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Chapter 15: Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Web Activity Lesson Plans

In this chapter students read about the laws that govern our society. To be fully effective laws must be fair and must treat all people equally. When the U.S. Constitution was written some political leaders were concerned because a statement of rights was not included in the document. Shortly after the Constitution was ratified, the Bill of Rights was added. These first ten amendments are the basis for some of our most important freedoms and legal rights.

Lesson Description
In this lesson students will visit FindLaw, a very complete source of information on the Constitution, lawyers, and the nation's laws. They will read about the origins of some of the rights protected by the Fifth Amendment. After answering several questions, they will write and perform a skit about a person accused of crime during a period in time when none of the rights that people enjoy today apply.

Instructional Objectives
  1. The learner will be able to describe the origins of grand juries and the right to remain silent.
  2. The learner will be able to hypothesize on a situation in which there are no legal rights.
  3. The learner will be able to write and perform a skit.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. Grand juries can be traced back to Athens and Norman England.
  2. The stated constitutional function of grand juries in federal courts is to return criminal indictments, but they also serve an important investigative function.
  3. The underlying idea of the prohibition of double jeopardy is that the State should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, subjecting him to embarrassment and expense as well as increasing the possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty.
  4. Forced confessions were first excluded from trials in the latter part of the 18th century.
  5. Students' skits will vary.
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