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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Holmes v. Director of Public Prosecutions
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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:
Holmes (Defendant) got into an altercation with his wife after a night out, which began when someone winked at her. Defendant had previously been suspicious of his wife in regards to other men and had heard stories about it as well. The fight reached a violent point when Defendant’s wife told him she had been unfaithful to him and that she had reason to believe he had been untrue to her as well. At trial, Defendant stated that at that point, he lost his temper and hit his wife in the head with a hammer. Defendant stated that because she was suffering, he strangled her until she stopped breathing. During cross-examination, when asked if he intended to kill her when he had his hands on her neck, Defendant responded “yes.” In charging the jury, the trial judge instructed that, based on the evidence and the law, a conviction for manslaughter may not be considered and that Defendant’s wife’s statement to him that she had been unfaithful was not sufficient provocation to justify a conviction of manslaughter instead of murder. Defendant was subsequently convicted of murder. The court of appeal affirmed that conviction, and Defendant appealed to the House of Lords.
- 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.
- 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.