Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Draft Directs

Tonight, draft AT LEAST 20 direct examination questions for your assigned witness. Don't just choose the easy questions -- try to get to the heart of the issue. You must:

  • Include a clear attempt to develop a theory
  • Include references to a clear theme
  • Avoid leading questions
  • Ask GOOD questions -- not yes/no
  • Decide what is most important for this witness to say
These are due on your desk at the start of tomorrow's class period. I encourage you to TYPE your work and e-mail yourself a copy so that you can use it in the computer lab tomorrow. You must bring a hard copy with you to class either way.

The assignment is worth 20 points.

Our example direct from class today is below. If you are one of the people assigned to continue the line of questioning we started, you must ADD at least 20 questions. Remember -- our finished directs will have around 40 questions (give or take).

Direct Examination of Riley Rendlow
1. Riley, would you please state your full name for the court?
A. My name is Riley Rendlow.
2. How old are you Riley?
3. Did you go to college?
a. Oh yes, I graduated from the University of Illinois with a biology degree.
4. What do you do for a living?
I currently work as an animal caretaker for the estate of Estelle Heeney-Potter. I also am a part time volunteer at the Animal Café.
5. We’ve heard a little already today about the Animal Café, but can you tell the court exactly what it is?
6. Did you know Estelle Heeney-Potter?
7. How did you meet her?
a. Well, I first met Estelle at the Animal Café. She came in one day to start the adoption process for her two dogs, Bessie and Homer.
8. When you first met Estelle, were you aware that she was a wealthy woman?
9. Do you know whether Estelle was very active with the Animal Café?
a. Yes, sometime after I met her I learned that she was actually a co-founder of the shelter. She loved animals as much as anyone I’ve ever met.
10. How did Estelle come to appoint you to be the caretaker for her pets?
a. Well, we really hit it off.
b. She visited the Animal Café with the dogs a few times, and we started to chat a lot.
c. It turned out we shared a lot of the same interests – books, cooking, movies, walking and more.
d. And I think she may have been a little lonely since her two kids, Addison and Alexi pretty much ignored her.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Draft Closing Arguments Assignment

In order to really start tying together our theory of the trial, we must really start to break down our exact theory of the case. What do we have to show for each side to win? What theme will we repeat throughout the case?

This weekend, use your opening statement and binders to write a closing argument. You must time your argument:

  • Petitioners: 5 minutes
  • Respondents: 4 minutes

45 point homework grade, based on the scoring guidelines (Rules, pp. 37-39).

Hints on Writing the Closing Arguments

  • What is your theory?
  • What was the theme of your opening statement? (Ex: "Riley Rendlow is a sponge, looking to soak up all of the money around him." "Addison and Alexi are callous children, whose cold-hearted nature forced their mother to turn to furry animals for warmth.")
  • What evidence did you tell the judge you would present during your opening?
  • Did you, theoretically, prove this evidence's relevance during the trial?
  • What is the last image you want to leave in the judge's mind when you leave the courtroom?
  • Most importantly, Who said What?
Here's another theme, courtesy of Rukiat: "One bad apple spoils the bunch. Addison Heeney-Potter is the bad apple in this bunch. And this rotten apple is spoiling her mother's good intentions."

Sorry, Rukiat, I couldn't remember the exact wording. Post it in the comments section if you want everyone to see it.

If you need some inspiration, or just want an example, here's Atticus Finch's closing argument from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union Assignment

Watch the State of the Union address -- you can find the video at the White House website (link).

Record at least three of the president's main points. Explain why you chose these points.

Then, evaluate his speech. Is it successful? Explain your response.

This assignment should take a minimum of 2 paragraphs to complete. It is due tomorrow, and is worth 10 points.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Petition and our first Fact Quiz

Read the "PETITION" on pp. 4-6.

On loose leaf paper, record 5 salient points from the petition. This assignment is due on your desk at the start of tomorrow's class, and will be worth 10 points.

Be prepared to take a 15-question, 15 point True or False fact quiz. Topics:

  • Statement of Case
  • Stipulations
  • Petition
  • Statute

Be aware: It will be intentionally "tricky."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Primary Homework

Tonight, go home and keep an eye on the New Hampshire Republican Primary. Answer the following questions on loose leaf paper:
1. What is the purpose of the primary?
2. Name the 5 candidates actively participating in the primary.
3. Polls close at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time (7:00 here). Who appears to be winning?
4. Write down three things you learned from the coverage.