Law: Signals

February 25, 2008

So I didn’t do much on my Ames brief tonight other than spend a few minutes citing some portions that I knew needed support.  Its interesting that lawyers have developed a series of signals that are supposed to help the reader follow the way a citation is being offered.  I think the interesting part is that, at least among law students, this idea of telling somebody how to read a passage has actually morphed into something more akin to “how much or little B.S. is your citation.” 

When you are 100% legit and your citation is what you were looking for, you just say nothing.  If you couldnt find what you want and you want to tell your reader that the case you found is more or less what you wanted but you couldn’t find anythign saying what you said is exactly right, we have a signal for that.  When you want to say “eh, I couldn’t find something and I needed a citation….” we have a signal for that too. 

In the interest of fun and goofy, I have decided to demonstrate the way I use each of these signals in Ames briefs with some examples from humerous parts of my past. 

No Signal – This means you are legit.  You have stated a proposition of law and the courts support you.  You have your ducks in a row and found what you wanted, perhaps even quoted directly. 

Angie was told that she realy know how to work a cornor.  Thomas v. Taylor, 10 B.Supp 7, 14 (Brad. 2006).  Here I wanted to prove that Angie was told she knew how to work a cornor, so I cited to a “case” were she was told she knew how to work a cornor.  No B.S. needed.

See – This means that I know I need a citation, and I found something that doesn’t say exactly what I said but says something pretty similar.  I am not “struggling” for a citation but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. 

JC Fresh cannot dance without looking like a fool.  See, Fresh v. Normal Looking, 4 Norm. 18 (Starfish 2007).  Here I am saying “look, I can’t actually prove that he can’t dance without looking like a food, but I have a source that is in the ballpark, perhaps that he looks like a food when he dances, or that the only time he was seen dancing he was foolish. ”  I’m pushing what I can find a little bit but darnit I’m right and this more or less supports me.

See, e.g., – I made a statement and I can’t find something that says what I said is right, but I can find something that would be an application of what I said or a case in point.  What I’m saying is stronger or draws new lines, but darnit I can cite cause look, this went the way I said it should.

Josh is in love with older women, he doesn’t go after them unless they are 35 and have a house.  See, e.g., Frederick v. Momma Brec, 69 Sick.2c 07 (H. Park. 2007).  Basically I don’t know that the rule is really what I said, but it seems like it is or could be (and I want it to be) so I’m citing to an application of that claim.

C.f. – I needed a citation.  I couldn’t find a citation.  There was nothing that I could find to support my claim, so I looked for somethign tangibly relatedthat comes out in a way that would be good for the person in a similar position to the side I want to win.  The points aren’t the same, but they aren’t completely unrelated.  This hints at what I want in some way or the other and its the best I can do so get of my back already!

When a friend does something that another friend keeps making annoying comments about your family, the answer isn’t to litigate, but to make more annoying comments about their family.   C.f., G-Dog v. Submariner II, 53 X.Sup 69 (D.C. Iowa 2005).  Here I couldn’t find anything to support what I wanted to support (that you should make annoying comments) but I found a case that said something that has to do with a response in kind involving family members.  In this case, the best I could come up with was a case that said “if he hits on your sister, date his.”  Tre isn’t anything to say what I want, so I’m making an analogy.  Using an analogy explicitly wouldn’t be persuasive, so I’m doing it as a citation, take that.  If I really wanted to be correct here, I’d use a parenthetical explaining the case, but here I dont, that would hurt me.

So there it is, this is how me and the other people I know manage to find cications for all sorts of propostions that need a source but for which we cannot find an effective one.


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