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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Smith
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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:
Gregory Smith (Defendant) was an inmate who had been diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Defendant often threatened to kill corrections officers by spitting on or biting the officers to infect them with HIV. On the day in question, Defendant bit Officer Waddington’s hand, puncturing Waddington’s skin. Defendant was charged with attempted murder pursuant to a New Jersey statute providing that a defendant is guilty of an attempted crime if, while acting with the requisite mental state, the defendant purposely does something that would constitute a crime if the circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be. At trial, guards testified that Defendant was an extremely violent person who repeatedly voiced threats of infecting the guards with HIV. There was conflicting expert testimony on the issue of whether it was possible to transmit HIV by biting another person. Defendant testified that he actually believed HIV could only be transmitted sexually, by blood transfusion, or by needle use and that transmission by a bite was not possible. The trial judge instructed the jury that Defendant could be convicted of attempted murder as long as there was evidence that Defendant intended to kill Waddington by a bite, regardless of whether it was medically possible to transmit HIV in that way. The jury convicted Defendant. Defendant appealed, arguing that the judge had erroneously charged the jury with a subjective test and that a conviction could only be sustained if a reasonable person would have believed that a bite could infect another person with HIV and kill that person.
- 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.