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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Woodward 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:
Michael Woodward’s (Defendant) wife loaned $8,000 to Mike Lyle. To pay back the loan, Lyle went to the bar at which Woodward’s wife worked and, upon finding that she was not there, left the money with George Cooper, who agreed to give the money to Woodward’s wife. However, instead of giving the money to Woodward’s wife, Cooper kept the money. After Woodward learned that Cooper had kept the money, Woodward demanded that Cooper pay the money, threatening to break Cooper’s legs if Cooper did not. Cooper told police of the threats, and Woodward was arrested shortly afterward. Woodward was charged with extortion in violation of Alaska’s extortion statute, Alaska Stat. § 11.41.520(a)(1), which defines extortion as obtaining the property of another by threatening that physical injury will be inflicted upon someone. The statute includes seven types of threats that constitute extortion and outlines a limited claim-of-right defense for the three types of extortion where the property at issue was obtained by a threat of accusation, lawsuit, or other invocation of official action. At trial, Woodward requested a jury instruction for acquittal if the jury found that Cooper actually owed Woodward the money that Woodward demanded. The trial judge refused the instruction and instead told the jury that Woodward’s claim of right to the money held by Cooper was not a defense to the extortion charge. Woodward was convicted. Woodward appealed, objecting to the jury instruction and also arguing that, because the money Woodward was seeking to recover was his own, the money was not property of another, as required by the extortion statute.
- 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.