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Appellate Case Brief

Order Description
+ Counsel should expect numerous questions from the justices during oral argument. The Chief Justice will carefully time each oral argument and
notify counsel when their time is up. Opposing counsel are not to communicate with each other or to any justice in any way except through briefs and
oral argument prior to the end of the simulation (violation of this rule may lead to a simulated disbarment and a real “F” grade in the course).
All real world facts which are not inconsistent with the facts in the hypothetical cases may be assumed as part of the background for the simulation.
But facts stated in the simulation description should be accepted as true even if they are not consistent with ?real world? facts. Do not make up any
facts. If you need to know some fact that is not specified in the simulation, check with the instructor for approval to add the needed fact. All
appellate brief are due in class on Thursday, November 03, 2016.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE: Missabama v Fitzpatrick
On July 23, 2003, Anne Marie Fitzpatrick, wife of the petitioner, Raul Fitzpatrick, called 911 at 2:30 A.M. and requested emergency medical
assistance for injuries to her head and body. After making three separate pleas for medical help, Ms. Fitzpatrick described an alleged assault by her
husband in which he had brutally beaten her with his fists and knocked her back into the kitchen table. Ms. Fitzpatrick described the assault in
response to the 911 operator asking the question ?What were you hit with Anne ? ? what did he hit you with ?? Unfortunately, the 911 operator wrote
the wrong address down and when the officers arrived at the address given to them there appeared to be no domestic disturbance. After questioning the
couple at the house they concluded that the 911 call was in error and returned to their routine patrol after calling in the results of their
On the same night, four other Brigham City police officers responded to a complaint of a loud party from neighbors. They arrived at the offending
residence at about three o’clock in the morning. They traveled to the back of the house to investigate the noise. From a location in the driveway,
the officers peered through a slat fence and observed two male adults drinking alcohol. The officers then entered the backyard through a gate,
thereby obtaining a clear view into the back of the house through a screen
door and two windows. The officers saw four adults restraining one juvenile. The juvenile broke free, swung a fist and struck one of the adults in
the face. Two officers then opened the screen door and “hollered” to identify themselves. When no one heard them, they entered the kitchen. After
entering, one of the officers again shouted to identify and call attention to himself. As those present in the kitchen became aware of the officers,
they became angry that the officers had entered the house without permission.
When the petitioners entered the kitchen, they discovered the petitioner caring for his injured wife. Ms. Fitzpatrick indicated to the officers that
she had been injured by the falling bookcase. At that point the teen (later identified as the 14 year old son of the petitioner and his wife) yelled,
?That?s a lie ? he hit her.? Subsequently, the officers searched the kitchen, over the objections of the petitioner and found blood on the edge of
the kitchen table which they seized and sent to the lab for analysis. The lab subsequently (three days later) reported that DNA tests indicated that
there was a 99.9998 % probability that the blood was that of Ms. Fitzpatrick. Upon finding the blood on the table, the officers arrested the
petitioner and charged him with assaulting his wife. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the blood evidence, which gave rise to this petition.
Two days later, Ms. Fitzpatrick died from unforeseen complications from her injuries on July 23. Later that day, a follow up investigation of the
unsolved 911 call identified the caller as Ms. Fitzpatrick. Following these two events, the petitioner was arrested for second degree murder.
Petitioner filed a timely motion to suppress the admission of the tape of the 911 call.
Both motions were denied by the trial judge and Raul Fitzpatrick was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in the state prison.
The Missabama Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence and the U.S, Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari. The writ granted by
the U.S. Supreme Court limited argument to two issues:
1. Whether the transcript of the 911 call was properly admitted into evidence ?
2. Whether the blood from the petitioner?s kitchen was properly admitted into evidence ?
?4 The trial court entered the following findings of fact in support of its order denying the motion to suppress:
“1. On July 23, 2003, at approximately 3:00 a.m., four Brigham City Police officers were dispatched . . . as a result of a call concerning a loud
2. After arrival at the residence, the officers, from their observations from the front of the residence, determined that it was obvious that
knocking on the front door would have done no good. It was appropriate that they proceed down the driveway alongside the house to further
3. After going down the driveway on the side of the house, the officers could see, through a slat fence, that a loud party was in progress, including
the consumption of alcohol. At that point, there was probable cause for the officers to enter into the backyard.
4. Upon entering the backyard, the officers observed, through windows and a screen door an altercation taking place, wherein it appeared that four
adults were trying to control a juvenile. At one point, the juvenile got a hand loose and smacked one of the occupants of the residence in the nose.
5. At that point in time, the court finds exigent circumstances to justify the officers’ entry into the residence.

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