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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
People v. Montoya
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
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- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Rosario Montoya (Defendant) was charged with burglary based on a theory of aiding and abetting after entering an inhabited home with Raymond Gaxiola. Under California law, a person commits a burglary by unlawfully entering a building with an intent to commit a felony within the building. The trial court issued jury instructions on the elements of burglary, as well as aiding and abetting. No instructions were given to explain the point in time at which Defendant must have formed an intent to encourage or facilitate the burglary in order to be convicted on the basis of aiding and abetting. Defendant was convicted of the burglary and appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury sua sponte that, in order to be convicted, Defendant must have formed the requisite intent before or at the time of Gaxiola’s entry into the building. Defendant asserted that, because a burglary is accomplished when a perpetrator enters a building with felonious intent, a person may only be found guilty of aiding and abetting if the person formed the intent to commit, encourage, or facilitate the burglary before the principal actor’s entry. The court of appeal affirmed Defendant’s conviction, finding that there was no duty for the trial court to issue such an instruction to the jury sua sponte. Defendant appealed again, and the Supreme Court of California granted Defendant’s petition for review.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
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- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.