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Criminal Law Keyed to Ohlin
Atkins v. Virginia
Citation:536 U.S. 304 (2002)
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- 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.
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- 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:
Atkins was found guilty of several crimes after a jury trial, resulting from a night in which he, along with someone else, robbed a man, abducted him, and killed him by shooting him eight times.
At sentencing, Dr. Evan Nelson, a forensic psychologist, testified that Atkins was “mildly mentally retarded” based on interviews with people who knew Atkins, a review of his school and court records, and his IQ score of 59. The jury sentenced him to death. However, the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a second sentencing hearing because the trial court had used a misleading verdict form. At the resentencing, Dr. Nelson testified again. The state also presented an expert that testified that Atkins was not mentally retarded, but had antisocial personality disorder. The jury sentenced him to death again.
- 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.
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