Preston v. Ferrer

Read the United States Supreme Court case of Preston v. Ferrer, 128 S.Ct. 978 (2008). Located at Using issues, rule, analysis and conclusion (IRAC) formatting as explained below, please analyze the courtâ??s ruling and its rationale for ruling as it did. Do you agree with the outcome of the case? Why or why not?

IRAC Formatting Guidelines

The IRAC format is a basic tool of legal writing and analysis.


First, identify the legal issue or question you will be analyzing. Your statement of the issue should summarize that which the court is taking into consideration in the case. You should state the issue in its own separate paragraph. Often, you will be able to state the issue in a single sentence. You should include a few important facts giving context to the general issue as it pertains to your case. Do not add so many facts that the issue itself becomes hidden. The statement of the issue should be succinct. One example is as follows:

Issue: Whether George broke into and entered the house at nighttime given that he was arrested in the house just as the sun was setting.


Next, identify and discuss the legal rule or rules that you think apply to the issue. Start with general rules, which are also called umbrella rules. Then, if applicable, move on to the more specific rules that address the issue at hand within the general rule. These specific rules are often called subrules. As an example, a general rule might read:

Rule: A burglary is the breaking and entering of a dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony therein.

A corresponding specific rule or subrule is: â??Nightâ? is defined as the time between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

Use only rules relevant to the issue at hand. Avoid the temptation to discuss tangential rules. Do not quote at length from the authorities you are using. Except for legal terms of art, you need to restate rules in your own words. Paraphrasing the rules helps you to understand them, specifically how they best serve your analysis. Discuss all applicable rules in the Rule section only.


In this section, you must apply the rules to the facts you have been given. This is the most important, and usually the longest, section of IRAC. It usually requires several paragraphs. Be objective and be sure to analyze the case from both sides: the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s. Consider all the facts given and the logical inferences that can be drawn from them. Do not jump to conclusions. Be sure to tell your reader how you reached your conclusion.


briefly state the conclusion you have reached as to whether the elements of the rule have been met. The conclusion should follow from the subconclusions you have reached on each respective element. It should return the reader to the â??big pictureâ? of the overall issue at hand. Never add new information in the conclusion.