Length: your minimum target should be around six (6)double spaced, 12 point font substantive pages,in response to the two (2) situations below. I will give you a substantial point haircut for anything less than six pages. There is no “upper” limit, but I won’t accept anything that starts to resemble a legal treatise/term paper.
Best practices.Try to do at least one (1) rough draft first, and then edit it. Pay attention to grammar, usage, paragraph and sentence structure in that draft. Read it aloud. Use action verbs and strong nouns, and try to eliminate adverbs and use minimal adjectives. Use active voice as a default setting. Use a narrative form, rather than bullet points or lists, etc.
Minimum mechanics standards. You may use a traditional essay format with in-text citations, MLA or APA works cited page etc. especially if you are using outside sources such scholarly articles, law review articles, books, etc. or you can use footnotes; however, the page target does not include footnotes, works cited pages, etc. Any references to caselaw; however, either as a primary source/ example cited for a proposition (at the end of a sentence or within the sentence), or if you are quoting from one or paraphrasing, must be in full proper citation form. Otherwise, try to paraphrase rather than use direct quotes where possible. Don’t quote me; use general concepts from the Modules in your general knowledge and apply it.
Hints. Week 3 materials will guide your success. Content, Discussions are all valuable; use the major cases you had to look up for Week 3 as primary sources, and articles or other research as secondary. Try to use the cases listed in the course Content as primary sources, and use articles, etc. as secondary.
Rubrics: review the rubric attached to this assignment to make sure all areas meet the requirements
Avoid long block quotes, etc., cut and paste from sources
Use your own words and analysis as an expert
Quickly demonstrate the understanding of Caselaw and concepts without wasting numerous paragraphs on expositions of that “the law” was, is, and might be. The key is application.
No plagiarizing or collaboration
Spot the pertinent legal issues, ignoring the ones having nothing to do with week 3, interweaving law/concept and fact in your responses…if this, then that, then moving to the next issue or sub-issue.
Avoid strings of conclusory statements, or too much “I” or “me.
If you do outside research (sources outside of the Content & cases, e-resources, Discussion, etc.) don’t use any more than four (4) (articles, cases, laws/statutes) per situation.
Finally, show: 1. Command of key concepts, 2. Caselaw and statutes in week 3, 3. Organization, flow, clear and crisp writing, 4. Proper legal citation form; proper referencing of nonlegal sources, 5. Proper grammar, style/paragraph/sentence structure, 6. Spot issues to be resolved, 7. Analysis and Application
Format: Both formats are acceptable for CA 1:
Title (try to be creative!),then your name and date at top of the page
Holding if case, (Textual Purpose if statute)
Here’s a breakdown of the sections…
Title: Include a creative title and the name of the case or statute. For example “Chambers v. Chambers: The District of Columbia Court of Appeals scores a goal for wives seeking divorce on the grounds of too much World Cup, Not enough romance.”
Introduction: Give a summary of the subject case or statute and its main idea; then, in a separate paragraph include the main idea or thesis.
Facts: Include the factual background, how the case arose, the players, and the problems or why someone felt is necessary to pass a law.
Legal Background: List what other cases or laws that addressed (or should have been addressed) this problem or issue. What did other courts decide or other laws (state, federal, etc. if you are doing a statute) do or not do? In other words, what was the legal vibe and context before and while your case or law was decided or enacted?
Holding if case, (Textual Purpose if statute): What did the judge/judges/justices actually decide and what was their reasoning (or what did the law/the state legislators, the Congress, etc. actually say)? And, if you are doing a law, what was the purpose of the law as stated in a preamble or first lines of the text? Give a summary of any dissenting or concurring opinions of other judges (if a case and there’s a minority opinion)
Analysis: Interpret the law/statute or case decision as good, bad, or helpful in light of the Legal Background and other factors. Again, this is analysis. Did the holding address the problem or does it look like it made things worse or unclear? Did it follow older cases (precedent) or distinguish them or critique (overrule) them? Did their action make sense? Use real analysis—support the thesis statement from the Introduction. If there’s a dissent, how does it measure up to the majority opinion (if a case)? If it is a law, why did the legislators vote against the law? Did it break new ground or totally reverse old precedent?
Conclusion: Restate your thesis statement/position in a sentence or two. Add a suggestion on what might happen in the future, or a sentence on any lingering problems.
Abstract: Provide a short summary of what you have determined are the core issues in the case and your approach to the argument to follow (about one page or less).
Background: Present a detailed discussion of the history and background of the body of laws and major case precedents that form the legal foundation for addressing the questions and issues at the core of the case (about 3 to 4 pages).
Argument: Select one side of the case and present a detailed, compelling argument for that side, with support from established statutory and case law via citations (about 2 to 4 pages).
Citations: Include ample legal citations to demonstrate the breadth of your research in support of your argument. Citation format should be standard legal style, which you can see in both the legal research tutorial and in your textbook. Citations can be included either within the body of your paper or as endnotes.
ALERT: The situations are based on real-life but they are not actually real. When dealing with legal hypotheticals, you apply only the facts given and what they trigger. You do not add any material facts even if you feel those indeed come from the “real-life” situation. So don’t try to insert what you think are the real people or situations from which the hypo is based. This is different with different facts given, as an academic exercise.
Moreover, part of a real-world experience is to hack through a jungle to what is pertinent and raises the issues you studied, versus stuff that might be just surplus, distracting or irrelevant. Likewise, use analysis and not your own passions, personal attributes, or feelings/beliefs. Also, watch your tone: while informal (based on the hypothetical’s set-up), you should never be colloquial. Even though you are pals and colleagues with Yolanda (your boss, below), she is looking to you as an expert.
Consider this hypothetical:
You are an editor and legal advisor for a WebTV/digital magazine called The Buzz. It’s a news and features site for millennials and twenty-somethings based in Washington, DC. The Buzz has both original and “curated” (pulled from other sources, newspapers, web sites, etc.) content, text articles, and pictures; it also has its own youtube and Web-based video channel providing culture, politics, music segments with guests, pundits, celebrities, often hosted by the reporters who wrote the articles. Think Huffington Post Live, ESPN’s new “TheUndefeated.com” or Buzzfeed’s platform, not hot mess tabloids or TMZetc…
You are dealing with two situations. Answer both, separately.
Situation One: It’s late at night.
Earlier, around 10:45 p.m., one of your producer-writers-on air personalities named Theo Marcus, came back from a club called The Jam in Washington DC where he was covering mega hip-hop artist MisCreant’s performance at an unofficial “Homecoming Event” for Theo’s alma mater. MisCreant never made it to The Jam party, however…
Around 6 p.m. earlier that day, after an appearance on a local college campus, MisCreant and his entourage had returned to their suites at the venerable Hay-Adams Hotel across from the White House before the Jam event. Theo, upon showing his press credentials, was allowed to follow MisCreant’s motorcade back to the Hay-Adams and await MisCreant in the lobby, where he’d be granted a one-question stand-up interview and some digital video of the answer. However, once MisCreant and his entourage got off the elevator, they pushed through the waiting journalists directly out to the sidewalk, where legions of MisCreant’s mostly female adoring fans were waiting, and screamed their love for him.
Theo said he followed the group and got his camera phone and recorder ready, whereupon suddenly he saw a man he found out was named Drake Wimpy, age 21, try to get into a selfie that MisCreant was taking with two young women. When this guy Drake attempted the “photo-bomb’ and inserted himself in MisCreant’s personal space, the star yelled something like“I ain’t got time for no [derogatory word for gay men] shit,” Then, Theo heard MisCreant say, “I feel like whooping ass,” and pow! Suddenly, MisCreant smashes Wimpy in the nose; when Wimpy grabs MisCreant’s sleeve as he’s falling, MisCreant’s 6’5” bodyguard Stretch Armstrong punches an already injured Wimpy, snatches a still swinging MisCreant, and pushes him into a waiting Range Rover.
Theo said the vehicle sped off until pulled over by a DC Metropolitan Police motorcycle officer and a uniformed Secret Service squad car. Theo obtained both PDFs of the reports from MPD and the Secret Service containing Stretch’s statement that he believed his boss was being “assaulted and tussled with by an unruly, dangerous fan,” so he had to punch Wimpy and rescue the superstar. Stretch the bodyguard also stated that MisCreant “thought the fan was gay, and the Boss [what he calls MisCreant] hates it when gays try to touch him because he is straight and being gay is a sin.” The cops arrested the superstar and the bodyguard on the spot, and both expect to be bailed out by 9 am.
Theo took shots of Wimpy’s face and took a phone video interview upon identifying himself as a reporter; he spoke to Wimpy before the ambulance and other police arrived at the hotel. Wimpy said to him, “I just wanted to photobomb, ya know… but there was another dude back there—he was in the lobby with me because some of us managed to get in for autographs and pics. He says his name was Freddie or something, but I didn’t push or touch MisCreant on purpose… that guy Freddie shoved me into MisCreant, because I was hearing him on the phone, then babbling to himself about how he was mad MisCreant didn’t call him, some crap like that. I’d heard the dude mumbling again like he was nervous or crazy before the entourage came out that he and MisCreant hooked up whenever MisCreant’s in DC. I got no clue what that was all about because next thing I know I’m getting pushed into the picture, not just photobombing, so I’m gonna try to smile and have fun… then kapow. MisCreant and that big sucker are beating on me, calling me the f-word…”
Theo said he checked around to see if there was a Freddie in the crowd. Literally, no one wanted to be interviewed about the actual assault unless they could just smile and say they were there and take selfies and post to Instagram. However, a doorman at the Hay-Adams and a hotel security guard told Theo on the record that while they had no clue who “Freddie” was, it was MisCreant who assaulted Wimpy, not the other way around and that they did notice Wimpy somehow being pushed forward, not lunging toward the star to be in the selfie. They did point to a young woman whom they said was visibly upset (rather than reveling in the drama like the other fans and young people on the street). She declined to be identified or photographed, but Theo confronts her anyway. On the record, yet anonymously, she said: “Yeah Freddie, he’s my friend. He took off. He doesn’t want trouble. He usually visits MisCreant in Virginia to have sex.” Then, she ran away and hailed a cab.
Theo Marcus — as a witness not a reporter — gave the only plain vanilla details or vague descriptions of the event to other media outlets and the DC Police, fearing the other media outlets would “scoop” The Buzz…
…so you and Buzz editor-in-chief Yolanda Cruz are now discussing the story with Theo. You’ve already done a quick WebTV spot on the incident that night, scooping BET, VH1/MTV as well as Harvey Levin’s TMZ, and there are TMZ “stringers” (contract videographers/reporters/paparazzi ) texting Theo every minute for gossip.
You see the TMZ.com video of MisCreant being brought into the police station around 9 p.m. to be booked. He’s yelling to local reporters and TMZ stringers: “Tell my family I am goin’ to rehab. Gotta get well!”
Theo shows you his notes and says here’s the angle: that MisCreant’s well documented violent tendencies and decision to go to rehab—indeed his documented physical abuse of two former girlfriends (no charges filed)—is all attributable to his inability to deal with being a rich 21 year old…and in the “closet.” Theo says he has “think piece” background on continuing homophobia among hip-hop stars. Moreover, he’s dug up quotes from MisCreant to go with Stretch’s where MisCreant has referred to a very conservative family upbringing, and that if he “disappointed” them with a “lifestyle,” it would break their hearts. Never mind that family is dependent on him for their livelihood they administer is his “brand” and work with his manager and agent; nor did they seem to abandon him when he punched his two ex-girlfriends.
That night, Theo has yet to find Freddie, but has uncovered tweets, which he guesses are from bogus fan accounts by males who claim they have had sex with MisCreant. Still, there are at least 135 tweets going back four years on that subject, and one references an MTV interview video which can be found on youtube from 2014 where MisCreant says gay marriage might be considered an “abomination” However, in that same interview, he makes lewd references to wanting to see lesbians have sex.
Yolanda gets an email alert from one of your wire service sources, Sneuters, out of London, which you use along with the AP (Associated Press). Apparently, just 24 hours before the Washington DC incident with Drake Wimpy, there was a similar altercation involving another young superstar named Justin Weenerin the UK, where the victim, Nigel Patterson, is quoted “I am to Justin what Freddie in America is to his boy.” No one knows who “his boy” is nor did Patterson elaborate on this coincidental use of the name “Freddie.” Patterson said this to paramedics on the scene and several bystanders as he lay injured from the beating he himself received from Weener’s bodyguards. He slipped into a coma upon arrival at a London hospital. Nothing more can be gotten from him; you have no affiliates to monitor his situation because gone are the days of foreign bureaus, thanks to corporate consolidation and cutbacks by greedy media giants.
Yolanda calls a recuperating Drake Wimpy in the hospital as a fact-check; Wimpy stands by his statement that a man named “Freddie” was irate, angry at MisCreant “I guess for letting him down somehow, I got the feeling,” and this person shoved him forward when all he wanted was a photobomb, and that’s what started the brawl.
Yolanda looks at you and says, “This will blow the others out of the water. CNN, HuffPo, the networks, even TMZ.”
You reply, “Yeah, but we may have legal exposure. Might need more fact-checking and some background on this stuff in the UK.”
She sucks her teeth and sneers,“Oh come on. You think Fox News, CNN, CBS, Rolling Stone…do they really fact check beyond what fits the story? No, they shoot first, ask questions later, and here I think we should shoot.”
You say, “Well, we aren’t them.”
She cuts you off and says, “Okay. I hear you. So you are now wearing your lawyer hat so as of 15 minutes ago everything is privileged and confidential. Stay here all night, use are Lexis and Westlaw connections if you have to. By 8 a.m. I want something in writing giving me an explanation of the possible issues as it applies here to MisCreant if we run Theo story as-is based on the info he has, and any defenses we might have, etc.”
You grind away all night. She comes back about an hour or so before MisCreant is scheduled to appear in front of a magistrate. What do you tell her?
Situation Two: MisCreant situation handled, Yolanda calls you at home:
“OK you told me that this old U.S. Supreme Court case…was it Cox or something? It gives us the right to report on information contained in public records and available in open court, right? Well, our friend Theo Marcus strikes again! I didn’t have a chance to talk to him before the producer posted the package
“Oh crap,” you moan. “Give me the bad news.”
“Well, you heard about the two high school football players on trial in Maryland, Finnbar Flynn and D’Antonio Washington, being tried as adults, right? One’s the son of former Mayor Baltimore mayor Suzie Baltimore-Washington, and the other is the nephew of Baltimore Mavens quarterback Brady Flynn? Brady was the one who never got suspended from the League for punching his ex-wife.The ex-wife is Finnbar’s step-mom…”
“Wow,” you reply. “Yeah, Chantal Flynn, the model? Stays out of the limelight.”
Yolanda continues. “Don’t you watch TV? Chantal is now on the number one reality show on VH-1, ‘Diva Loud Football Ex-Wives.’ I’d say she’s what you law types call a public figure—a celebrity. Now here’s the gist: allegedly the two youths ‘roofied’ a young girl at some school party and had one of their friends shoot phone video of them assaulting her. They texted or used Snapchat to relay it to others on the team.The only reason anyone saw it was due to the hacker group, our friends at ‘Unknown,’ who leaked stuff to us, the cops, the state’s attorney, after school officials, and the coach who sandbagged us.
Theo used the girl’s full name in the package posted on the site just now, based on what was said in open court! She was 15 at the time of the attack, and now she is 16. Theo knows we don’t like to publish names or victims of rape or sexual assault, as a matter of company policy, unless it is extremely newsworthy. Plus, the trial isn’t even over yet. We especially don’t want to use the names of anyone under 18. And your paralegal just told me that there’s a Maryland law [not real, just in hypo] saying that any ‘media outlet’ which publishes the name of a victim of sexual assault without consent shall be fined $10,000 per occurrence. I think it’s unconstitutional, and I bet you find another case or two which gives us some wiggle room, right? But it gets worse.”
“Worse?” you reply.
“Uh-huh. Both of these kids are out on bond during the trial. During last weekend’s court recess, Finnbar left town; D’Antonio’s parents said their son was ‘in seclusion.’ No one, not the defense attorneys, even the prosecutors and cops would tell anyone in the media where the boys were. The court issued a statement that both defendants had on ankle trackers, that signals were clear, and that the boys were checking in from an undisclosed location within the state. Well, through a tip from ‘Unknown,’ Theo discovered that Finnbar remains very close to auntie, not his dad. With digging, Theo found that Chantal owns a seven-bedroom beach house in Ocean City, Maryland. Theo traveled there to stake it out; he saw her home was part of a gated community. However, everyone’s sharing the same strip of Atlantic shore. Nothing’s fenced off on the beaches, and apparently the State of Maryland helps the property owners maintain the shoreline jointly. Theo was on a section of the beach belonging to the neighboring community. You can get on the beach from their parking lot. Theo parked on a public lot across Coastal Highway then walked onto that neighboring community’s lot. There was a sign saying NO BEACH ACCESS but nothing that said ‘Private Property.’ He moved down the shore—deserted—to a spot close to where he indeed saw a ‘No Trespassing’ sign in the sand and fencing in the dunes. He saw a lot of folks partying, took iPhone pics and vids of Chantal, Finnbar and D’Antonio, laughing and dancing with adults and teenagers alike. What jerks, eh? Finnbar’s and D’Antonio’s ankle tracking bracelets are clear in the footage and pics.
There was a flag near a set of beach chairs occupied by folks who didn’t look like they were at the party, just members of that community who’d set up near the party to sunbathe. The flag looked like it was planted by Finnbar’s friends and teammates: on it was a cartoon of a woman’s buttocks in thong bikini bottom, and lewd references to date rape and deviant sex. Theo just posted the videos, largely unedited, which he took of the beach, including that flag, on our site.”
Yolanda sighs and admits that last night The Buzz published a short piece by Theo revealing a 20-second portion of a sex tape also hacked by “Unknown.” It is clearly a partially-nude Chantal, inviting what appears to be a teenage male roughly answering to D’Antonio Washington’s description into bed with her, with what sounds like Brady Flynn’svoice whispering commands to his ex-wife. Theo does not mention D’Antonioas the paramour in the piece but does say in the final paragraph: “It would seem the Flynns have reconciled. Does this make a mockery of the star quarterback’s nephew’s rape trial, and the NFL’s domestic abuse and ‘conduct’ policies?”
Yolanda asks you to present in writing what The Buzz’s possible legal exposure is, arising from this set of facts. What do you tell her? [do not include any analysis of cloud hacks by Unknown—that’s for a later date].