TKAM Group 4

Download the directions for the Group Teacher Project

Group 4: The Trial of Tom Robinson: The Death Penalty and Criminal Law

1st period presentation: Wednesday, April 6th from 7:40 – 8:05

  • Salma
  • Angel
  • Miguel
  • Steele

5th period presentation: Tuesday, April 7th from 11:40 – 12:03

  • Matthew
  • Shantel
  • Emilee
  • Joaquin
  • Shelia
  • The History of the Use of Capital Punishment/Death Penalty in the United States:
    • For what cases was the death penalty initially used in colonial United States? Was it ever outlawed nationally? Why?
    • What states currently use the death penalty and what crimes are worthy of the death penalty in those states?
    • Has the death penalty been disproportionally used between Blacks & Whites? Explain the disproportionality and factors that may explain it.
  • The Scottsboro Case: A Landmark Case and Its Impact on Capital Punishment Cases
    • Explain/summarize what the case was (i.e. who was involved, what the charges were, when it occurred, what the final decision was, etc.)
    • Why was this case such a significant one in terms of its impact on capital punishment?
    • What were the mistakes made in this case by prosecutors, defenders, witnesses, etc. that indicate this may have not been a fair case? How does this case illustrate how race impacted the outcomes of many court cases?
  • Major Criminal Court Procedures: Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel (Atticus defending Tom Robinson) and Right to a Jury Trial (Right to a Jury of Your Peers)
    • Summarize the major points of the amendment and explain the rights it ensures/protects for every individual charged with a crime.
    • What challenges to the amendment have been raised and how has the amendment been interpreted differently over history?
    • In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is a black man who has been charged with rape. His jury will be all white farmers. Based on your research for the sixth amendment, what are some problems you can see coming up in his trial that would show he won’t be tried fairly and his rights may have been denied?
  • The Fairness of Capital Punishment: Under the Eighth Amendment, is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment?
    • Summarize the major points of the amendment and explain the rights it ensures/protects for every individual charged with a crime.
    • Under the amendment, how can capital punishment be viewed as cruel and unusual punishment? How is it viewed as falling outside this amendment, and, therefore, still used by certain states?
    • How has your research changed or informed your own views on capital punishment? How has it changed your view of the prisoners sitting on death row who are facing capital punishment? What are some of the major obstacles that come up in a death penalty case that makes them complicated instead of clear-cut?



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