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posc 130 midterm

Terms in this set (195)

Case that establishes that necessity is not a defence to a charge of murder.

The Mignonette was a vessel lost at see for around 20 days with 4 men aboard. One of the men, Parker, decided to drink sea water, causing him to become ill and sick. After Brooks refuses to draw straws, Dudley suggests that the other men eat Parker in order to survive because Parker would probably die eventually[, and the other men had wives and families.

Dudley and Stevens silently signal to each other that they would begin eating Parker, Stephens killing him by staging him in his jugular vein.
Brooks was granted immunity as he came forward to the authorities, suggesting also that he had never assented to the pre-meditated killing of Parker despite participating in the eating.

Before this case, the court lacked jurisdiction on matters concerning canabalism

Defenses:
Necessity and the great universal Law of Preservation: The men were in a extreme special circumstance outside the elements of the law. (geographically and ethically)

Volition: 2 mens actions were not voluntary (perhaps insanity argument, though their decision making process seemed fairly rational)

Utilitarianism: utility of the group outweighs the utility of the individual. (Jeremey Benthem would suggests that this would be a case where murder is ok)

Human Frailty: This was a case of an excuse, not a justification. We know its not right (force of hunger was unbearable), but this is an excuse

Prosecution:
There was a necessity to kill, but not one person any more than another

Justice Holmes: Law should reflect public sentiment

The legal system wanted to set a precedent on matters concerning canabalism. Public perception was initially on the side of the sailors (compassion given the situation). However the legal system though it was dangerous to make an exception to murder, and set a precedent for future cases.

This case is an example of weather or not the law should be aspirational despite the fact that standards might be too difficult to adhere to.
A furniture company was selling furniture on a payment plan, where a provision exited that stated if a client defaulted on one item, the company could reposes all of the item that the client leased from them. The contract was set up in a way that did not allow the client to ever fully pay off one item. Instead, a running balance was kept on all the items they leased from the company.

The law stated that in a contract, and offer and acceptance without fraud meant that the courts could not intervene.

The problem with this case is centered around the doctrine of unconscionability, which states that the absence of meaningful choice for one party and far greater terms for the other party is wrong. To prove unconscionably requires an analysis of all circumstances surrounding a transaction

Judge Shelly Wright: stated that if unconscibability is present, the contract should be void.

In this case, William bought a stereo system worth 500$, despite living on a 280$ a month salary while supporting 7 children.

There was no precedent in this case that the Judge could sight, but ruled that the contact was unjust due to manipulate sales practices. There were extreme differences in bargaining power

The problem with this ruling is that it was made risking the entire system of contracts for one person

Natural Law proponents would suggests that the companies sales tactics were immoral, ad therefore against the law.

Historical school proponents would suggests that consensus of the public at the time was that such behavior from corporations should be illegal
The schools of Jurisprudence are ideologies that help us understand how morality, coustoms, and politics fit into the scope of the law.

Natural Law/Philosophical School:
Saint Thomas Aquinas was one major Proponent of this school (divinity*). This school suggests that Law and Morality must overlap, as one cannot exist without the other. It says that an unjust law is not law or legal system at all. There must be a link between the law and the rational character of man.

Lon Fuller, suggested that the inner core of morality must be rooted in the law

Critisims of NL:
Vague/nebulous with cultural Bias
Who deicides what is or not


Analytical/Legal Positivism: Law is tied to the state and is state enforced

John Austin was a pro pent of the command theory, which stated the laws are rules, and are only valid if they are backed by forced. Law and morality are distinct from each other. *

HLA Hart was a proponent of the rule of recognition, which is says a legal system is the union between a primary and secondary rule, where the primary rule describes the law, and is backed by a secondary rule which guides it. The secondary lets you know which primaries are real

Criticisms of LP:
Too narrow with no tolerance of morality
Its much to specific to a given state, causing conflicts with others
Religious societies and international law is not recognized
It is too fixated on the rules
There is nothing to validate the rule of recognition
It is dangerous to separate law and morality

Historical School: Relativism suggest that the law reflects the value systems of a given society

Karl von Savigny was a proponent, and suggest that the law was the consciousness of the people (vorksgeist)

Criticisms of HS:
How is common consciousness determined?
What about in a diverse society
What happens if there are two opposite, but equally supported opinions?
Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), was a writ of habeas corpus submission made in a civilian court of the United States on behalf of Lakhdar Boumediene, a naturalized citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, held in military detention by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba.[1][2][3][4] Guantanamo Bay is not formally part of the United States, and under the terms of the 1903 lease between the United States and Cuba, Cuba retained ultimate sovereignty over the territory, while the United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control.[5] The case was consolidated with habeas petition Al Odah v. United States. It challenged the legality of Boumediene's detention at the United States Naval Station military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Oral arguments on the combined cases were heard by the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007.

On June 12, 2008, Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion for the 5-4 majority, holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the United States Constitution and that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was an unconstitutional suspension of that right. The Court applied the Insular Cases, by the fact that the United States, by virtue of its complete jurisdiction and control, maintains "de facto" sovereignty over this territory, while Cuba retained ultimate sovereignty over the territory, to hold that the aliens detained as enemy combatants on that territory were entitled to the writ of habeas corpus protected in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.
trial when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant to be guilty of the charges. This may occur when members of the jury disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case. A jury can similarly convict a defendant on the ground of disagreement with an existing law, even if no law is broken (although in jurisdictions with double jeopardy rules, a conviction can be overturned on appeal, but an acquittal cannot).

A jury verdict that is contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment.

In the past, it was feared that a single judge or panel of government officials may be unduly influenced to follow established legal practice, even when that practice had drifted from its origins. In most modern Western legal systems, however, juries are often instructed to serve only as "finders of facts", whose role it is to determine the veracity of the evidence presented, the weight accorded to the evidence,[1] to apply that evidence to the law, and to reach a verdict; but not to decide what the law is. Similarly, juries are routinely cautioned by courts and some attorneys not to allow sympathy for a party or other affected persons to compromise the fair and dispassionate evaluation of evidence during the guilt phase of a trial. These instructions are criticized by advocates of jury nullification. Some commonly cited historical examples of jury nullification involve the refusal of American colonial juries to convict a defendant under English law.[2]

Juries have also refused to convict due to the perceived injustice of a law in general,[3] or the perceived injustice of the way the law is applied in particular cases.[4] There have also been cases where the juries have refused to convict due to their own prejudices such as the race of one of the parties in the case
One popular method used to teach people in legal education is the case method. The case method is an approach that forces students to put themselves in archetypal situations that might come up in an actual case. The idea behind it is that it is designed to make students confront difficult moral and ethical issues without allowing their own moral bias to shape their decision making. Criticisms of lthe case method include the fact that it is percieved by many too narrow, uncreative, and constraining. Harvard Law professor Duncan Kennedy critizied the Case method for this very reason, citing it as a method of brainwashing students to think a certain way. He thought that the use of cold and hot cases, which were use to simulate probable real life occurrences, could not do so. Kennedy was a member of the historical school of thought, which states that the law should reflect the current value system in a current society. The case method however, refrains from allowing public sentiment and consensus on issues to play a part on decions pertaining to the law.

Another popular criticism of legal education is that it is a form of pedagogy that aims to work as a form of mind control, forcing students to think in a certain way while abandoning their own tendencies.


The case method is a teaching approach that uses decision-forcing cases to put students in the role of actual people who were faced with difficult decisions at sometime in the past. In sharp contrast to many other teaching methods, the case method requires that instructors refrain from providing their own opinions about the decisions in question. Rather, the chief task of instructors who use the case method is asking students to devise and defend solutions to the problems at the heart of each case.