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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Commonwealth v. Hutchins
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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:
Joseph Hutchins (Defendant) was charged with possession of marijuana. Before trial, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing a defense of medical necessity. Defendant submitted affidavits, excerpts from his medical records, and literature on the medicinal uses of marijuana. Defendant intended to prove that he had been diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic disease that results in the buildup of scar tissue throughout the body. No effective treatment or cure for the disease existed, and Defendant had experienced various debilitating symptoms as a result, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, extreme pain while swallowing, and joint pain. Defendant informed his treating physicians that he had somewhat successfully used marijuana to alleviate his symptoms. Two of Defendant’s doctors expressed that marijuana use did appear to alleviate Defendant’s symptoms, although the doctors did not say that marijuana fully treated the disease. The doctors also stated that a scientific investigation into the possible use of marijuana to treat scleroderma would be justified. Defendant tried unsuccessfully to obtain either a marijuana prescription or permission to participate in a research study on the use of marijuana as a medical treatment. After evaluating the evidence, the trial court ruled that medical necessity was not a defense to Defendant’s charge, and Defendant was convicted. 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.