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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Hughes v. State
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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:
John Hughes (Defendant) and Rodney Johnson had a problematic past. On the day of the events in question, Mary Hodge was driving Joan Goodwin and Defendant to Mary’s house. Rodney passed by in his truck and turned around to follow Mary’s car. Mary pulled over, and Joan and Defendant exited the car to talk to Rodney. Rodney cursed at Defendant. Joan testified that Rodney grabbed her and threatened her with a gun. At that moment, Defendant shot Rodney, killing him. Defendant was indicted for murder. According to Texas Penal Code (the Code) § 9.32, a defendant is justified in using deadly force if a reasonable person in the situation would not have retreated and the defendant reasonably believed that the deadly force was immediately necessary for self-defense. Section 9.33 of the Code addresses the defense of a third person, stating that such action is justified if the defendant would be justified under § 9.32 of the Code and reasonably believes that intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person. The trial court instructed the jury that a defendant is justified in using deadly force when the defendant believes such force is necessary to protect a third person and a reasonable person in the situation would not have retreated. The jury convicted Defendant of voluntary manslaughter. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that Defendant was only entitled to use force in Joan’s defense if a reasonable person in Defendant’s situation would not have retreated. The state petitioned for discretionary review.
- 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.