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Criminal Law Keyed to Ohlin
State v. Crenshaw
Citation:98 Wash.2d 789 (1983)
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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:
The defendant suspected that his wife was having an affair. Instead of bringing up this concern with her, he took her to a motel room and beat her unconscious. He then went to a nearby store, stole a knife, and returned to stab his wife 24 times. She did not survive. He left again and returned with an ax, and decapitated his wife.
He proceeded to conceal his actions by cleaning the room and taking the body to a remote area. He then fled, driving 200 miles away from the scene of the crime. He picked up two hitchhikers, and enlisted their aid in disposing of the wife’s car. The hitchhikers called the police.
At trial, the defendant asserted the insanity defense. He argued that he followed the Moscovite religion and it required him to kill his wife if she committed adultery. He also has a history of mental problems, for which he has been hospitalized in the past.
The trial court told the jury that: “for a defendant to be found not guilty by reason of insanity you must find that . . . the defendant . . . was unable to tell right from wrong.” Further, the trial court defined right and wrong as “knowledge of a person at the time of committing an act that he was acting contrary to the law.” The jury rejected the defense and convicted him of first degree murder. The defendant appealed, arguing that the instructions were wrong.
- 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.