Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Elliot
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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.
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- 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:
Elliot (Defendant) went to his brother’s home with a loaded gun. Defendant broke into the house and threatened his 10-year-old niece, forcing her to tell him where his brother was. Defendant also encountered his brother’s wife, whom he chased when she tried to run to the door. The brother’s wife saw that Defendant was close behind her and then saw her husband approach. Defendant turned around and shot his brother twice, killing him. Defendant ran from the scene and was subsequently arrested. Defendant was interviewed by a psychiatrist about 11 months later. The doctor testified that Defendant was acting under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance brought on by a number of problems, including child-custody issues, the inability to maintain his home, and a severe fear of his brother. Even though the Model Penal Code was amended to include the new theory of killing under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance, replacing the common law concept of killing in the “heat of passion,” the trial judge still instructed the jury on the “heat of passion defense,” which required a defendant to establish that his “hot blood” did not have time to “cool off” at the time of the killing, in order to reduce a murder charge to manslaughter. Defendant was convicted of murder and appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in the jury charge by instructing on the heat-of-passion defense, instead of the extreme-emotional-disturbance defense.
- 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.
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- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.