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Criminal Law Keyed to Kennedy
People v. Decina
Citation:2 N.Y.2d 133 (1956)
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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:
On March 14, 1955, the defendant was driving alone in his car, completely in the south lane, traveling 35 to 40 miles per hour. It then veered sharply to the right, at a speed estimated to have been about 50 or 60 miles per hour or more. During this swerve, a pedestrian testified that he saw defendant’s hand above his head; another witness said he saw defendant’s left arm bent over the wheel, and his right hand extended towards the right door.
A group of six schoolgirls were walking when defendant’s car struck them from behind. Three of the children, 6 to 12 years old, were found dead on arrival by the medical examiner, and a fourth child, 7 years old, died in a hospital two days later as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
After striking the children, defendant’s car continued on the sidewalk, and then swerved back onto the road once more. It continued in a northerly direction. With its horn blowing steadily, apparently because defendant was “stooped over” the steering wheel, the car crashed through a brick wall of a grocery store, injuring at least one customer and causing considerable property damage.
The defendant was pulled out of the car by a number of bystanders and he appeared injured and dazed. He was arrested and then examined by a doctor. Defendant told the doctor about his past medical history, namely, that at the age of 7 he was struck by an auto and suffered a marked loss of hearing. In 1946, he was treated in this same hospital for an illness during which he had some convulsions. Several burr holes were made in his skull and a brain abscess was drained. Following this operation defendant had no convulsions from 1946 through 1950. In 1950 he had four convulsions, caused by scar tissue on the brain. From 1950 to 1954 he experienced about 10 or 20 seizures a year, in which his right hand would jump although he remained fully conscious. In 1954, he had 4 or 5 generalized seizures with loss of consciousness, the last being in September, 1954, a few months before the accident. Thereafter he had more hospitalization, a spinal tap, consultation with a neurologist, and took medication daily to help prevent seizures.
He was diagnosed with epilepsy and it was the opinion of the doctor hat he had a seizure at the time of the accident. The defendant was charged with and convicted of criminal negligence in the operation of a vehicle resulting in death. The appellate court reversed, and the prosecution 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.