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LESSON PLAN OUTLINE


CLASS OBJECTIVES: 

By the end of class students will have an understanding of and be able to define:

PRECEDENT-Allows for both flexibility and stability of law.

STARE DECISIS-Let the decision stand.

Additionally, students will have an understanding of legal reasoning (reasoning by analogy) and the role it plays in judicial decision-making.

 

I.        Defining Precedent: Precedents are Rules which must be applied to subsequent cases in inferior court.

 

a.      Types of Precedent

                                                              i.      Mandatory (Binding)

                                                            ii.      Original

                                                          iii.      Persuasive

b.      Binding Precedent based on Jurisdiction

 

II.    Defining Stare Decisis

Class Discussion: What are the advantages and disadvantages to this system?

III. Brief Review of US Legal System

a.      Hierarchy of Courts

b.      Mandatory Precedent

c.       In class exercise –identifying different courts decisions as binding or non binding on other courts.

IV.  In class Demonstration of Analogical Reasoning using Apples and Oranges

Class will write attributes of each and then attempt to argue how they are similar. Discussion of what are material facts and how they differ from facts that are immaterial.

V.     In class exercises. Handouts (see attached) Class will discuss each scenario identifying the material and immaterial facts. Will practice identifying legal issues.

 

 

 

Handouts

 

TORTS LAW HYPOTHETICAL

FACTS: John and Tom are two neighbors who have a long history of not getting along. In fact they hate each other. All of this goes back to high school when John stole Tom’s girlfriend.  One day John is nailing boards together on the sidewalk in front of his home. Tom decides to go give John a piece of his mind and tell him not to leave the nails laying around on the sidewalk. John, finished hammering, picks up a board and turns as Tom is walking toward him, but not before he has swung around the board and hit Tom in the head. 

Issue: Was the existing bad blood between John and Tom enough to show that John acted intentionally?

Rule:

The elements of battery are:

1.      Harmful touching

2.      The defendant caused the touching to occur directly or indirectly

3.      The touching was intentional.

 

Analysis: 

1. Yes, caused substantial injury.

2. Yes, John was holding the board.

3. Intention –Other facts needed to show.

 

Conclusion: The facts do not appear to indicate intent necessary to prove battery.

 

CRIMINAL  LAW HYPOTHETICAL

FACTS: John and Tom are two neighbors who have a long history of not getting along. In fact they hate each other. All of this goes back to high school when Tom stuffed John in a locker and called him Tomasina during his sophomore year.  Just as the sun was setting one summer evening, Tom sees John drive away in his Porsche and Tom notices that the door to John’s house is ajar. Tom knows that John has expensive new stereo equipment because he saw the boxes at the curb the previous day. Tom pushes the unlocked door open and walks into the house.  He sees $5,000 in cash laying on the kitchen table and he  puts it in his pocket and leaves the house. . 

Issue:  Is opening an unlocked door to a building at twilight to commit a theft sufficient to constitute burglary?

 

Rule:

The elements of burglary are:

1.      Breaking

2.      Entering

3.      The dwelling place

4.      Of Another

5.      At night

6.      With the intent of committing a felony therein.

 

Analysis: 

1.  Minimal force needed to constitute a breaking since a shut door is indicative that they wished to deter entry

2., 3, 4, All clearly yes.

5. Twilight? How is it like night? How is it not?

6. Stealing items worth $5,000 a felony.

 

Conclusion: The facts do not appear to indicate intent necessary to prove battery.