Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cheaters? The Project.

The scenario: You, or your classmate, have been accused of cheating on the Law & Government exam. You play the role of the accused cheater OR a witness. We will use this situation to model the trial preparation process and to prepare for your exam. 

Read all of the information below and use it to complete the assignment given. All assignments are due Monday in an e-mail to me.

If you have questions, e-mail me or see me Monday.

Follow the instructions carefully.

The Case
Providence St. Mel v. Vanecia/Jazmin

Type of Case

Burden of Proof
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant is guilty based on the preponderance of the evidence.

Statement of the Case
On March 10, 2011, PSM's Law & Government class took its final exam. The class was exhausted from weeks of preparing for the mock trial, and although the students were hoping to earn an "A" on the exam, many were just plain ready for a break.

During the exam, the Defendant (Vanecia or Jazmin) was caught with a paper underneath her desk. The paper was full of writing. The handwriting, although identifiable as belonging to the Defendant, was illegible. In addition, the Defendant, who had her sleeves rolled up to her elbows during the exam, clearly had writing on her left/right arm. The writing was smudged, as though the Defendant had hurriedly attempted to wipe it away.

Both the writing on her arm and the rolled up sleeves are punishable by a uniform violation. The uniform violation is not part of this case.

Mr. Ramin, the Law & Government teacher, quickly accused the Defendant of cheating. He issued her a referral and sent her to the dean's office. If she is convicted of the crime, the defendant will receive a zero on her exam and three work detentions.

During the exam, the classroom held Mr. Ramin, the Defendant, and 17 other students. Two or three of the students are called as witnesses in the case.

The Defendant has a history of cheating -- she was caught red-handed ONCE during her Sophomore/Junior year. She admitted the crime, and was sentenced to a zero on the test and three work detentions.

Notes: The above details are set in stone. You have creative control over the rest of the case. The layout of the room as described should be approximately that of Room 309 in real life. All evidence rules I discussed with you in class yesterday still apply (i.e., the writing can be on right or left arm). Don't forget to bring up ANY and ALL evidence that you think will help prove your side's version of the case.

Definition of Cheating
A person commits the offense of cheating when she knowingly uses an unapproved aid to complete a test or assignment. The "cheater" does not have to have been successful in scoring highly to be convicted of cheating.

Yesterday in class, you had the opportunity to create an affidavit for your character -- witness or defendant. Today, type that affidavit into an MS Word document. Save the document to your H: drive, then e-mail it to me. Make sure that your affidavit conforms to the "facts" as written above. Your affidavit will be graded based on the following criteria:
  • Completeness: 5 points
  • Model (follows style of People v. Grey affidavits): 5 points
  • Language Mechanics: 5 points
  • Cohesiveness (your affidavit fits in with the information given by your teammates): 5 points
  • Total: 20 point project, individual grade
Direct/Cross Questions
Now you will act as LAWYERS. Trade your affidavits. Everyone should have an affidavit different from the one he/she wrote. Use your affidavit to complete the following:
  1. Identify the areas of the witness' testimony that support your position in the case. You will most likely play the DEFENSE role here. Create a minimum of 15 direct examination questions AND answers for your witnesses. Model your questions on the ones we created (posted on the wiki). You really SHOULD be able to create more than 15 directs. Remember -- you can start with something as simple as the Defendant's name.
  2. Identify at least 2 weaknesses in the witness' testimony. You will most likely play the PLAINTIFF role here. Create a minimum of 10 cross examination questions for your witnesses. Answers are not necessary for cross questions.
It will most likely be best to divide the roles so that you can complete them in the time provided.

Save your questions to your H: drive, then e-mail them to me. Your direct + cross questions will be graded based on the following criteria:
  • Quality/Completeness of 15 directs: 5 points
  • Directs support witness' position: 5 points
  • Quality/Completeness of 10 crosses: 5 points
  • Crosses support attorney's position: 5 points
  • Language Mechanics: 5 points
  • Total: 25 point project
You will receive 2 project grades from this activity: 1 for your affidavit, 1 for your directs/crosses.

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