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Criminal Law Keyed to Kennedy
Montana v. Egelhoff
Citation:518 U.S. 37 (1996)
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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:
In July 1992, while camping out in the Yaak region of northwestern Montana to pick mushrooms, the defendant made friends with Roberta Pavola and John Christenson, who were doing the same.
Later, they spent the day and evening drinking together. At about midnight, officers responded to a report of a possible drunk driver and discovered the defendant’s car stuck in a ditch. In the front seat, Pavola and Christenson were both found dead from a gunshot. The defendant was alive in the backseat, yelling obscenities. On the floor of the car, near the brake pedal, was the defendant’s gun. His blood-alcohol content measured .36% one hour later and he had gunshot residue on his hands.
He was charged with two counts of deliberate homicide. His defense at trial was that his extreme intoxication rendered him physically incapable of committing the murders, and accounted for his inability to recall the events. The jury was not permitted to consider his intoxicated condition when deciding whether he met the mental element required for deliberate homicide. He was convicted, but the Supreme Court of Montana reversed, stating that the defendant had the right for the jury to consider “all relevant evidence” to rebut the State’s evidence on all elements of the offense charged, and that evidence of his voluntary intoxication was “clearly relevant” to the issue whether he acted knowingly and purposely.
- 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.