United States Government: Democracy in Action
Liberty and Justice for All
Big Idea Activity
Do the courts administer justice fairly?
Assignment: Sentence the Accused Assignment Task List
Create sentencing guidelines for those accused of crimes.
Step 1: Review the constitutional rights of the accused. Summarize the guarantees in a chart like the one below:
Rights of the Accused
Article I, Section 9
Step 2: Sequence the steps in the criminal justice process. Create a flow chart like the one below. List the steps in a criminal case at the top of each box. Then briefly explain what is involved in each step. (35.0K)
Step 3: Discuss sentencing procedures. Who usually determines the sentence? What determines minimum and maximum penalties for a crime? Step 4: Organize into odd-numbered groups. Study the list of crimes below and come to a consensus for the sentence of each crime.
CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON
- Attempts to kill
- Assault and Battery
|CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC JUSTICE |
CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC DECENCY AND GOOD MORALS
- Bribery and corruption
- Falsifying public records
- Intimidating or threatening witnesses
- Money laundering
- Fraud and embezzlement
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
- Abandonment and neglect of children
- Spousal abusers
- Forgery and counterfeiting
Step 5: Go online to investigate your state's penal code. Compare the sentences your group imposed to the real minimum and maximum penalties for each crime. Were your group's penalties more lenient? More strict?
Step 6: Regroup as the whole class. Have a spokesperson from each group state the penalties each group decided upon for each crime. Compare the sentences. Should these sentences be mandatory? Should other factors weight the sentences? Explain your responses in a two-paragraph essay.
After the activity has been completed, use information from your online investigations to discuss this question: Do the courts administer justice fairly?