The case brief should include the following major categories. I am including a link to information from LexisNexis on writing case briefs. Format the brief so I can easily identify these sections.
Facts of the Case: This is a summary of events that provide context to the issues discussed in the appeal. This most often includes a summary of events which lead to an arrest and trial of the defendant. It should also include some of the arguments made by the parties in the case which are related to the reason for the appeal. For example, a person may be arrested for possession of a controlled substance. His attorney may have argued that police conducted an illegal search and the evidence should be suppressed and not used against him during the trail. After the defendant’s conviction, this objection provides the basis for the defendant’s appeal to an appellate court. This summary should include a description of reasoning and ruling of all the lower courts involved in this case. For example, a case which has made it to the Supreme Court will have moved through more than one appellate court first. Describe each court’s decision on the issue. This summary may also include the original trial court judge’s ruling on the issue and possibly that trial court judge’s reasoning.
Procedural History: Each appellate case will have a legal basis for appeal in which one of the parties involved in the case will assert that an error was committed during the original trial. Using the example above the defendant’s attorney may argue that the conviction of his client should be reversed because of a violation of his client’s rights. Other precedents (previous cases) may be cited in making this argument. Be sure to include the precise error alleged to have been made. (e.g. 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches)
Judgment: This is the outcome of the case. The final decision handed down by the highest appellate court. Was the original outcome of the trial court affirmed, reversed, remanded, modified, etc? In addition to the ruling, including the court’s reasoning behind the ruling citing any precedent the court relied on. If there is a dissenting opinion (judges on the court who do not agree with the majority decision), please include their reasoning.
Your Thoughts and Opinion: This is where I want to hear your own opinion or ideas about the case. Make it at least a paragraph but more is better. Is this a good/bad decision? Do you think there will be unintended consequences because of this decision? You are not confined to any particular issues in this section as long as you explain and justify your opinion.
Illinois v. Wardlow 528 U.S. 119 (2000)| FindLaw