Criminal Justice

Prompt & Rubric

The "average" mini-brief is not college-level writing or reflective of acceptable critical thinking skills, but the sample is indicative of the average student in CJ. Approximately five percent of lower and upper division students write formally and use good critical thinking skills at the year-appropriate college level.

Mini-briefs are assigned in several legal classes and are intended to force the student to read, understand, and analyze the cases in light of the area of law the cases address. By using critical thinking skills, the student should identify the relevant facts, the legal issue, the court's holding, and the reasoning the court used to arrive at the ruling. The majority of cases are one to three pages long.

  Average Above Average Excellent
Structure (1-4)      
- Follow format provided 4 4 4
Grammar/mechanics (1-4)      
- Sentence structure 2 3 4
- Punctuation/mechanics 2 3 4
Language (1-4)      
- Use of vocabulary 2 3 4
- Legal terms: Brevity, accuracy 1 3 4
- Legal terms: Conciseness 2 3 4
- Legal terms: Completeness 1 4 4


The Average mini-brief is incomplete (compare to the Excellent Robinson case).

View the Average Sample

The Above Average submission (Norman) has good content, but the punctuation and vocabulary needs improvement.

View the Above Average Sample

The Excellent assignment exceeds expectations for a lower division student.

View the Excellent Sample