You Are the Judge:

Deciding What Is Fair


INTRODUCTION: You and your fellow classmates are the judges. This case will show you that the degree of intent is seen through a person's actions. You must decide how this influences a person's level of guilt.


  1. Read this case: BRIAN HOOD/JENNIFER REALI MURDER CASE: It occurred in Colorado Springs. Both couples were married and in their thirties. Both couples had families. Brian and Jennifer began having an affair in 1990. Brian's wife, Dianne, had come down with Lupus disease in 1989. Brian constantly complained about his wife, even to the point that he wished she were dead. Jennifer's husband was in the military, and Jennifer had a lot of experience with handguns. On September 12, 1991, Jennifer, dressed in army fatigues and a ski mask, waited for Dianne to leave a meeting. Jennifer then grabbed her purse in an attempt to make the killing look like robbery. Dianne turned to run, and the first shot hit her in the right shoulder . As Dianne begged for her life, Jennifer took careful aim and shot her through the heart. She later dumped the army fatigues in a nearby alley. She was later arrested. Her defense was that Brian Hood had planned the murder, and that she was under his control. She was therefore not responsible for her actions. Brian Hood denied any involvement. Jennifer testified that they had set an exact date for the murder weeks before the crime.
  2. Review and study the following legal words:
  1. Answer the following questions in small groups.
    1. What specific actions show the degree of intent?
    2. Is Brian Hood an accessory?
    3. Should they both be charged with first degree murder?
    4. What should their individual punishments be?
  2. Formulate questions like:
  1. Write an opinion and sentencing report. Be sure to justify your opinion with facts from the case.
  2. Present your opinion to the public (the class).



©Adapted from a lesson by Fred W. Miller, Denver Academy; Denver, Colorado