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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
Virginia v. Black
Citation:538 U.S. 343 (2003)
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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.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
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- 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:
Virginia enacted a statute banning cross-burning with an intent to intimidate a person or group of people. The statute contained a provision stating that cross-burning shall be treated as prima facie evidence of intent to intimidate.
Barry Black led a KKK rally in Virginia, during which the group burned a 25 to 30 foot cross in an open field, between 300 and 350 yards from a road. About 40 to 50 cars passed the site. Black was charged with cross burning with the intent to intimidate, in violation of the state law. At trial, the jury was instructed that cross-burning was sufficient evidence from which to infer the required intent. The jury convicted Black.
Richard Elliott and Jonathan O’Mara attempted to burn a cross on the yard of Elliott’s new neighbor, James Jubilee, who was Black. O’Mara plead guilty. At Elliott’s trial, the court did not instruct the jury on the prima facie provision of the state cross-burning law. The jury convicted Elliott.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
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