Legal Writing and Legal Method
Every lawyer briefs cases differently. A case brief generally consists of a series of topic headings with the specific information from the case under each heading. Most case briefs contain similar information but the headings and their sequence may be different. Some professors have a preferred briefing format. You are only required to follow the general format as set forth below.
The following is adapted from A Practical Guide to Legal Writing and Legal Method (Dernbach, et al., 2007).
11. Comments: Include your own responses to the case here. For example, does the reasoning make sense? Is the holding consistent with other cases you have read? Is the case relevant to the question you are trying to answer? This is a good place to note connections between the case you are briefing and other cases you have read.
Sample Case Brief
Remember, most case briefs contain similar information but the headings and their sequence may be different than what is outlined above. You should include in your brief all elements that you deem necessary whether or not they are included in the sample below.
Luke Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992) Procedural History
Appealed from the trial court decision.
Luke Records, Inc., a recording label, held a contract with the musical group 2 Live Crew. This group was well known in the genre of “Rap” music, which has repeatedly been accused of incorporating “obscene” lyrics into the music. Obscene, in this sense, pertains only to the legal definition of obscenity, not what any particular person or moral code may deem obscene. Luke Records, Inc. was a Florida Corporation and Nick Navarro was the sheriff of Broward County at the time. The sheriff obtained an ex-parte injunction (this means an injunction without both parties being present at the initial hearing) granting the sheriff an injunction (a court order to “stop” doing a particular act). This injunction was served on local record stores in an effort to have the music removed from Florida retail sale. After the local Florida Circuit Court in Broward County issued the injunction, the decision was appealed to the United States District Court for Southern Florida where the Court ordered the sheriff to stop enforcing the injunction, but did, in fact, rule that the music was obscene, especially the song “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.” The sheriff appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, in Atlanta.
Is this music obscene under Florida state law and/or federal Constitution?
Obscenity must meet three part rule. Based on Supreme Court case Miller v. CA. All three parts must be met:
The burden of proof could be clear and convincing or preponderance of the evidence test: however, at the time the sheriff was granted the music, he offered nothing into evidence except a tape of the music played before the court. There was no additional evidence presented that showed an average person applying contemporary community standards would find the song appealing only to a prurient interest. Further, the sheriff failed to prove part (b) and (c) of the test as well simply because he made no attempt to enter any other testimony or evidence into consideration before the court. The sheriff failed to meet his burden, although it is well possible that had he submitted all evidence as required, he could possibly have met the test.
Case really determined by the sheriff’s failure of proof. No discussion of nature of music. No discussion of rule. No proper evidence submitted to the court.
To complete the assignment, you will need to first locate the case in the WestLaw database through the Saint Leo University Online Library. Follow the steps below and contact the university library directly if you have any technical difficulty (see the syllabus for contact info). Do not contact the eCollege Help Desk. If you have access to a local law library, feel free to obtain copies of the assigned cases there instead.
a separate password for WestLaw.
tools available, though the simplest may be “Find a document by title” under Shortcuts. This allows you to enter the names of the parties in the case. For example, to search for Brown v. Board of Education, you would type “Brown” in the first text box and “Board of Education” in the second text box.
that you entered the names of the parties correctly. You are encouraged to print a copy of the case to better assist you in completing the assignment.