Thanks for all of the great advice. I have one question- how are we, as beginning students in the law, actually supposed to be able to figure out why the law was included? To me, all I see in this case is that airplanes aren't considered motor vehicles. Is that really the big picture I am supposed to get out of this case?
Speaking of OneNote, is there any kind of generic OneNote clone that you can get for free/ cheap? I would like to have a program like that, but my funds are already stretched quite a bit. I know that Sun MicroSystems produces the open-source Open Office software programs that imitate the basic Microsoft Office package... anything like that for OneNote?
Quote from: Top Cat on July 30, 2009, 07:33:21 AMThanks for all of the great advice. I have one question- how are we, as beginning students in the law, actually supposed to be able to figure out why the law was included? To me, all I see in this case is that airplanes aren't considered motor vehicles. Is that really the big picture I am supposed to get out of this case?First, it is typical that for the first few weeks you will read cases and completely miss the point. A big part of the first few weeks is understanding how to look at a case and find what is important for class. Just keep briefing and paying attention to class, and you'll eventually get it.In the case you are briefing, it is irrelevant whether or not the airplane is actually a motor vehicle. Rather, this case illustrates a point about statutory interpretation and the judge's role. Specifically, an airplane probably fits the literal definition of the statute, or at least people can make reasonable arguments that an airplane fits the literal definition. But, did Congress intend airplanes to be covered? Does it matter what Congress intended? Does the policy behind this statute cover airplanes? If the judge is to be a faithful agent of Congress, where should he draw the line? If an airplane is not a motor vehicle, what about a motorized wheelchair? A hovercraft? etc. These are all issues you'll likely talk about for 30 minutes to an hour based upon this particular case, but in the end, it doesn't matter at all what this particular statute said or how this court came out. What matters is introducing you to these issues of judicial interpretation.
Top cat heres my brief for the same case, tell me what you think. See you at orientation.U.S Supreme CourtMc Boyle v. United States, 283 U.S 25 (1931)Facts:Mc Boyle was convicted of knowingly transported an airplane across the interstate from Ottawa,IL to Guymon, OKHe was charged with violating the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. The NMVTA punishes anyone who transports or attempts to transport a knowingly stolen vehicle. A vehicle is defined as an automobile, automobile truck, wagon, motor cycle or any self propelled vehicle not designed for running on rails. He was convicted in trial court.He appealed to the circuit court of appeals to the tenth circuit and the decision was affirmed.He petitioned for a writ of certiorari and was granted by the Supreme Court.Issues:Is an airplane considered a vehicle under the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act?Should the court punish the petitioner for violating a law that is not clearly defined? Holding:Judgment reversed, petitioner winsReasoning:Agreeing with the petitioner that congress had an opportunity to incorporate airplanes in the legislation, they explicitly list the different vehicles to be covered under the act and choose to clearly omit that the transporting of an airplane is an offensable act under the NMVTA.Understanding that the law was unclear about the types of vehicles covered under the act, the petitioner should be granted a warning for not having a reference for the offensable act.Analysis:The judge has set precedent that the law has an obligation to clearly set boundaries for the citizenry. If the law fails to draw the line, then the accused cant be held liable for violating such laws.The court shouldnt make assumptions about what congress intended the legislation to be