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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
Martin v. Ohio
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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:
During an argument, Earline Martin’s (Defendant) husband hit her in the head. According to Defendant, she picked up her husband’s gun to get rid of it. When the husband saw something in Defendant’s hand, he lunged at her. Defendant lost control and fired the gun at her husband, killing him. Defendant was charged with aggravated murder, which was defined under Ohio law as purposely causing another’s death with prior calculation and design. Defendant pled self-defense, an affirmative defense under Ohio law, which the defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence. The judge rejected Defendant’s contention that placing the burden on Defendant to prove self-defense violated her right to due process, and the judge instructed the jury that a conviction required a finding that: 1) the state had proved each element of aggravated murder beyond a reasonable doubt and 2) none of the self-defense evidence had raised a reasonable doubt that Defendant purposely killed her husband with a prior design. The jury was also instructed that an acquittal required a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant acted in self-defense and: 1) did not start the argument with her husband; 2) honestly believed that she was an imminent danger; and 3) satisfied any duty to retreat. The jury convicted Defendant and both the Ohio Court of Appeals and Supreme Court affirmed. 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.