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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Burns
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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:
A company hired Mr. Burns (Defendant) to determine if money was being embezzled by any of the company’s employees. Defendant confronted Leland Frease, an employee of the company, and accused Frease of embezzling $6,800. Defendant threatened that Frease would be imprisoned unless Frease confessed to stealing $5,000 and also repaid the $5,000. Even though Frease denied taking the money, Frease signed a confession and paid $4,000 to Defendant. Defendant was charged with extortion on the basis that, with the intent to extort and gain $5,000, Defendant had threatened to accuse Frease of larceny and that Defendant had extorted $4,000 through these threats. The statute that Defendant was accused of violating provided that any person who extorted or obtained money by force or threat to accuse another person of a crime was guilty of extortion. At trial, Frease testified that he had not embezzled any money from his employer. Defendant proffered documentary evidence meant to show that Frease had, in fact, taken money from his employer. The judge rejected Defendant’s evidence, stating that whether Frease had actually embezzled money from his employer was irrelevant to the issue of Defendant’s guilt. Defendant was convicted and 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.