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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
State v. Wentz
Citation:149 Wash.2d 342, 69 P.3d 282.
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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 the evening of May 29, 1999, police responded to a residential alarm at Patrick Wheeler’s home. One of the responding officers found the defendant hiding in the backyard. The officer testified that the defendant said he took a pickup truck from his brother’s home without permission that morning. He said he drove the truck to a friend’s house and broke in, taking a handgun and some ammunition. He then drove to Wheeler’s house, where he intended to confront his ex-wife and her new boyfriend, Wheeler. The defendant told the police that he climbed the fence into the backyard and found an unlocked sliding door. When he slid it partway open, an alarm sounded. Instead of going into the house, he hid in the boat that was parked on a trailer in the backyard. Whether the defendant had entered Wheeler’s home was in dispute.
A six-foot solid wood fence surrounds the backyard. The fence has two gates, both of which were padlocked. Both the defendant and the police officer who apprehended him had to climb the fence to enter the backyard. Wheeler kept his boat inside the fence next to his house.
The defendant was convicted of burglary. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The defendant appealed, arguing that the “fenced area” he was in does not constitute a building for the purposes of burglary because it was separate from the house.
- 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.