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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Stewart
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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.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- 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:
Peggy Stewart (Defendant) shot and killed her husband, Mike Stewart, in Kansas. Peggy was charged with first-degree murder and pled not guilty, arguing that she shot Mike in self-defense. Laura, Peggy’s daughter, testified that Mike beat Peggy and that Peggy developed psychological problems as a result. Over the years, Mike also severely abused Peggy’s 12-year-old daughter, Carla. When Peggy demanded that he stop, Mike threatened to kill her. Mike’s abuse of Peggy continued as he beat her, shot one of her pets, and repeatedly held a gun to her head. Peggy ran away to Laura’s home in Oklahoma and was admitted to the hospital. While there, Peggy told a nurse that she felt as if she wanted to shoot her husband. Peggy returned home with Mike, who threatened to kill her if she ever ran away again. At home, Peggy hid a loaded gun under the mattress. Two hours after going to bed with Mike, Peggy retrieved the gun and killed Mike while he was sleeping. At the time, there were two cars in the driveway to which Peggy had access. At trial, an expert testified that Peggy suffered from battered-woman syndrome (BWS). The trial judge gave an approved jury instruction on self-defense but also added that the jury should decide whether Peggy’s beliefs were reasonable in light of her subjective impressions of the circumstances. The jury found Peggy not guilty. The State appealed.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- 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.