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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Todd 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:
Todd (Defendant) stole $110 from the collection plate of a church. Richard Voegltin, a church member who witnessed the crime, got into his car and drove after Defendant. During the chase, Voegltin, who suffered from a heart condition, veered off the road after experiencing cardiac dysrythmia. Voegltin crashed into a tree and died of cardiac arrest. Defendant was charged with manslaughter, on the theory that he caused Voegltin’s death by committing the misdemeanor theft, which resulted in Voegltin’s giving chase to retrieve the money. The theory is an embodiment of the misdemeanor-manslaughter rule, which states that an unintended homicide, occurring during the perpetration of a misdemeanor, constitutes involuntary manslaughter. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, contending that his actions cannot be considered the cause of Voegltin’s death, because Voegltin was predisposed to have a heart attack due to his existing condition, and Defendant did not know of the condition. The trial court denied the motion. Defendant was offered a plea agreement and pled guilty to the manslaughter offense. The agreement reserved Defendant’s right to appeal the denial of his motion to dismiss, which he did.
- 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.