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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Commonwealth v. Henley
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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:
Samuel Henley (Defendant) owned a jewelry store. An informant wearing a recording device went to Defendant’s store with five gold chains that had been provided by the police. The informant told Defendant that the chains were stolen and offered to sell the chains. Defendant agreed to purchase the chains, believing that the chains were stolen, and also stated that he would like to take part in similar deals in the future. After leaving the store, the informant turned over the money and recording device to a detective. The detective subsequently arrested Defendant, who was charged with attempted theft by receiving stolen property. According to Pennsylvania’s revised attempt statute, § 901, it would have been impossible for the defendant to actually commit the crime due to a misunderstanding of the circumstances. After the state presented its case, Defendant filed a demurrer, arguing that the chains were not actually stolen property, because the police possessed the chains, and he therefore could not be convicted of an attempt to receive stolen property that was not actually stolen. The trial court accepted Defendant’s defense and granted the demurrer. The superior court reversed, and Defendant 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.