CTE Task: Landmark Supreme Court Cases Exploration

Click here to download the teacher resource for this task. 

COURSE:

Criminal Justice I

CLASS PERIOD LENTH:

One hour

 

Task Description

Standards

  • Students will read about landmark Supreme Court cases on the Historical Supreme Court Cases Document and fill out the guided reading document that accompanies the case summaries.
  • Students will pick three cases to depict in a comic strip (an example is at the bottom of this document). Students may use whatever medium the teacher decides then submit the comic strips to the teacher.

 

Types of media may include:

  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper and colored pencils/markers
  • Electronic comic strip (see note below)

 18) Explore the rights of the accused guaranteed by the United States Constitution in Amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 14. Review and defend landmark cases and determine effects on law enforcement policy, and corrections policy (search and seizure, exclusionary rule, Miranda, and rights of incarcerated individuals). Create a flow chart to depict the processing of an offender through the criminal justice system citing laws, procedures, and policies that protect the offender’s rights.

 Content Understandings

Extending Understandings

Upon successful completion of these tasks students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • describe at least three landmark Supreme Court cases,
  • explain how they apply to the judicial system today, and
  • demonstrate their understanding of the cases they select by depicting the cases in comic strips.

 

To move students towards deeper understanding, they should be given opportunities to:

  • View each other’s comic strips and provide constructive feedback regarding the clarity of the comic strip’s depiction of the case. Sample sentence frame: This comic strip does not depict the case, because major key points were left out.
  •  View a hearing online and create discussion questions for a class chat.

 

 

Support Strategies

If students are struggling to access this task, additional supports and strategies could be employed as students are engaging with the task.

Key Terms

Sentence Frames

Scaffolded Questions

Opinion

 

 

Decision

 

Petitioner

 

 

 

Respondent

  1. When the court issues their __________, they describe the reasoning behind their ruling.
  2. At the end of the hearing, the court delivers their _________ or ruling.
  3. The ________ brought her case asking to the Supreme Court asking them to protect her right to freedom of expression.
  4. The ___________opposed the petition that asked the Supreme Court to uphold a decision to drop charges against a defendant who was not provided legal representation.
  1. What is the function of the Supreme Court?
  2. What steps does a case go through before being heard by the Supreme Court?
  3. What is a landmark case?
  4. How do landmark cases influence lower court cases?

Additional Resources

The following comic strip example was made with https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/. This free site allows students to work for free and email their work to their own, or your, email address without creating an account. The site is extremely user friendly, and students without any knowledge of the site should be able to create a comic strip once they experiment for a few minutes.

Miranda rights comic

 

Lakeman, J.D. (2019). Historical Supreme Court Cases [Class handout].

Student Resources

Click here to download the student resource for this task. 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE I

HISTORICAL SUPREME COURT CASES ACTIVITY

 

Directions: Read thru the Historical Supreme Court Cases document and complete the attached guided reading sheet. Next, choose three cases you are interested in and create a comic strip to summarize the facts and the outcome of the case. There is an example of a comic strip at the end of this document. You may choose to create your own comic strips by illustrating them on paper, or you may use the comic strip generator: comic strip generator: https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/. When you have completed the assignment, turn your work in either by emailing the comic strips or taking a photo of them to email.

 

 

ROCHIN v. CALIFORNIA

Case Basics

Docket No.:  83

Petitioner:  Rochin

Respondent:  California

Decided By:  Vinson Court (1949-1953)

Opinion:  342 U.S. 165 (1952)

Argued:  Tuesday, October 16, 1951

Decided:  Wednesday, January 2, 1952

 

Facts of the Case: 

Rochin swallowed drug capsules to dispose of evidence. The police pummeled him and jumped on his stomach in a vain effort to make him throw up. They took him to a hospital where a doctor was instructed by the police officers to administer an emetic by forceably passing a tube into Rochin's stomach. He vomited the capules and was convicted on the basis of the evidence produced from his vomit.

Question: 

Did the police procedure forcing Rochin to vomit violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment?

Conclusion: 

The Court reversed the conviction. The police violated Rochin's right to due process of law. Due process was an admittedly vague concept, but it prohibited "conduct that shocks the conscience." This nebulous approach was mocked in a concurring opinion by Justice Black.

 

MAPP v. OHIO

Case Basics

Docket No.:  236

Petitioner:  Ohio

Respondent:  Mapp

Decided By:  Warren Court (1958-1962)

Opinion:  367 U.S. 643 (1961)

Argued:  Wednesday, March 29, 1961

Decided:  Monday, June 19, 1961

Issues:  Criminal Procedure, Search and Seizure

Categories:  fourth amendment, searches and seizures, criminal

 

Facts of the Case: 

Dolree Mapp was convicted of possessing obscene materials after an admittedly illegal police search of her home for a fugitive. She appealed her conviction on the basis of freedom of expression.

Question: 

Were the confiscated materials protected by the First Amendment? (May evidence obtained through a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment be admitted in a state criminal proceeding?)

Conclusion: 

The Court brushed aside the First Amendment issue and declared that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by [the Fourth Amendment], inadmissible in a state court." Mapp had been convicted on the basis of illegally obtained evidence. This was an historic -- and controversial -- decision. It placed the requirement of excluding illegally obtained evidence from court at all levels of the government. The decision launched the Court on a troubled course of determining how and when to apply the exclusionary rule.

Decisions

Decision: 6 votes for Mapp, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

GIDEON v. WAINWRIGHT

 

Case Basics

Docket No.: 155

Petitioner: Gideon

Respondent: Wainwright

Decided By: Warren Court (1962-1965)

Opinion: 372 U.S. 335 (1963)

Argued: Tuesday, January 15, 1963

Decided: Monday, March 18, 1963

Issues: Criminal Procedure, Right to Counsel

Categories: right to counsel, sixth amendment, criminal

 

Facts of the Case: 

Gideon was charged in a Florida state court with a felony for breaking and entering. He lacked funds and was unable to hire a lawyer to prepare his defense. When he requested the court to appoint an attorney for him, the court refused, stating that it was only obligated to appoint counsel to indigent defendants in capital cases. Gideon defended himself in the trial; he was convicted by a jury and the court sentenced him to five years in a state prison.

Question: 

Did the state court's failure to appoint counsel for Gideon violate his right to a fair trial and due process of law as protected by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion: 

In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that Gideon had a right to be represented by a court-appointed attorney and, in doing so, overruled its 1942 decision of Betts v. Brady. In this case the Court found that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel was a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial, which should be made applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Black called it an "obvious truth" that a fair trial for a poor defendant could not be guaranteed without the assistance of counsel. Those familiar with the American system of justice, commented Black, recognized that "lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries."

Decisions

Decision: 9 votes for Gideon, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Right to Counsel

MIRANDA v. ARIZONA

 

Case Basics

Docket No.: 759

Petitioner: Miranda

Respondent: Arizona

Consolidation: California v. Stewart, No. 584, Vignera v. New York, No. 760, Westover v. United States, No. 761

Decided By: Warren Court (1965-1967)

Opinion: 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

Argued: February 28-March 2, 1966

Decided: Monday, June 13, 1966

Issues: Criminal Procedure, Miranda Warnings

Categories: right to counsel, self-incrimination, fifth amendment, criminal

 

Facts of the Case: 

The Court was called upon to consider the constitutionality of a number of instances, ruled on jointly, in which defendants were questioned "while in custody or otherwise deprived of [their] freedom in any significant way." In Vignera v. New York, the petitioner was questioned by police, made oral admissions, and signed an inculpatory statement all without being notified of his right to counsel. Similarly, in Westover v. United States, the petitioner was arrested by the FBI, interrogated, and made to sign statements without being notified of his right to counsel. Lastly, in California v. Stewart, local police held and interrogated the defendant for five days without notification of his right to counsel. In all these cases, suspects were questioned by police officers, detectives, or prosecuting attorneys in rooms that cut them off from the outside world. In none of the cases were suspects given warnings of their rights at the outset of their interrogation.

Question: 

Does the police practice of interrogating individuals without notifiying them of their right to counsel and their protection against self-incrimination violate the Fifth Amendment?

Conclusion: 

The Court held that prosecutors could not use statements stemming from custodial interrogation of defendants unless they demonstrated the use of procedural safeguards "effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination." The Court noted that "the modern practice of in-custody interrogation is psychologically rather than physically oriented" and that "the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition." The Court specifically outlined the necessary aspects of police warnings to suspects, including warnings of the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations.

Decisions

Decision: 5 votes for Miranda, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Self-Incrimination

KATZ v. U.S.

 

Case Basics

Docket No.: 35

Petitioner: Katz

Respondent: United States

Decided By: Warren Court (1967-1969)

Opinion: 389 U.S. 347 (1967)

Argued: Tuesday, October 17, 1967

Decided: Monday, December 18, 1967

Issues: Criminal Procedure, Search and Seizure

Categories: wiretapping, searches and seizures, criminal

 

Facts of the Case: 

Acting on a suspicion that Katz was transmitting gambling information over the phone to clients in other states, Federal agents attached an eavesdropping device to the outside of a public phone booth used by Katz. Based on recordings of his end of the conversations, Katz was convicted under an eight-count indictment for the illegal transmission of wagering information from Los Angeles to Boston and Miami. On appeal, Katz challanged his conviction arguing that the recordings could not be used as evidence against him. The Court of Appeals rejected this point, noting the absence of a physical intrusion into the phone booth itself. The Court granted certiorari.

Question: 

Does the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures require the police to obtain a search warrant in order to wiretap a public pay phone?

Conclusion: 

Yes. The Court ruled that Katz was entitled to Fourth Amendment protection for his conversations and that a physical intrusion into the area he occupied was unnecessary to bring the Amendment into play. "The Fourth Amendment protects people, not places," wrote Justice Potter Stewart for the Court. A concurring opinion by John Marshall Harlan introduced the idea of a 'reasonable' expectation of Fourth Amendment protection.

Decisions

Decision: 7 votes for Katz, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

NEW JERSEY v. T.L.O.

 

Case Basics

Docket No.: 83-712

Petitioner: New Jersey

Respondent: T.L.O.

Decided By: Burger Court (1981-1986)

Opinion: 469 U.S. 325 (1985)

Argued: Wednesday, March 28, 1984

Reargued: Tuesday, October 2, 1984

Decided: Tuesday, January 15, 1985

Issues: Civil Rights, Juveniles

Categories: fourth amendment, searches and seizures, education

 

Facts of the Case: 

T.L.O. was a fourteen-year-old; she was accused of smoking in the girls' bathroom of her high school. A principal at the school questioned her and searched her purse, yielding a bag of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.

Question: 

Did the search violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion: 

No. Citing the peculiarities associated with searches on school grounds, the Court abandoned its requirement that searches be conducted only when a "probable cause" exists that an individual has violated the law. The Court used a less strict standard of "reasonableness" to conclude that the search did not violate the Constitution. The presence of rolling papers in the purse gave rise to a reasonable suspicion in the principal's mind that T.L.O. may have been carrying drugs, thus, justifying a more thorough search of the purse.

Decisions

Decision: 6 votes for New Jersey, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

Significant Supreme Court Case Guided Reading Sheet

 

Name:  ________________________________                                          Period: _________

 

Date due: __________________

 

Directions: Read thru the Historical Supreme Court Cases document and complete this guided reading sheet. Next, choose three cases you are particularly interested in and create a comic strip to summarize the facts and the outcome of the case. There is an example at the end of this document. You may choose to create your own comic strips by illustrating them on paper, or you may use the comic strip generator: comic strip generator: https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/. When you have completed the assignment, turn your work in either by emailing the comic strips or taking a photo of them to email.

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 1:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

               

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 2:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

 

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 3:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

 

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 4:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

 

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 5:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

 

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

COURT CASE NUMBER 6:

Name

(it might be helpful to include a date, too)

 

Facts of the case

WHO:

 

WHERE:

 

WHAT:

 

WHEN:

 

WHY:

 

OTHER:

 

         

 

Write at least three sentences describing the outcome of the case answering the following question- Why is this case important to us, or the judicial system today?

 

 

Miranda vs. Arizona