the border. She was suspected of trafficking narcotics to the United States by swallowing them. However, the woman was given three options of returning to her country, accepting an x-ray or producing a monitored bowel movement. She accepted to the first option but the custom officers were not able to arrange for her to board the next flight. Therefore, she was left with no option but to agree to the remaining two options. These sections are relevant to the question since they deal with smuggling of narcotic drugs into the United States. Moreover, they deal with persons who were convicted by the Supreme Court but eventually managed to argue their case so that they could be released. They based their argument on civil rights that can also be used to set Johnny free. In precise, the sections show how one can use the same laws that imprisoned them to get out of jail. This is precisely what the defendant in this case used to get free after appealing her case (Justia, par 5, 6, 8& 9).