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Writing First Brief
« on: Apr 13th, 2004, 8:58am »
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 I am a high school senior who is doing an independent study project this semester.  As part of my product to turn in I am expected to write a brief.  I picked a case (Harris Custom v. Hoffemeyer)  I am trying to write a brief as though I were an attorney for the defendant (Hoffemeyer) who was trying to get the 7th Circuit Appellate court to reconsider.  I am going to setup my brief in a very basic way, by doing a section on relevent facts and then an argument section.  I need some help with the argument section, because I only have one idea right now.  The main point is that Harris forfeited their right to copyright for a number of reasons.  The case number is 95-2972 and was argued on March 29, 1996 before Cummings, Manion, and Evans all Circuit Judges.  If you have any suggestions on what I could do to get more arguments or what I should do to make this longer, please let me know.
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Re: Writing First Brief
« Reply #1 on: Apr 14th, 2004, 4:18pm »
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I apoligize in advance if this is beyond you, but you did ask for my advice.
Have you tried to read the court opinion in the case? The legal citation is: 92 F.3d 517.  
I haven't been able to bring it up on any free case law sources, but I haven't tried too hard. You can probably go to the local courthose to get the Federal reporter to read the case for free.
You (the defendant) won so the arguments used in the case are very persasive.
Depending on the time you have, the money you want to devote, your location and your school's cheating/plagirism policies, you may also try and get the real brief. The briefs are most likely in the public record and can be ordered or inspected via the National Archives's Chicago office. You can call the court's clerk to get the box, accession, and other numbers needed to retrieve the briefs for the case.  They can even mail it to you, but it takes about 2 weeks and costs 50 cents/page. Briefs usually are 20-40 pages so it could get expensive.
7th Circuit rules at the time required briefs on disk in word processing format so you should be able to copy it for free at the National Archives if you bring your own computer -- I have actually done this for a different 7th Circuit case. This bring up the interesting question of the copyrightablity of legal briefs, but that is beyond the scope of this thread.
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