Legal research serves as a gateway to locate cases that interpret key areas of substantive and procedural criminal law. From there, understanding how to read the case is integral to using the case for guidance on parameters. The issue is the question presented to the court for review. That question is based on whether what took place at the trial can be challenged as incorrect and impacting the outcome of the case. The appellate court, in reaching the decision, includes the law relied on as support for the decision. That includes statutory law, from legislatures, and other court rulings, where prior courts interpreted the law.
Using Lexis, searching in the U.S. Supreme Court directory, locate one case involving a criminal procedure issue. Searching law in your state, locate one case involving any criminal law issue.
In a 4–5 page paper:
- Identify the key facts from each case and the issues presented to the courts.
- Describe the laws relied on by the courts in reaching the decisions.
- Illustrate the connection between that authority and the way the courts ruled.
- Explain the interpretations of constitutional protections based on the decisions.
- Describe philosophical underpinnings and public policy influences.
- Relate the importance of conducting this case analysis to a criminal justice career.