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Criminal Law Keyed to Kennedy
Robert Francis, Warden v. Raymond Lee Franklin
Citation:471 U.S. 307 (1965)
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- 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.
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- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
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- 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:
The defendant was a prisoner who managed to steal a pistol from an officer while receiving dental care and escaped. He forced the dentist’s assistant to accompany him as a hostage.
In the parking lot, the defendant found the dentist’s automobile, the keys to which he had taken before escaping, but was unable to unlock the door. He then fled with the dental assistant after refusing her request to be set free. He demanded a car from a resident walking by. When the resident responded that he did not own one, the defendant made no effort to harm him but continued with the dental assistant until they came to the home of the victim. The defendant pounded on the heavy wooden front door of the home and the victim, a retired 72-year-old carpenter, answered. The victim slammed the door and the defendant’s gun went off. The bullet traveled through the wooden door and killed the victim. Seconds later the gun fired again. The second bullet traveled upward through the door and into the ceiling of the residence.
In the confusion accompanying the shooting, the dental assistant fled and the defendant did not attempt to stop her. The defendant entered the house, demanded the car keys from the victim’s wife. When she did not provide the keys, however, he made no effort to thwart her escape. The defendant then stepped outside and encountered the victim’s adult daughter. He repeated his demand for car keys but made no effort to stop the daughter when she refused the demand and fled. Failing to obtain a car, defendant left. Shortly after being captured, defendant made a formal statement to the authorities in which he admitted that he had shot the victim but emphatically denied that he did so voluntarily or intentionally. He claimed that the shots were fired in accidental response to the slamming of the door.
He was charged with malice murder. His sole defense was a lack of the requisite intent to kill. He claimed that the circumstances surrounding the firing of the gun, particularly the slamming of the door and the trajectory of the second bullet, supported the hypothesis of accident, and that his immediate confession to that effect buttressed the assertion. He also argued that his treatment of every other person encountered during the escape indicated a lack of disposition to use force.
The trial judge instructed the jury, in part: “[t]he acts of a person of sound mind and discretion are presumed to be the product of the person’s will, but the presumption may be rebutted. A person of sound mind and discretion is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his acts but the presumption may be rebutted.”
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