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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Gartland
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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:
Ellen Gartland (Defendant) suffered a long history of abuse from her husband, John Defendant. On February 8, 1993, the Defendants were arguing in their home when Ellen left the room and went upstairs to her bedroom. The Defendants had slept in separate bedrooms for over 10 years. John usually left Ellen alone in her room, but this time he followed her into the bedroom. John moved toward Ellen, threatening to hit her. Ellen pointed a shotgun at John, telling him to stop. John threatened to kill Ellen and charged at her. Ellen shot John, killing him. At trial, the court provided the jury with a model jury charge on self-defense, instructing the jury that Ellen could not assert self-defense if she knew that she could avoid the necessity of using deadly force by retreating from the house, provided that she could do so with complete safety. Ellen objected to the charge, because the court did not instruct the jury that Ellen had no duty to retreat if her bedroom constituted a separate dwelling into which her husband had intruded. The jury convicted Ellen of reckless manslaughter. Ellen appealed but died while the appeal was pending. The Supreme Court of New Jersey heard the appeal, finding that the case presented issues that were likely to recur.
- 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.