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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Muhammad v. Commonwealth
Citation:269 Va. 451, 611 S.E.2d 537.
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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:
Over a period of 47 days, from September 5 to October 22, 2002, there were 16 shootings, in which ten people were murdered and six more suffered gunshot wounds.
The defendant and Lee Boyd Malvo were captured by the FBI. They were in a modified car purchased by the defendant that had a hole in the trunk to allow someone to shoot out of it. Additionally, a rifle that was connected the shootings was found inside of the car and had Malvo’s fingerprints on it. Walkie talkies, telescopes, GPS equipment, pocket recording equipment, and a paper with a list of schools and the Sniper Task Force’s phone number was also found. At trial, an expert in sniper methodology testified that that the evidence found by the police is ordinarily used by a sniper team. The state presented more compelling evidence that the defendant and Malvo acted together as a sniper team to commit these shootings.
The defendant was convicted of multiple counts of capital murder. He appealed, arguing that there was no evidence that he was the triggerman. As such, he argued that only the immediate perpetrator of a homicide, the one who fired the fatal shot, and not a principal in the second degree, may be convicted of capital murder.
- 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.