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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Commonwealth v. Crawford
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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 Crawford (Defendant) shot his girlfriend, Kimberly Noblin, in the face. At the time of the shooting, Noblin was at least seven months pregnant with Defendant’s child. Defendant was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Noblin and her unborn fetus. A medical examiner testified that the fetus died of oxygen deprivation, but had been viable. The trial judge defined viability as “having reached such a stage of development as to be potentially able of living outside the mother’s womb, notwithstanding artificial aid.” Defendant appealed and filed motions arguing that: 1) the homicide statutes were unconstitutionally vague, because the term viability had not been defined by the legislature or the courts; 2) the trial judge’s instruction on viability unconstitutionally lowered the state’s burden of proof; and 3) the judge’s instructions incorrectly permitted the jury to find the defendant guilty of fetal homicide without proof of his knowledge of its existence and viability. All motions were denied.
- 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.