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Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State v. Coates
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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:
Officer Long was driving when he saw a Thunderbird collide with another vehicle. The car that had been hit pulled off the road, but the Thunderbird kept going. Officer Long followed, and the Thunderbird’s engine died, prompting the driver to pull to the side of the road. Coates (Defendant) exited the vehicle. Long told Defendant he should return to the scene of the accident, which Defendant agreed to do. When Defendant and Long got closer to the location of the accident, the sight of a police car’s flashing lights made Defendant change his mind about returning to the scene. Officer Long sensed that there was something wrong with Defendant’s mental state, so he allowed Defendant to return to his own vehicle. While on the way to Defendant’s car, Defendant stabbed Long in the back twice and kept walking. A Breathalyzer test later indicated that Defendant had a blood-alcohol level of .16 percent. At trial, Defendant said he did not remember the accident or assault and that he had drunk a large amount of alcohol on the night in question. The trial judge instructed the jury on the intoxication defense, which provides that intoxication is only a proper consideration in determining if a particular, required mental state could be formed at the time of the crime. The judge instructed that the defense only applies in circumstances where the requisite mental state is intent, knowledge, or recklessness. The judge forbade the jury from considering the intoxication defense in relation to the lesser-included charge of third-degree assault, which required a negligent mental state. The judge’s instructions were based on two recent amendments to the criminal code: (1) the replacement of general and specific intent requirements with four levels of culpability: intent, knowledge, recklessness, and negligence; and (2) the change in the intoxication statute to refer to a “particular mental state” instead of “purpose, motive, or intent.” The jury acquitted Defendant of second-degree assault, but convicted him of third-degree assault. 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.