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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
People v. Wheeler
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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:
Timothy Bothun was a neighbor of Laurie Wheeler (Defendant) and her husband, Mitchell Anderson. One night, Bothun became angry at Defendant, and the two had a physical altercation. A fight then ensued between Anderson and Bothun. Later that night, Anderson entered Bothun’s apartment with a knife. Defendant followed, and another fight broke out between Anderson and Bothun. While Bothun was on top of Anderson, Defendant jumped on Bothun’s back and pulled Bothun’s hair. Anderson stabbed Bothun in the side, resulting in Bothun’s later death. Defendant and Anderson were charged with killing Bothun, and Anderson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Defendant was granted a separate trial. At Defendant’s trial, Martin testified that, even though Defendant did not attempt to help Anderson stab Bothun, Defendant also did not try to prevent the stabbing. The trial court instructed the jury on the offense of criminally negligent homicide, as well as the theory of complicity, stating that a defendant was liable as a principal for another person’s actions if the defendant aided or abetted the other person in executing the act with the intent to encourage or facilitate the act. Defendant was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that it was logically and legally impossible to commit a criminally negligent homicide by complicity. The trial court granted the motion, holding that the verdict was impossible, because it required the jury to find that the accomplice knew the principal actor was going to unintentionally kill the victim.
- 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.