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California Law Legal Research

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California Law Legal Research

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  1. California LawLegal Research January 28,2011

  2. APPELLATE PROCESS • FACTUAL DISPUTE IS RESOLVED AT TRIAL COURT(NO CASE LAW RESULTS) • LOSING PARTY FILES APPEAL IN INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (EXCEPTION--PROSECUTOR IN CRIMINAL CASE CANNOT APPEAL NOT GUILTY VERDICT • APPELLATE COURT REVIEWS CASE AND RENDERS A WRITTEN OPINION (OPINION BECOMES CASE LAW IF PUBLISHED AND IF NO FURTHER APPEAL) • LOSING PARTY CAN SEEK FURTHER REVIEW IN HIGHEST COURT (OFTEN BY FILING PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI) • IF HIGH COURT GRANTS A HEARING IT REVIEWS ACTIONS IN LOWER COURTS AND RENDERS A WRITTEN OPINION (THIS OPINION BECOMES CASE LAW IF FINAL) • IF CASE LAW CONTAINS CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE, LOSING PARTY CAN REQUEST HEARING IN U.S. SUPREME COURT • IF COURT GRANTS A HEARING IT REVIEWS LOWER COURT ACTIONS AND RENDERS A WRITTEN OPINION WHICH BECOMES CASE LAW

  3. Legal Research Materials • Primary Sources of Law—books or electronic sources that contain the law itself • Secondary Sources of Law—books or sources that describe or explain the law; these help us find primary law

  4. Primary Sources • Constitutions • Statutes • Case Law • Ordinances • Administrative Regs • Rules of court

  5. Publication of Case Law • Case Reporters (print) • Multi volume sets of books, • Report cases chronologically • Report cases according to jurisdiction • Federal v. state • Court of appeals v. Supreme Courts • Official v. unofficial • Same cases may be published in multiple court reporters • Meaning of parallel cites • Electronic publications

  6. Locating Cases • To locate a case in print requires a citation • (name of court reporter, volume, page and series) • To locate a case online: • Citation • Name • Subject matter

  7. CALIFORNIA CASE REPORTERS • Official Reporters • CALIFORNIA REPORTS = Cal. (California Supreme Court) • CALIFORNIA APPELLATE REPORTS = Cal. App. (California Appellate Courts) • Unofficial Reporters • CALIFORNIA REPORTER = Cal. Rptr. Unofficial reporter for both courts • PACIFIC REPORTER = P. Unofficial reporter for Cal. Supreme Ct. cases

  8. U.S. Supreme Court United States Reports (U.S.) Supreme Court Reporter (S.Ct.) Lawyer’s Edition (L.Ed.) Lower Fed. Courts Federal Reports (F.) (Courts of Appeal Federal Supplement (F.Supp.) (District Courts) Specialty Reporters Federal Case Law(In Print) Chapter 4: Finding and Using the Law

  9. How to Read a Case CitationMiranda v. Arizona,case name 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966) official citation parallel citations year Chapter 4: Finding and Using the Law

  10. 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966) • 1. Find correct reporter • 2. Find correct series • 3. Find correct volume • 4. Find correct page

  11. Reading a Case • Identify editorial enhancements • summary • headnotes • attorneys • Identify Court Opinion • Identify Concurring Opinions • Identify Dissenting Opinions

  12. How to Read a Case Opinion • Identify the parties • at trial • on appeal • Identify the legal issue on appeal • Identify facts that are relevant to issue • Identify “holding” or decision • Identify reason for decision

  13. CALIFORNIA CODES • ANNOTATED--contain short summaries of cases that interpret the code section • UNANNOTATED--contain just the codes • POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT--found in back of code books; contains latest code revisions and latest case interpretations

  14. Finding a Code Section • U.S. codes are organized numerically by title and number, I.e. 11 U.S.C. §245 • Cal Codes are organized alphabetically by code name and then numerically by section. Cal. Civ. Code §1714

  15. Reading a Code Section • Always go to pocket part supplement first. • Check date on supp. • If code section not found then go to main book, but remember, there may be new interpretive cases in supp. • If code section is found in supp, then ignore main book

  16. Reading a Code Section • Break code section into elements • Always read interpretive cases

  17. Dictionaries Encyclopedias Form Books Periodicals Treatises Digests Secondary Sources Chapter 4: Finding and Using the Law

  18. Witkin, Series California Jurisprudence (Cal. Jur.) C.E.B. Books Bender Forms Rutter Group Books Law Reviews POPULAR CALIFORNIA SECONDARY SOURCES