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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
State v. Guthrie
Citation:194 W.Va. 657, 461 S.E.2d 163.
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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 February 12, 1993, Steven Farley and the defendant were working together in the kitchen of a restaurant. Farley was poking fun at the defendant, who appeared to be in a bad mood. He told him to light up and snapped him with a dishtowel. The dishtowel hit the defendant’s nose. The defendant then pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Steven in the neck and the arm. He did not survive.
At trial, evidence was presented that showed that the defendant suffered from a host of psychiatric problems, chronic depression, and an obsession with his nose. The defendant’s father testified that the defendant spent 50% of his time looking at his nose, and constantly asking for assurance that it was not too big. The defendant testified that he had a panic attack immediately preceding the stabbing, and that being struck in the nose caused him to lose it. A psychiatrist also testified that the defendant’s diagnoses “may have affected his perception somewhat,” though it was his opinion that the defendant was sane at the time of the offense.
The Court instructed the jury that “what is meant by the language willful, deliberate and premeditated is that the killing be intentional” and that “it is only necessary that such intention should have come into existence for the first time at the time of such killing, or at any time previously.” The defendant was convicted of first degree murder. He appealed, asserting that the trial court’s instructions regarding the elements of first degree murder were improper.
- 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.