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YourEssay留学论文原创案例-美国法律专业案例分析Law Critical Case Analysis

发布时间:2019-05-29  | 点击数:1510

本文是YourEssay网课代上原创关于美国法律专业案例分析的原创论文,主要讲述沃尔登因跟踪他的前妻而被判犯有B级轻罪。 他向印第安纳州上诉法院提出上诉,并在他的上诉中提出了两个问题。 第一个是他是否有足够的证据证明他的定罪,第二个是他是否从他的律师那里得到了无效的法律援助。


Waldon was convicted with a class B misdemeanor for stalking his ex-wife. He appealed to the Court of Appeals of Indiana and raised two issues in his appeals. The first one is whether there was enough evidence for his conviction and the second one is whether he received ineffective legal assistance from his counsel.

The majority opinion affirmed his conviction and the reasoning for their affirmation was given. With regards to the first issue about the sufficiency of the evidence, the appellate court made it clear that they would not reassess the evidence or question the credibility of the testimony given. Their sole obligation was to consider whether the evidence given can be used to support the conviction and whether inferences drawn from it were reasonable. Although in this case there was only one witness, who was the victim also, the court thought that it was enough to support a conviction.

Waldon claimed that the witness’s testimony was insufficient for the jury to infer his presence made the victim feel terrorized or feared. The majority opinion found this claim not valid. The opinion excerpted some victim’s description to prove that the victim was suffering from emotional distress due to her ex-husband presence. In six encounters between the victim and Waldon, the victims all felt dangers and intimidation according to her testimony.  Therefore, the opinion inferred from this as evidence, which holds the probative value from which the jury could make the necessary connection to convict Waldon.

As to the second issue regarding whether Waldon received ineffective legal assistance, the court adopted a bi-pronged analysis. Firstly, the court needed to decide whether the behaviors of counsel in Waldon’s defense were not covered by the “wide range of professionally competent assistance”. And then the court will decide whether such behaviors prejudiced Waldon. The court made it clear that to establish prejudice, Waldon must prove that without the counsel’s ineffective defense behaviors, there existed a reasonable probability that the result would be a different one.

The opinion claimed that their assessment of the defense wouldn’t be based on hindsight and they won’t regard lame strategy or inappropriate tactics as ineffectiveness. They would assess the counsel’s performance according to a “reasonable effective assistance” standard. Waldon, therefore, has the burden of providing sufficient and strong evidence to beat the presumption of competence.

Waldon made two arguments about the incompetence of his counsel. Firstly, he thought the counsel didn’t made enough cross-examination to weaken the victim’s testimony and her credibility. The court claimed that since Waldon failed to provide convincing evidence, that counsel’s ineffective defense prejudiced his case, they didn’t need to conduct the first step analysis related to examination of counsel’s behaviors. With regards to the “prejudice” requirement, Waldon didn’t prove that favorable testimony could be brought out from Major in the cross-examination. Therefore, the court couldn’t decide that he received ineffective legal assistance.

In his second argument, Waldon argued that the counsel didn’t give any evidence and believed his counsel’s performance was below the objective standard of reasonableness. To support this claim, Waldon needs to prove the existence of evidence. However, Waldon didn’t back up his arguments with evidence in his favor and none was revealed from the record. Therefore, the second argument of Waldon doesn’t stand also. Considering all of the above analysis, the court affirmed the guilty verdict.

As for the dissenting opinion, Rucker laid out some facts first. He pointed out that six encounters between Majors and Waldon all happened in public place and mentioned that there existed the possibility that Waldon was not aware of the presence of Majors, let alone to pose some real threats. He then explained the definition of "stalking" and "harassment". In those two definitions, one element was picked out, those two actions require defendant's intentional behaviors, which means there needs evidence to support the decision that Waldon intentionally made those actions.

Rucker didn't think six encounters of divorced spouse in public places account for harassment. He claimed that personal emotion towards ex-husband can be understood, however, this feeling couldn't be used as the reason to make some coincidences a criminal act. He cited several cases to support his arguments. In all cases he cited, he pointed out by evaluating the defendants' actions alone, a reasonable person could draw out the conclusion that defendants intended to harass the victims, without considering how victims thought of those actions subjectively. In Rucker’s opinion, Waldon’s case was different from those cases because by analyzing Waldon’s behaviors alone, it would be hard to make the conclusion that he intended to stalk or harass Majors.

I think the dissenting Judge made a sold argument. However, this is a case for appellate court, which means they only question the application of law instead of the analysis of facts. Their sole obligation was to consider whether the evidence given can be used to support the conviction and whether inferences drawn from it were reasonable. In Waldon’s case, he made two arguments and the court decided his arguments don’t stand, therefore the verdict was affirmed. The court didn’t need to assess facts found by the trial court and they shouldn’t doubt the credibility of testimony. Therefore I think the court’s affirmation decision is valid.

However, if the definition of “stalk” and “harassment” is closely analyzed, it all involves repeated threats made intentionally by a person to the victims, let alone the threats are expressed or implied. Therefore, it is reasonable for the dissenting judge to make the argument that there lacked enough evidence to decide on Waldon’s intention. However, this is not the issue in appellate court and therefore should be constituted as the evidence for the overthrowing of the guilty verdict.


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