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2.2: Optional Resubmit Legal Writing Assessment

Instructions

  1. If you would like to try the legal writing assessment again, please resubmit it. This is optional.
  2. Review the Cell Phone Usage Rule and Fact Pattern.
  3. After reading, set a timer for one hour and write an essay with regard to whether Jefferson violated the cell phone usage rule by (1) texting, (2) viewing the driving directions, and (3) using the phone to listen to her voicemail.
  4. Use the rule provided in the ordinance to write your essay. Do not apply any other law you might have studied.
  5. It is important to take no more than one hour to write your answer so we can accurately assess how you write under time pressure.

1. Review the Cell Phone Usage Rule and Fact Pattern

Cell Phone Usage Rule:

The City Ordinance for Cell Phone Usage or Text Messaging provides that it is a moving violation and unlawful to use a wireless communication device to talk or listen to another person on the telephone or to view, send, or compose an electronic message or engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle.

Fact Pattern:

April Jefferson (“Jefferson”) hopped in her new Ford Mustang convertible and headed downtown to meet her best friend for lunch. She placed her cell phone purse on the passenger seat, let down the top of her car, and started to drive north on Kansas Street. The weather was great, clear and sunny. Jefferson could not wait to meet her friend; she had not seen her in months.

Jefferson slowed down at a crosswalk because some kids were standing at the corner. She then picked up her phone to take a quick look at the directions to the restaurant. She left them visible on the phone because she did not want to get lost and risk being late. Realizing that she was not too far away from the restaurant, she sent her friend a text, typing “almost there.”

Jefferson noticed the voicemail message icon was lit on her phone. Once the kids crossed the street, she started driving and picked up the phone to check her voicemail message. She clicked on the “call voicemail” option and heard a couple of rings. The recording stated, “You have no new messages.” “That darn icon,” Jefferson thought. “It never seems to work right.” She tossed her phone back on the passenger seat.

Jefferson drove about 50 feet to the next intersection and heard a siren. There was a police officer right behind Jefferson, signaling for her to pull over to the curb. Jefferson pulled over immediately. Officer Talbot had been watching Jefferson use her cell phone and told Jefferson she violated the City’s new ordinance prohibiting cell phone use and texting while driving. Officer Talbot issued Jefferson three separate moving violations for: (1) texting, (2) viewing the driving directions, and (3) using the phone to listen to her voicemail.

Jefferson admits she used her phone but does not believe she violated the new law. Please advise whether Jefferson violated the City Ordinance with her conduct. Address each of the separate alleged moving violations.

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*Source: Legal Analysis: 100 Exercises for Mastery, Practice for Every Law Student (Second Edition), p. 4, Hill, Cassandra L., Vukadin, Katherine T., Carolina Academic Press (2017).

2. Write your response

  1. Set a time for one hour and write an essay with regard to whether Jefferson violated the ordinance by (1) texting, (2) viewing the driving directions, and (3) using the phone to listen to her voicemail.
  2. Upload your answer.