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Legal Memorandum Format SampleOn the following pages is a legal memorandum formatted the way your memos in this classshould be formatted. The substance of this memo comes from Appendix A of the Wellford text
The formatting follows the “Visual Rhetoric” instructions on pages 57-59 of this Supplement
We will refer to this memo frequently throughout the semester as an example of the variouscomponents of legal analysis
The purpose of including the memo in this supplement is only to demonstrate how your memosshould be formatted. Pay particular attention to the following features of this memo: * the spacing and content of the heading (in particular, notice that the information in each field – to, from, re, date – is tabbed so that each piece of information lines up vertically with the other pieces) * the Arial, bold typeface of the document heading as well as the headings of all sections of the memo * the page numbering at the bottom of each page after the first * the single-spacing of the Question Presented and Short Answer and the double- spacing of the rest of the memo (your open memos will have more than one Question Presented and Short Answer – in that case, single space within each Question and Answer, but double-space between each Question and Answer) * the left justification rather than full justification (full justification alters the spacing of citations)If you are not familiar with formatting documents in WordPerfect or Word, you should consultthe formatting instructions at the back of this supplement. All formatting is designed tomaximize reader understanding of your work as described in “Visual Rhetoric: EnhancingReader Comprehension with Graphic Design.” As the issues and, therefore, the formatting ofyour documents becomes more complex toward the end of the semester, we will return to thisissue of reader comprehension and graphic design again
61 MemorandumTO: Chief of Felony ProsecutionsFROM: Assistant ProsecutorRE: Gerry Arnold case – Residential Burglary ProsecutionDATE: August 28, 2005Question PresentedIs a detached garage a “living quarters” in which the owners actually reside under Illinois’Residential Burglary Statute, when it has been converted into a retreat for the owners’ college-age son, who uses it on a weekly basis as a get-a-way and sleeps there half the year, although theretreat does not have plumbing facilities?Short AnswerYes. A detached garage used as a retreat and seasonal sleeping place is a “living quarters” underthe statute. The owner frequently and regularly uses the garage for residential activitiesassociated with a living quarters. The garage is furnished to reflect that use
Statement of Facts On August 20, 2005, Defendant, Gerry Arnold, broke into Carl and Rita Stripe’s two-cardetached garage and removed some of their personal property. The State has charged Arnoldunder the Residential Burglary Statute. Arnold’s attorney has moved to dismiss the charge,contending that the Stripe’s garage is not a “dwelling” within which the Stripes “reside,” asrequired by the statute
The garage is located approximately thirty feet behind the Stripe home. The Stripes haveconverted two-thirds of the garage into quarters for the couple’s college-age son, Michael Stripe,to use as a get-a-way. They have walled-off that section of the garage from the section that stores the family car. The converted section of the garage has a window and a locked door
Michael spends two to three evenings a week and his free time on weekends in the get-a-way, writing and listening to music and watching television. In addition, Michael is the leadsinger of a band, R.E.N., that plays once a month in clubs around town. The band practices inthe garage on Sunday mornings and stores some of their equipment there. During the summerand fall when his parents are in town, Michael sleeps in the garage on a futon in a loft area
When his parents travel to Florida during the winter and spring, Michael sleeps in the house
The garage is equipped to accommodate Michael’s interests. In addition to the futon, thegarage contains an expensive sound system, a portable five-inch television, and a mini-refrigerator. The garage has electricity and a space heater, but no running water or heat
Discussion The Stripe garage is a dwelling under Illinois’ Residential Burglary Statute (the“Statute”). To prosecute Arnold successfully under the State, the State must prove that Arnold“knowingly and without authority enter[ed] the dwelling place of another.” 720 Ill. Comp. Stat
§ 5/19-3 (2000) (emphasis added). There is no real dispute that Arnold “knowingly” entered theStripe’s garage or that his entry was “without authority.” Whether the garage is a “dwellingplace” is more problematic. The Statute defines a dwelling as “a house, apartment, mobile home,trailer or other living quarters in which . . . the owners or occupants actually reside. . . .” 720 Ill
Comp. Stat. § 5/2-6(b) (2000) (emphasis added). This memorandum addresses whether theStripe garage is a “living quarters” in which Michael Stripe “actually resides.” The Stripe’s garage is a “living quarters” in which Michael Stripe “actually resides.”When determining whether a structure is a living quarters, courts evaluate the type of activities 2 for which the owners use the structure, as well as the frequency of those activities and physicalevidence of those activities. A structure is considered a dwelling when the owners frequently usethe structure for activities that occur in a living quarters, and the furnishings reflect that use
People v. McIntyre, 578 N.E.2d 314 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991). Although a structure’s attachment tothe main residence is also relevant, physical attachment to the primary residence is not necessary
See People v. Thomas, 561 N.E.2d 57 (Ill. 1990). Therefore, a structure used as an extension ofthe home’s living quarters may be a dwelling even though it is not physically connected to theprimary residence. Because Michael Stripe frequently and regularly uses the Stripe garage as aliving quarters, it satisfies the statutory definition of “dwelling.” An enclosed, attached porch frequently used as part of the home’s living quarters is adwelling under the residential burglary statute. In People v. McIntyre, the owners used anattached, screened porch for “sitting, eating and cooking.” 578 N.E.2d at 315. They ate most oftheir meals on the porch in the summer and cooked meals there four or five times a week in thewinter. The owners furnished the porch with wrought-iron furniture and a barbecue grill thatreflected its use. The porch was enclosed, locked, and attached to the home. The court held that,under these facts, the porch was a “living quarters” under the Statute. Id
The court reasoned that the owners used the porch as part of their living quarters byengaging in such activities as “sitting, eating, and cooking.” Id. In addition, the owners regularlyused the porch in this manner and furnished the porch with furniture and a grill that reflectedsuch use. The court also observed that the porch was enclosed and attached to the house,indicating that the porch’s physical attachment to the house was a relevant factor. However, thecourt emphasized that it was the activities of “sitting, eating, and cooking” that “make the porch 3 part of the living quarters of the house.” Id
On the other hand, where a structure is attached, but used only for commercial, ratherthan residential activities, it is not a living quarters. People v. Thomas, 561 N.E.2d 57 (Ill. 1990)
In Thomas, a garage was attached to a multi-unit apartment building. All of the garages andapartment units shared the same roof. The owner used the garage to park her car and to storelarge quantities of perfume for a commercial business. The court held that the attached garage,“at least in this instance,” was not a living quarters. Id. at 58
The court implicitly reasoned that a garage used only to store products for sale in acommercial business is not a living quarters, even when attached to the owner’s apartmentbuilding. However, the court left open the possibility that a garage could, given the appropriateuse as a living quarters, constitute a dwelling under the Statute. The court reasoned that “anattached garage is not necessarily a ‘dwelling’ within the meaning of the residential burglarystatute.” Id. (emphasis added). That language implies that a garage, appropriately used as aresidence or living quarters, could be a dwelling under the statute. See also People v. Silva, 628N.E.2d 948, 953 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993) (noting that Thomas left open the possibility for a garage tobe a dwelling under the statute)
Like the porch in McIntyre, Michael Stripe used the Stripe’s garage for activitiescommonly associated with a living quarters. Like the activities of “sitting, eating and cooking”in McIntyre, Michael Stripe’s use of the garage for playing and listening to music, watchingtelevision, and eating snacks are uses commonly associated with a living quarters. In addition,Michael Stripe’s use of the garage as a sleeping quarters during the summer and fall onlystrengthens the argument that the garage is a dwelling under the Statute. Unlike the McIntyre 4 activities of barbecuing, eating, and sitting, which can occur outside of a dwelling, sleeping is anactivity uniquely associated with a living quarters. Moreover, Michael Stripe’s use of the garageis clearly distinguishable from Thomas, where the owner used the garage only for storagepurposes
In addition, like the owners in McIntyre, Michael Stripe furnished the garage in a mannerthat reflects its use as a living quarters. Like the grill and wrought-iron furniture in McIntyre,Michael Stripe’s sound system, small t.v., mini-refrigerator, and futon reflect that he uses thegarage for activities typically associated with a living quarters. Again, the furnishings are a farcry from the garage in Thomas, which housed only the owner’s car and boxes of commercialproducts for sale
Finally, the frequency of Michael’s use of the garage as a living quarters is also similar tothe use of the porch in McIntyre. Michael spends at least two to three evenings a week and hisspare time on weekends in his get-a-way. During the summer and fall, he sleeps there sevennights a week. Michael’s regular and frequent use far exceeds the owner’s limited, occasionaluse of the garage in Thomas to retrieve her car or perfume products from storage. In fact, inAugust when the garage was burglarized, Michael’s frequency of use even exceeded that of theowners in McIntyre, who used the porch only four to five times a week
Defendant may argue that, despite Michael Stripe’s frequent use of the garage foractivities associated with a living quarters, the garage’s physical detachment from the Stripe’shome prevents it from being a “living quarters” in which the owners “reside.” Under this theory,the defendant would argue that the garage, standing alone, is not a living quarters in whichanyone resides. The garage has no running water, bathroom facilities or heat. Thus, the garage’s 5 status as a dwelling is dependent upon whether it can reasonably be viewed as an extension of theStripe family’s living quarters within the home itself. The defendant would argue that the factthat the McIntyre porch was physically attached to the family’s home was essential to the court’sholding. Only because it was physically attached to the home could the porch reasonably beviewed as an extension of the family’s living quarters. In contrast, the Stripe’s garage standsthirty feet away from their residence
While having some merit, this argument should fail. Although the McIntyre court didnote that the porch was physically “attached and enclosed,” it concluded that it was the owners’“activities” and use of the porch that made the porch “part of the living quarters of the house.”578 N.E.2d at 314. Thus, the court implied that the activities for which the porch was used weremore important than the porch’s attachment to the home. Moreover, the fact that the porch wasseparated from the utility room of the owners’ home by a door with “three locks” lends lesssignificance to the attached/detached distinction. The presence of three locks implies that theporch area was not an open part of the main residence. Like the physically separate porch inMcIntyre, the Stripe garage is used as an extension of the Stripe family’s living quarters
People v. Thomas lends further support to this conclusion. In Thomas, the courtminimized the importance of the garage’s physical attachment to the main residence whileemphasizing the garage’s use. The court reasoned that “[a] garage, at least in this instance,whether attached to the various living units or not, cannot be deemed a residence or livingquarters.” 561 N.E.2d at 58 (emphasis added). By that statement, the court implied that thegarage’s physical attachment to the owner’s home was not important. That statement, togetherwith the court’s earlier definition of a dwelling as a structure used as a “living quarters,” implies 6 that a detached garage used as a living quarters would be a dwelling under the statute. Therefore,the fact that the Stripe’s garage is physically detached from their residence does not deprive it ofits status as a “living quarters” in which the owners “actually reside.” Defendant might also argue that the legislative history suggests that the legislators did notintend for the statute to cover structures such as garages. As the court noted in People v. Silva,629 N.E.2d 948 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993), the legislature amended the statute in 1986 to clarify andnarrow the meaning of the term “dwelling.” The court quoted the following statement of SenatorSangmeister made during legislative hearings: “It was even brought to our attention by theIllinois Supreme Court in a number of cases that . . . there should be a better definition to thedwelling house. We are having people prosecuted for residential burglary for breaking into . .
unoccupied buildings such as garages.” Id. at 951 (emphasis added)
This argument lacks merits. The Silva court noted that “[t]he residential burglary statuteis designed to protect the ‘privacy and sanctity of the home,’ with a view toward the ‘greaterdanger and potential for serious harm from burglary of a home as opposed to burglary of abusiness.’” 629 N.E.2d at 951 (quoting People v. Edgesto, 611 N.E.2d 49 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993))
Senator Sangmeister’s concern that people are being prosecuted for breaking into “unoccupiedbuildings” is consistent with the general legislative purpose to deter residential burglary becauseof its potential for serious harm. An occupied garage used as a living quarters invokes the samelegislative concerns for the sanctity of the home and the increased risk of harm that results froman invasion of that home. Moreover, the Illinois Supreme Court decided the Thomas case only afew years after the amendment. In Thomas, the court suggested that a garage used as a livingquarters would be a dwelling under the statute
7 Conclusion The Stripe’s garage is a living quarters in which Michael Stripe resides for purposes ofprosecuting Arnold under the Statute. Not only does Michael Stripe use the garage for residentialactivities, he uses it frequently and regularly
Michael spends two to three evenings a week and his free time on weekends in the get-a-way, writing and listening to music and watching television. In addition, Michael is the lead singer of …
What Is a Legal Memo? A legal memo is a written document that contains summarized details of a particular case. Among the facts and bits of information written within will include citations from specific legal authorities. Taking a look at any sample legal memo will reveal that, like other memo types, its contents remain concise and to the point.
What Is Internal Memo Of Law? You should draft a legal memorandum in order to present your research in a formal, polished, and comprehensive manner. By means of a comprehensive analysis, this process makes comparisons between relevant legal laws and points of fact. It has been shown that in law firms, the memorandum is vital evidence.
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Simple Steps For Memo Format