Law Adventure Mock Trial Exercises Grades Seven and Eight
Table of Contents
In 1995Ė96 the New Jersey State Bar Foundation launched a unique, law-related education program for middle school students ó the Law Adventure Competition.
Students in grades seven and eight and their teachers are invited to create original mock trial cases. Each year the Foundation provides two themes for cases. The cases are judged on the basis of originality and educational value in teaching students about their legal rights and responsibilities. Winners are selected in each grade level. The trials are then conducted before student audiences at special Law Adventure programs in the spring. The seventh- and eighth-grade audiences serve as juries.
Following are the winning cases from the Law Adventure 2002 Competition. Themes for last yearís contest were as follows: (1) First Amendment rights and (2) Violence or threats of violence at school, home or in the community.
The cases may be used as a guide to prepare a submission to the Law Adventure 2003 Competition or as a classroom exercise on the law. Please note that some of the cases may contain "laws" created by the students for the purpose of this competition, which may not necessarily be actual laws. The cases are fictitious.
This project is made possible by funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey.
Law Adventure won the Award of Excellence in the 2002 Associations Advance America Awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives in Washington, D.C. This prestigious award recognizes innovative projects that advance American society in education, skills training, community service and citizenship.
If you would like to participate in the Law Adventure 2003 Competition, please call 1-800-FREE LAW or 732-937-7519 for a free copy of the State Bar Foundationís Law Adventure Competition brochure or write to Law Adventure 2003, New Jersey State Bar Foundation, One Constitution Square, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1520.
For information about other free, law-related education services available from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, visit us online at www.njsbf.org.
©2002 New Jersey State Bar Foundation. All rights reserved.
The Case of No harm "In Morning"
Six weeks after the September 11 tragedies, six seventh-grade students in Mt. View Public Middle School created a group called "In Morning." These six students used their cafeteria lunchtime to assemble together. The students conducted the sessions by mumbling and lowering their heads. Their body language indicated that they were meditating.
Mrs. Aggie Tated, the lunch aide, observed the peculiar behavior by the group and asked them some basic questions. She was curious to determine the reasons for their behavior and what they intended to achieve by conducting their sessions. Ivana Morn, the head of the group, told Mrs. Tated that the group intended to bring peace and comfort silently to their minds following the September 11 tragedies.
Other seventh-graders in the lunchroom curiously stared and made crude remarks about the groupís behavior. Some students shot spitballs, some yelled insults, and others made immature gestures mocking them. In an effort to stop the taunting that could lead to further distress, Mrs. Tated demanded that the group stop their sessions.
In Morning chose to ignore Mrs. Tatedís demand to stop and continued to conduct their ceremonious acts. Additionally, they recruited 11 more students, making a total of 17, and they began wearing black T-shirts. Mrs. Tated became concerned that the groupís actions were signs of antisocial isolation that might make them targets of violence. She referred them to the guidance counselor, Mr. Guy Dense. As a form of retaliation, the group posted signs on student bulletin boards stating "No Harm In Morning."
Concerned for the safety of the school, Mrs. Tated sent the 17 students to Mr. Dense. Mr. Dense interviewed the students and concluded that they were at risk students. After further evaluation of the 17 students, the school suspended six of them. These students were not permitted to return to school until the sessions ceased and they discontinued wearing their black T-shirts. Additionally, these six students were not permitted to return to school until they began therapy with a professional therapist.
Will B. Sooinís father, I.M. Sooin, is suing Mt.View Public Middle School for violating his sonís First Amendment rights. Subsequent lawsuits have been filed by the remaining five studentsí parents.
Was forbidding the In Morning group from holding lunch sessions and not allowing them to wear unified clothing a violation of their First Amendment rights?
For the Plaintiff
Isadore M. Sooin
For the Defense
Testimony of Ivana Morn
I am a 12-year-old, seventh-grade student at Mt. View Public Middle School. I have been going to the school since the fifth grade and feel very comfortable. Iím a good, respectable student who never did anything wrong. A few months ago, I was upset by the tragic news involving my Uncle Sam and a terrible attack on his work place. On September 11, I was taken home early and told the bad news of what happened to our country. My Uncle Sam was killed in New York City. Since that day, I have been stressed out and found the only way I could cope with these feelings was by meditation with my friends at home and at school. I started my own group that involved students who were also affected by the September 11 attacks and together we began our sessions.
We practiced our form of meditation in a peaceful way. We also wore black T- shirts to show our unity. I remember when our teachers were considering a strike because of an unsettled contract. The teachers all wore black to show their unity and we thought it would be okay if we did the same. When our lunch aide, Mrs. Tated, questioned us, I explained that we simply wanted to express our grief through silent meditation and I asked that she respect our choice and politely told her not to disrupt us.
After this, other children began to make fun of us, but it wasnít a big deal. They were just being kids. Although we did nothing to bother them, Mrs. Tated called us a disturbance and sent us to a guidance counselor. We were watched closely for a while after that, and then informed that we were suspended until we would agree to stop our sessions and stop wearing our supposedly "cult-like" outfits. We were not a cult. We just wanted to show our feelings about whatís going on in our country.
Testimony of Isadore M. Sooin
My name is Isadore Sooin and I am the father of Will B. Sooin, a seventh-grader at Mt. View Middle School. My son was going through a tough time following the September 11 tragedies as we lost a dear family friend that day. Will asked if he could join a group at school called "In Morning." I asked him what the motive of this club was and he said it was for finding peace and comfort silently during lunchtime. I felt that this could help him with the sadness he was experiencing. A few days later, I noticed that my son was happier and more serene. The sharing of feelings with his friends was beneficial to his own mental health.
On October 26, I received a notice that said my son should report to the guidance office because of erratic behaviors displayed in school. I was contacted by the school counselor that evening and told that my son was being suspended for participating in a socially deviant cult and that he was a threat to the school population. I was furious. When Mr. Dense, the guidance counselor, told me the allegations, immediately I knew this was far-fetched and that the school was making a big deal out of this.
Thereís nothing wrong with my kid; he doesnít need therapy. Nowhere in the school handbook does it say anything about not being allowed to socialize with friends. I am filing charges against the Mt. View Middle School for violating my childís First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.
Testimony of Aggie Tated
My name is Aggie Tated. I am a lunch aide at Mt. View Public Middle School, where I have worked for five years. I was the lunch supervisor there on October 17, 2001, when a group of students, calling themselves "In Morning," began to cause a disturbance in our normally peaceful lunch routine. The children wore black T- shirts and used their lunch period to assemble and hold sessions of meditation. They bowed their heads and mumbled what others believed to be prayers. It looked like praying to me.
I asked some harmless questions to find out why they were doing this. Ivana Morn, who was the obvious leader of this newly formed group, sneered at me, saying that they were doing their own thing their own way. She told me to mind my own business. I was unsettled by her dismissive tone and behavior toward me. I felt that there was some ulterior motive to this groupís purpose. I knew these kids for several years and realized they were typically social outcasts among their peers.
Other children became disturbed by the In Morning actions; there was teasing and unkind comments were exchanged. I did all I could to stop this as any good lunch aide would. They appeared to be forming an antisocial cult, which provoked negative attention from their fellow students. Immediately I thought of the incident that occurred at Columbine with the Trench Coat Mafia group that wore clothing that ostracized them from the regular school population.
For fear that something like this might happen, I sent this In Morning group to the guidance counselor, Mr. Guy Dense. He decided it would be best if they were suspended in order to discourage violent behavior and ideas. Immediately following the disciplinary action taken, I found a note on my desk warning "ULTIMATE BETRAYERS WILL PAY!" It was quite obvious in my mind that In Morning was responsible for this unnecessary threat of violence. If another situation like the unfortunate Columbine incident occurred, I would blame myself for not taking action early enough. This was in the best interest of the school.
Testimony of Guy Dense
My name is Guy Dense and Iím the guidance counselor at Mt. View Middle School. I have worked there for nine years, and this is the first time I have seen such disturbed children in the school. Due to their need to grieve and mourn in school, it was apparent that they formed this In Morning group.
On October 26, 2001, Ms. Aggie Tated brought to my attention that there were 17 students in dire need of my assistance. During the course of the day, I met with each student separately as well as an entire group. The kids were using school time to channel and cope with their grief while expressing social deviance through unified clothing. They were really upset and in apparent need of grief counseling. I understood why Mrs. Tated was concerned for their well-being, as well as the safety of the whole student body. They certainly were displaying deviant and erratic behavior. Some of the kids were in actual grief and fearful of the future of America, some were just following along to be accepted within the group, and some of the kids actually thought they were going to recruit the remaining students in the school and force them to show unity and support of their country. There were discussions of retaliation against students who resisted joining the group.
After interviewing them for a period of time, I recommended to six of their parents that their child attend private counseling. The remaining kids were not a serious threat so they did not undergo this disciplinary action. They were told to stop participating in this group. My recommendations were completely supported by the principal and superintendent. The six studentsí parents resisted the schoolís action. However, due to school policy, if the administration deems students at risk, they may not return to school until they have begun therapy by a private specialist. The parents were told that their kids could return to school under the conditions that they do not wear distinct unified clothing and do not assemble during lunch for any reason other than normal socialization. I feel that what we did was appropriate to protect the group from becoming a larger threat or disturbance to the school as a whole.
The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the Mt. View Middle School disciplinary action taken against students from the In Morning group, requiring them to dismantle the group and stop wearing unified clothing, was a violation of the studentís First Amendment rights.
1. Did Mrs. Tated send the In Morning group to guidance to avoid a disruption that would prevent other children from focusing on their schoolwork?
2. Was Mrs. Tated targeting the group because they were acting without authorization?
3. Was the In Morning groupís actions a form of protected speech?
4. Did the school properly balance the childrenís constitutional rights against the schoolís legitimate need to maintain an environment conducive to learning?
5. Did the school use adequate procedures to achieve this?
6. Should students be punished for showing unity by wearing black clothing, which could be interpreted as symbolic speech?
1. Burden of proof; preponderance of evidence.
2. Reasonable precautions taken by school district.
3. First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
1. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech.
2. Symbolic speech is a type of communication protected under the First Amendment.
3. School policy mandates that any student deemed psychologically at risk is required to enroll in a psychotherapy program by a licensed psychologist before being allowed to return to school.
4. The school dress code states that students are expected to dress appropriately; however, the responsibility for the appearance of students rests with the parents and the students. Parents have the right to determine such studentsí dress providing that such attire is not destructive to school property, complies with the health code, and does not create a safety hazard or distraction for their child or others.
5. The public schools in the state of New Jersey are charged with creating a safe, non-hostile environment for students and employees. Any behavior which violates this regulation is punishable by school officials and may have legal implications for students and parents.
6. Zero tolerance policy.
Kermaynish and Sanchez v. State University
Rubin Sanchez earned an art scholarship to State University, and he frequently contributed editorial cartoons to the university student newspaper. On September 11, 2001, Rubin lost a very close uncle when the World Trade Center was attacked. As a means of working through his grief, he drew an editorial cartoon. This cartoon showed three men with turbans, long beards, and curved daggers standing in flames. The caption read, "This doesnít look like paradise to me." Rubin submitted the cartoon to the university paper.
Editor-in-chief Jacqueline Kermaynish, a journalism major on scholarship support, approved the cartoon and it was published in the paper the next day. Student editors run the university newspaper which features studentsí articles, editorials, and artwork. The newspaper is funded by advertising revenue and by a subsidy from the student activity fund. Journalism credit is offered to editors who choose to write a paper that is graded by the faculty advisor. The university has allowed students broad freedom regarding control of content. A faculty advisor usually reviews controversial material. However, the determination of the term "controversial" is left up to the student editorial board. Students who are editors have taken an introductory journalism class that includes a review of First Amendment decisions regarding freedom of the press.
Jeanie Rahebi, president of the Islamic Student Center, saw the cartoon and was very offended. She immediately took action and organized a demonstration outside the newspaper office. She also approached the dean of students, Samuel Hertz, protesting the cartoon as a mockery of Islamic beliefs. She reported that students were directing ethnic and religious slurs toward Islamic students and that one Palestinian student had been attacked after the demonstration.
Dean Hertz reviewed the cartoon in light of the university policy on religious discrimination and harassment. He interviewed Jacqueline Kermaynish and Rubin Sanchez. Dean Hertz found that the cartoon violated the universityís policy. He recommended that both students write an apology that would be printed in the university newspaper. If they did not, then both Rubin Sanchez and Jacqueline Kermaynish would be expelled for printing and distributing inflammatory and derogatory material and disseminating it through the university newspaper.
Neither student was willing to write an apology. They were expelled. Both Jacqueline and Rubin lost their scholarships and were faced with difficulty in continuing their education elsewhere. Rubin Sanchez and Jacqueline Kermaynish are suing the university for re-entry to the university with their scholarship support reinstated. They are represented by the Coalition to Protect a Free Press.
In enforcing the nondiscrimination and harassment policy, did the school violate the First Amendment rights of Rubin Sanchez and Jacqueline Kermaynish?
For the Plaintiff
Jacqueline Kermaynish, editor-in-chief of the State University newspaper
Rubin Sanchez, contributing cartoonist for the State University newspaper
For the Defense
Samuel Hertz, dean of students
Jeanie Rahebie, president of the Islamic Student Center
Testimony of Jacqueline Kermaynish
Editorial means statements of opinion in a newspaper. We were on deadline printing the university newspaper, trying to include as much coverage of the September 11 events as possible including student reaction. Rubin Sanchez brought me his editorial cartoon. I felt that it reflected his feelings, which is what an editorial cartoon should do. I also felt that as an editorial, it was protected speech under the First Amendment so I didnít show it to the advisor.
In this cartoon, Mr. Sanchez did not threaten anyone. He did not call on anyone to act violently. His interpretation of what happened to the terrorists reflected his beliefs. The idea that acts of martyrdom lead to paradise is not new. It has been covered in national magazines and newspaper articles. However, the members of the Islamic Student Center took offense. They organized a protest outside our publication offices and drew attention to themselves. It was their protest that angered and incited retaliation, not the editorial cartoon.
Rubin should be able to state his opinion. He was expressing his feelings after losing a very close uncle. He didnít stand up and shout racial slurs or urge an attack on Islamic students. I feel that we are the scapegoats for the universityís inability to adequately protect its Islamic community in a time of high tension and strong emotions.
Testimony of Rubin Sanchez
I only drew the cartoon to help me cope with my own grief at losing my uncle. My uncle was doing his job saving innocent people and look what happened to him. We may never find his body. I draw to express my feelings when I just donít know how to cope with something. When I am nervous or scared, I make jokes. September 11 was more than I could handle. I drew a cartoon about it. I thought that if the terrorists were in hell, it would be ironic, maybe even humorous, because they thought that martyrdom would land them in paradise. I donít feel itís racist. I donít know why everyone is making such a big deal about it.
I had a good art career ahead of me. Iíve been expelled from the university, Iíve lost my scholarship, and now I will lose my lifeís dream. Dean Hertz is concerned about the rights of the Islamic students to study in a bias-free setting, but what about my rights? What happened to freedom of the press? As long as I do not threaten anyone or ask anyone to do something violent, I should be able to express my feelings.
Testimony of Dean Samuel Hertz
State University is culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse. To protect the rights of all students, the university has a strict policy regarding the publication and distribution of inflammatory or derogatory material. I sympathize with Mr. Sanchezís pain. However, the cartoon that Mr. Sanchez drew was not appropriate for the university newspaper. It mocked the beliefs of Islam and perpetuated a stereotype.
As a journalism major, Ms. Kermaynish should have made a better decision regarding the publication of this cartoon. She should have realized that in the context of September 11, 2001, this cartoon was the equivalent of "fighting words." She should have anticipated the effect that such a cartoon would have. It incited campus unrest. Ms. Kermaynish as the editor-in-chief was well aware of school policies regarding tolerance. This all could have been avoided if Ms. Kermaynish had sought guidance from the faculty advisor. State University is a public university. The newspaper receives funding from the student activity fund. Editors of the paper can earn credit in journalism. The Supreme Court has upheld the rights of public schools to censor student publications related to the curriculum.
The university was more than fair in dealing with Ms. Kermaynish and Mr. Sanchez. Had they written and published an apology, they would still be in school and on scholarship support.
Testimony of Jeanie Rahebie
I am president of the Islamic Student Center. After the tragic incidents of September 11, attitudes toward Islamic students on campus changed to hostility. We were all looked at like we were terrorists in training. Why does everyone always assume that the followers of Islam are violent suicidal radicals? We are a people of peace and have always respected the beliefs of others on campus. Mr. Sanchezís drawing was stereotypical and degrading. The cartoon made the deaths humorous and mocked our beliefs by distorting them. Other Islamic students also found this very offensive.
Because Mr. Sanchezís cartoon was published in the university newspaper, it was widely distributed and seen by nearly everyone on campus. This brought on nasty looks and insults.
We organized a protest outside the newspaper offices. After the protest, a Palestinian student was attacked and severely injured. His attackers left a copy of the cartoon stuffed into his shirt. We believe that the attack would not have happened if the cartoon had not incited students. What we wanted was an apology and respect. Why should freedom of speech cost us our safety?
The plaintiff must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the university has violated the right to a free press in its attempt to protect the religious rights of Islamic students.
1. Did the cartoon violate the State University policy prohibiting religious harassment?
2. Does Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier allow the university to exercise censorship?
3. Does the cartoon pass the Chaplinsky Test in that it would not "reasonably incite the average person to retaliate?"
4. Is the definition of "immediate" altered by the long life of print media?
1. The right to censor student publications: In January 1988, the Supreme Court voted 5Ė3 in favor of Hazelwood East High School in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. In writing the majority opinion, Justice Byron White stated, "...we hold that educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns." Justice White further stated that a school may censor student expression "that might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol abuse, irresponsible sex... or to associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy."
The Hazelwood ruling has been applied to public schools in K-12 districts. It allows school administrators broad control over student publication content. The rationale is that student publications are part of the school curriculum and that school curriculum is determined by the administration.
State University is a publicly supported state school. It has extended the Hazelwood decision to university censorship, citing that the school newspaper falls within the college journalism curriculum.
2. Definition of "fighting words": In 1942, in the case of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (315 U.S. 568), the Supreme Court recognized an exception to the First Amendment for "fighting words." The court opinion described such words as "those which by their very utterance (1) inflict injury or (2) tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." Other Court decisions have limited the effect to the most challenging and confrontational of words spoken in a face-to-face encounter and those likely to lead to immediate fighting.
The college administration reasoned that looking at the cartoon in print was the same as a face-to-face encounter. Further, given the circumstances and mood of the campus following the events of September 11, 2001, the cartoon would likely lead to imminent retaliation.
3. Third party effects at a later time: In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court held that a threat uttered at a KKK rally did not give a prospect of immediate action and was therefore protected. The Ninth Circuit court wrote that "Political speech may not be punished just because it makes it more likely that someone will be harmed at some unknown time in the future by an unrelated third party." The Coalition to Protect a Free Press reasoned that the editorial cartoon did not carry any threat to any group and was simply an expression of the artistís opinion of what happened to the suicide mission participants. The students could not be responsible for the actions of a third party at some later time.
4. Burden of proof: Preponderance of the evidence means that the plaintiff must prove the case by weight of the evidence in his or her favor.
State University Policy Regarding Discrimination
Harassing behavior based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap, or Vietnam-era veteran status is a form of discrimination and is prohibited by university policy. Harassment is a behavior that threatens to destroy the environment of tolerance and mutual respect fostered by the university.
No publication or distribution of inflammatory or derogatory material will be tolerated on campus, nor will speech to incite action against anyone or any group strictly on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap, or Vietnam-era veteran status be tolerated. The university is prepared to act to prevent or correct discrimination or discriminatory harassment on the part of its faculty, staff, or students. The dean of students shall determine such action as may be necessary with regard to students.
First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The following Web sites were used in the preparation of this case:
On Monday, January 7, 2002, Violet Streak came into Hairington Middle School after a two-week long holiday break. Over break, she had dyed her hair bright purple, her favorite color, to match her New Yearís Eve outfit. During first period science class that day, Vice Principal Ben A. Strictman came into class, pointed his finger at Violet and motioned for her to come with him to the office.
In the office, Mr. Strictman informed her that she would have to wash out the dye immediately in the nurseís office. Violet told him that she could not wash it out because it lasted for 10 washes. Mr. Strictman told her that she violated school policy and would have in-school suspension until the dye washed out and her hair returned to its natural color.
Violet Streak claims she did not know she was doing anything wrong. Violet and her parents are suing the Hairington School District for violating her rights. Hairington Middle Schoolís handbook does not have a clause in its dress code policy forbidding hair dye in school.
Should Violet Streak have been suspended?
For the Plaintiff
For the Defense
Ben A. Strictman
Testimony of Violet Streak
Hello, my name is Violet Streak. On January 7, 2002, I came into Hairington Middle School with my hair dyed purple. Over New Yearís, I dyed my hair purple to match the new outfit that I wore to my friendís New Yearís Eve party. At school that morning, no one seemed distracted by my hair. The only thing that happened was that two of my friends said that they liked my new look. When I got to my first period science class, my teacher, Kimmi Küll, asked us to take out our homework. A few minutes later, she walked over to the phone to call the vice principal. It was clear that she was talking about my hair.
In a few minutes, Ben A. Strictman, the vice principal, came into my science class and motioned for me to come with him. When I got to he office, Mr. Strictman told me that I would have to stay in in-school suspension until my hair dye washed out. That was unfortunate for me because the dye would not come out until I washed my hair 10 times. Also, I had an algebra test that day that I was forced to take in in-school suspension. I had questions about the test that the in-school suspension teacher could not answer.
My friend Kaitlin Golden dyed her hair blond before break and she was a natural brunette. She did not get punished at all. There is no mention of hair dye in the Hairington Student Handbook. The only time students heard anything about it was the day before Halloween when there was an announcement made that no one would be able to come in with his/her hair dyed on Halloween. I do not think that my punishment was fair because the announcement never stated that students could not dye their hair for the rest of the year.
Testimony of Dyanne Streak
My name is Dyanne Streak. I am Violetís mother. I received a call at 9 a.m. from Vice Principal Ben A. Strictman. He informed me that Violet had been suspended for violating school policy by dyeing her hair purple. I did not know if Hairington Middle School had a policy against hair dye. Before Violet returned to school after break, I checked the school handbook and there was no mention of hair dye. I was very upset when I got the call because Violet is a good kid.
When Violet came home, she was very upset. She told me that she had an algebra test that day and that she had questions that the in-school suspension teacher could not answer. She also told me that her science teacher, Ms. Kimmi Küll, had yelled at her for distracting the class.
I think that the punishment was excessive. One day of in-school suspension is enough, but five days is unreasonable.
This is a public school and I feel that her rights to express herself have been violated. I want the suspension expunged from her record. I also strongly believe that the student handbook needs to be revised to include a statement regarding hair dye.
Testimony of Ben A. Strictman
My name is Ben A. Strictman. I am the vice principal at Hairington Middle School. On the morning of January 7, 2002, I received a call from Ms. Kimmi Küll, the seventh-grade science teacher. She informed me that a student had come to school with her hair dyed. I arrived at the classroom and immediately recognized Violet Streak. Violet had been in minor trouble before, but she was a generally good student.
I made an announcement before Halloween that there was to be no hair dye in school. I assumed that the students understood that the announcement was in general, not just for Halloween Day. Although I thought the announcement was clear, Violet said she thought it only pertained to Halloween costumes. Our belief is that hair dye distracts students and takes their focus off of schoolwork. Also, Ms. Küll said that her students were constantly looking at and making remarks about Violetís hair. Due to this, the children were not paying attention to her instructions or her lesson.
Ms. Streak was placed in in-school suspension until the dye washed out. This is now the standard punishment for dying oneís hair if the dye is not immediately washable. The school handbook policy implies that hair dye is not acceptable. Violetís punishment was fair and by no means excessive; her rights were not violated.
Testimony of Kimmi Küll
Hello, my name is Kimmi Küll. I am the seventh-grade science teacher at Hairington Middle School. On January 7, 2002, Violet Streak came into my classroom with her hair dyed purple. As I was going over homework from the night before, I called on Kaitlin Golden to answer a question. I had to repeat myself because Kaitlin was involved in a conversation about Violetís hair. I knew that there had been an announcement forbidding hair dye, so I called the vice principal, Ben A. Strictman, immediately. After I explained the situation to him, he came to the classroom.
Mr. Strictman motioned for Violet to come with him. Violet put up a fight at first, arguing that she had not done anything wrong. Mr. Strictman said that she had violated the school dress code policy and then Violet reluctantly stood up and walked out the door with Mr. Strictman. Violet was taken to the main office and punished accordingly. She obviously violated the dress code; therefore, I do not believe that her punishment was unfair or that the school infringed upon her rights in any way.
The plaintiff must prove that the school district violated her rights by suspending her for dying her hair.
1. Why did Kaitlin Golden not get in trouble when she dyed her hair light blond?
2. Does Ben A. Strictman have something against Violet?
3. Did Mr. Strictman follow standard procedures while suspending her?
4. Does Mr. Strictman have an argument that dress code policy includes hair dye?
1. Freedom of expression.
2. Rights of the individual.
Under the First Amendment, American citizens are free to express themselves. This freedom includes hair and clothing colors/styles. In a school setting, dress code parameters must be clearly outlined in the student handbook. The penalty for violating school policy must be reasonable.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Tendonin, the worldís leading video game system manufacturer, had announced a "revolutionary new system," code-named Piranha, to be shown at the February 2001 Toy Show in Manhattan. Experts within the company had been projecting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of potential sales. On December 1, 2000, reporter Anita B. Wright toured the Tendonin headquarters to see what kinds of games the company would be releasing in the near future. Due to the secret designs at the headquarters, she signed a confidentiality agreement stating that she would not write anything in her newspaper, The Newark Times, that she learned outside of the office of Charles E. Orlando, the CEO of Tendonin, whom she would be interviewing.
On her way back to her car after the interview with Mr. Orlando, she saw two game designers in the elevator with blueprints and specifications of the new system. She overheard them talking about some of its features. One of them held a model of the new system. As soon as she was out of the building, she sketched the new system and wrote down its features on a pad. The next day she went to two game system designers to verify that the system was feasible, and they assured her that it was. She then phoned her editor, Frieda O. Speach, and on December 14, 2000, the blueprints and specs of the GameSphere were published in The Newark Times, and they were seen by hundreds of thousands of people, as well as the other game companies.
The GameSphere design was unpatented as of yet because it was being kept a secret. Tendoninís competitors, Shony and Microhard, incorporated some of the design features into their own systems, which were due to be released shortly. On May 14, 2001, Shony released its system, followed by the YBox from Microhard on June 21. The systems had most of GameSphereís features, and as a result, Tendonin sold about five percent of the consoles that it expected to when GameSphere was released on November 8. Tendonin is suing The Newark Times and Anita B. Wright for $680 million, the estimated loss of revenue from 2001.
Was The Newark Times within its legal rights according to the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of the press, in publishing Miss Wrightís article?
For the Plaintiff
Mark E. Ting, director of Design and Marketing for Tendonin
Charles E. Orlando, chief executive officer of Tendonin
For the Defense
Anita B. Wright, reporter for The Newark Times
Frieda O. Speech, editor for The Newark Times
Testimony of Mark E. Ting
My name is Mark E. Ting. I am the head of the marketing and design divisions of Tendonin. My partner is Charles E. Orlando, the chief executive officer of Tendonin. I am the one who arranged the meeting with Anita B. Wright and Mr. Orlando on December 1, 2000. I was in charge of the designing and advertising of our latest project, GameSphere. It was well known to our company that GameSphere was a secret console. The public only knew it by its code name Piranha and all of the details were not yet released to the public.
When I scheduled the interview with Anita, she signed a confidentiality agreement that made it clear to her that anything that she saw or heard while she was in our building, other than her interview with Mr. Orlando, was to be kept confidential. Another worker for Tendonin and I were in the elevator as she was leaving. We had many complex documents and a clay model of GameSphere labeled Piranha.
Two weeks later on December 14, I was horrified to see the specifications for GameSphere published in the entertainment section of The Newark Times. Due to her destructive article, our two electronic producing rivals, Shony and Microhard, both adapted these options and features to systems they were in the process of designing. They were able to manufacture and release their systems for sale months before GameSphere was set to be released for sale. Due to this, we only sold five percent of the consoles that we had expected to sell, and it is estimated that the company lost revenues of $680 million.
Testimony of Charles E. Orlando
My name is Charles E. Orlando. I am the chief executive officer for Tendonin and am partners with Mr. Ting. On December 1, I met with Miss Anita B. Wright, reporter for The Newark Times. Just before the interview, Miss Wright signed a confidentiality agreement. This agreement stated that Miss Wright was to keep any information she obtained in the Tendonin building outside of the interview with me totally confidential. During the interview, we discussed future and past products of Tendonin. I was extremely careful not to give her any specific or substantial information about GameSphere or any of its features. I did not discuss with her any of the information that was published in The Newark Times on December 14. I also was sure to use the code word Piranha and not the word GameSphere.
My employees told me that they were holding a clay model of GameSphere and documents that contained some specifications of GameSphere while in the elevator in the company of Miss Wright. I checked the security cameras in the elevator and in the parking lot to verify this information. The security cameras proved that Miss Wright sketched a picture of the clay model of GameSphere that Mr. Ting was holding. Our video cameras also showed that Miss Wright was looking at the documents that they were holding and writing down every detail that she could in the limited amount of time. She obviously succeeded in this act of industrial espionage. The subsequent publication of this information in The Newark Times caused sales to drop by $680 million because Shony and Microhard adapted GameSphereís features and options, as described in The Newark Times, to their game systems.
Testimony of Anita B. Wright
My name is Anita B. Wright. I am a reporter for The Newark Times. On the morning of December 1, 2000, I was scheduled for a meeting with Charles E. Orlando, the CEO of Tendonin. I walked into the office building and was escorted up the elevator to his office. I informed Mr. Orlando that I would be recording our conversation. The interview went as planned and Mr. Orlando answered all of my questions. I learned a great deal about the video game industry. I thanked him for his time and left his office.
Then I was escorted onto the elevator where I noticed two of the companyís employees, one of whom was Mark E. Ting, the marketing manager of Tendonin. They didnít seem to notice me. They were talking about something that seemed important, so I did my job as a reporter and took out my handheld pocket recorder. I started recording what the two men were saying, and noticed that they also had a clay model labeled Piranha. I studied it very carefully. Then the elevator reached the bottom floor. After I got out, I quickly sketched the model to the best of my ability on my pad.
The next day I met with several video game engineers who are knowledgeable about computer and video games. I showed them my sketch and discussed my interview with them. They told me this type of technology could definitely work in a new game system.
After that, I drove home and immediately phoned my editor, Frieda O. Speach. I told her I would come into the office the next day to meet with her. We discussed my notes and verified my sources. I then began to write my article, which was published in The Newark Times on December 14, 2000.
The elevator is a public area and therefore I wasnít violating the confidentiality agreement I signed by recording what the two men were saying. I feel I was only doing my job as a reporter by recording whatever I heard and printing it. Publishing my article in The Newark Times, including the information I got in the elevator, is a freedom afforded to me by the First Amendment, freedom of speech and of the press.
Testimony of Frieda O. Speach
My name is Frieda O. Speach. I am the editor of The Newark Times. On December 1, 2000, one of my reporters, Anita B. Wright, went to an interview with Charles E. Orlando, the chief executive officer of Tendonin. She was to discuss the hot new games coming out for the holiday season in December 2001.
After the interview, she phoned me, sounding very excited, saying something about a new game system. She went to a number of different engineers asking them if this game system would be possible. Each one told her "definitely." They also explained to her some of the graphics it would have.
I gave Anita permission to write an article about this new game system. I was simply allowing one of my staff members to do her job according to the First Amendment of the Constitution, which is freedom of speech and of the press. Whatever my reporters hear can be printed in our paper.
Anita did not break the Agreement of Confidentiality because she got her information in the elevator, which is a public area. I am certain that Miss Wright didnít mean to damage sales. She is one of the best reporters working for The Newark Times. In fact, she graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism. She has also won various awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. I am very proud of Anita and of her accomplishments. It is her job to report whatever she hears or sees. As the First Amendment clearly states, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...."
The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated her confidentiality agreement with Tendonin, thereby causing a loss of revenue and profit.
1. Did Miss Wright break the confidentiality agreement she signed which said she wouldnít publish any details of the product that were not given to her by Mr. Orlando?
2. Did the confidentiality agreement restrict Miss Wright when she overheard employees in the elevator discussing a new game system?
3. Was Miss Wright wearing press credentials?
4. Can the elevator be considered a public space even though it is located in the corporate building of Tendonin?
5. Should the employees of Tendonin have been discussing the details of a secret product in a public place such as the elevator?
6. Did the information which Miss Wrightís employer published cause an intentional loss of revenue and profit to Tendonin? If so, then how much?
1. Burden of proof/preponderance of evidence.
2. Credibility of witnesses.
3. Professional ethics.
4. Confidentiality agreement.
5. Direct proof verses circumstantial evidence.
6. Expert testimony.
1. First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. 418 U.S. 241 (1974) ó "The Supreme Court considered whether a state statute could grant a political candidate a right to equal space to reply to a newspaperís criticism and attacks on his record.... The court held that the statute would burden the press by diverting its resources away from the publication of material it wished to print, and would impermissibly intrude into the functions of editors." (Newsweek Education Program ó The First Amendment Is Alive and ? Copyright 2002.)
Kevin Klan v. the Freedom School District
On April 22, 2001, Kevin Klan was sitting at his computer in his classroom in Melting Pot Middle School in Freedom, NJ. It was during lunch when Mr. Klan decided to visit his clubís Web site to check if he missed anything important at the last meeting. Mr. Klan is a part of a white power organization, W.U. (Whites Unite). Mr. Klan claims never to bring his beliefs into class. Prior to this event, staff, children and parents were not aware of his W.U. membership.
At approximately 11:43 a.m., Perry Fict, a white student, walked into Mr. Klanís classroom on the second floor to discuss his grade for the semester. Perry usually gets all As but recently failed a test and was worried he would drop a letter grade. Perry, knowing students werenít allowed in the school during lunch, was still curious and knew Mr. Klan was cool about little rules being broken. Perry saw the computer on and went to see what was on it. Just then Mr. Klan returned to the room, saw Perry at the computer and ran to click out of the site but Perry had already seen it.
Mr. Klan apologized and Perry accepted. Later that night Perry told his mother and father. Three days later an outraged Mr. and Mrs. Fict along with many other parents went to the school board and demanded that Mr. Klan be fired.
The school board then fired Mr. Klan. Mr. Klan believes that his First Amendment rights have been violated and is suing to be reinstated in his position at the school.
Were Mr. Klanís First Amendment freedom of speech rights violated?
For the Plaintiff
For the Defense
Dr. Iya Kare
Testimony of Kevin Klan
My name is Kevin Klan. I am an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Melting Pot Middle School. Iíve been teaching there for 10 years. I graduated from Dale University. I love kids and I enjoy being around them. I never had much against minority students. I recently missed a meeting for my group, Whites Unite (W.U.). On April 22, on my lunch hour, I decided to check up on the W.U. Web site. I then decided to go to the employee lounge to get some lunch. When I finished my lunch, I went back to my classroom to find my best student, Perry Fict, at my computer observing my clubís Web site. I ran quickly to turn off the Web site but it was too late; he had already seen it.
I told Mr. Fict that that was something I was involved in. After that, I, of course, asked him what he was there for. Perry said he was there to know his grade. I told him that he received, as usual, an A. Perry barreled out of the room, excited yet confused. Of course, I had not remembered the rule which does not allow students in at lunchtime.
I was informed the next day by the school superintendent, Dr. Kare, that I should not have been on that Web site during school hours and was told not to repeat it. Three days later Dr. Kare informed me that I was being fired for my W.U. membership. I was flabbergasted. Of course, I asked why and he said that a group of parents demanded my resignation at a school board meeting and the board agreed. My W.U. membership, which I never brought into school, should never have gotten me fired.
Testimony of Joey Honest
My name is Joey Honest. I am 37 years old and am a colleague of Mr. Klan. We both work at school and have both gone to Dale University. Both of us have worked at the Melting Pot Middle School for 10 years. I have been aware of Kevinís membership in W.U. for as long as I can remember. Kevin has never even mentioned his club on school premises. There was never a rule in our contract that said that teachers could not look at certain Web sites when we werenít teaching. Mr. Klan has done nothing wrong in looking at his Web site at an appropriate time. Students shouldnít even be in the building at that time. Kevin Klan is in all ways innocent.
Testimony of Perry Fict
My name is Perry Fict. I attend Melting Pot Middle School in Freedom, NJ, and my teacher is Mr. Klan. On April 22, 2001, I went into Mr. Klanís room to ask for my grade. I discovered he was gone and had left the computer on. As I was leaving, I saw the letter. It was addressed to an organization called "Whites Unite." The letter included several racist comments and jokes that I found offensive. I was furious. I went to investigate this when Mr. Klan sprinted into the room and exited the site. Mr. Klan then pretended like nothing happened. After school I told my mother and she told my father when he got home. My father seemed outraged and quickly called the principal.
Testimony of Dr. Iya Kare
My name is Dr. Iya Kare, superintendent of Freedom schools. On April 22, 2001, I received a call from the principal of Melting Pot Middle School. He explained to me that he received a phone call from an outraged Mr. and Mrs. Fict. They informed him that their son Perry Fict had viewed a racist site on his teacherís, Mr. Kevin Klanís, computer screen.
The next day, the principal and I approached Mr. Klan about this situation. He informed me that he did indeed belong to a racist organization. I believe the name was Whites Unite. I stated to Mr. Klan that he had put me in a very difficult situation. I told him I would appreciate it very much if he did not view that site or any site of that content at any time at school.
Three days later at a school board meeting, parents infuriated by Mr. Klanís actions demanded that he be fired. I was concerned that the discipline within the school would be greatly affected by this. The next day Mr. Klan was dismissed of all his duties.
The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated his First Amendment right to freedom of speech by restricting his viewing of the Web site and that his right to freedom of speech doesnít interfere with school discipline or the rights of others.
1. Should Perry Fict have been in the classroom at lunchtime?
2. Should Kevin Klan have been on the W.U. site in school?
3. Was Mr. Klanís right to privacy invaded?
1. Credibility of witnesses.
2. Right to privacy.
3. Freedom of speech.
4. Schoolís rights under First Amendment.
1.The Bill of Rights, Amendment I ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Tinker v. Des Moines ó A prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid a substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Rocker: October Issue
Eddie Tour is a journalism teacher at Rockaway High School. He is also the faculty editor of the student newspaper, The Rocker. The Rocker is issued monthly and each issue has a specific theme. Student editors, whose work on The Rocker is excellent, will receive college credit if they major in journalism at the state university. Before each issue of The Rocker is printed, Eddie Tour submits a copy to the principal, L. Capitan, for final approval. The theme of the October issue was "Appreciating Our Differences." In this issue, a cartoon strip depicted minority students in the following stereotypical situations: African American students were displayed as great athletes; Asians were portrayed as nerdy; Hispanics were depicted as gang members; and the last capsule of the cartoon strip portrayed minority students striving to make the best out of their differences.
Eddie Tour submitted a draft of The Rocker to L. Capitan for final approval, and for the first time, L. Capitan denied final printing approval. L. Capitan instructed Eddie Tour and his students to come up with another theme for the October issue. He suggested articles dealing with the changes in the weather, fall sports, and the upcoming holiday season. L. Capitan stipulated that the issue would be approved as long as the theme did not deal with racial matters. Eddie Tour and the students were furious that they were not allowed to publish The Rocker the way they originally drafted it. They are suing the school for violation of their First Amendment rights.
Did the school violate Eddie Tour and the studentsí First Amendment rights by not allowing them to print The Rocker with racial issues in it?
For the Plaintiff
For the Defense
Testimony of Eddie Tour
My name is Eddie Tour. I have taught journalism at Rockaway High School for 15 years. I have been the faculty editor of The Rocker for 10 years. At my previous journalism teaching job, I was also the editor of that schoolís paper for seven years. As you can see, my experience in high school journalism and newspaper editing is extensive.
Because of my experience, I know when a student paper will be received as being inappropriate. The October issue of The Rocker contained no false statements. Since I am African American, I would never approve of a paper with negative images of people of any color. Our goal at The Rocker is to educate the students and faculty. I do not understand why people are overreacting to the cartoon strip. The last capsule shows all students appreciating their differences.
The paper also contains other important information such as the honor roll list, the top 10 sports players, and the new reading club. All these articles represent the diversity found in the school. I stand by the student editors and The Rocker.
Testimony of Amy Green
My name is Amy Green. Iím the student editor for The Rocker. I became the student editor during my sophomore year. I have been on the honor roll every year and Iíve taken all advanced placement English classes.
This year Eddie Tour gave me the opportunity to use my art skills in The Rocker. As the cartoonist for this issue, I wanted to draw a cartoon that dealt with the student body and current issues in society. When I drew the captions, I didnít believe there was any harm in them.
The editing experience Iíve obtained will help me get into college. When L. Capitan was revising the issue, he stated that it would be more appropriate to write about fall sports and seasonal events. I cannot get into a good school when I write about trivial things like that. The Rocker staff worked hard on the October issue and we are very proud of it.
Testimony of L. Capitan
My name is L. Capitan. I have been the principal at Rockaway High School for 25 years. The student population at Rockaway High is very diverse. It is my responsibility to protect the reputation of this school as well as make sure the students and staff are free from harm. The racial slurs contained in the cartoon strip of the October issue of The Rocker are very inappropriate. I was very surprised to see the stereotypical images portrayed in the cartoon strip.
In all my years, I have never had to censor any articles. I had to say something about this issue. If The Rocker is printed as is, kids and parents might be offended and some might even take it personally. I think writing about seasonal sports and the fall holidays would be safer for our student population. The Rocker has always been a good paper and we want to keep it that way.
Testimony of Jimmy Tan
My name is Jimmy Tan. I am Asian and a freshman at Rockaway High School. The cartoon strip depicts Asians as nerdy students. If the paper were printed, it would put a lot of pressure on me to study more and score higher on tests. When I come to school, I want to feel welcome and be able to make friends. I donít want to be picked on by other students. The cartoon doesnít send any positive messages.
The plaintiff must set out such a convincing case against the defendant that the jury believes by the preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated the First Amendment rights of the plaintiff.
1. Is the cartoon strip protected speech?
2. Does it fall into the unprotected speech category?
3. Can Amy Green still get into college if this issue of The Rocker is not printed?
4. Is harm to students and faculty likely to be caused if The Rocker is printed?
1. Credibility of witnesses.
2. Burden of proof ó preponderance of the evidence.
3. Definition of preponderance.
4. Freedom of expression.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
All speech is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution unless it falls within one of the unprotected categories. The unprotected categories are defamation, advocacy of illegal conduct, and fighting words.
Students in public schools have a limited right of free speech. The studentís right to speak freely has to be balanced against the administrationís right to carry out its educational mission and to maintain discipline.
The Constitution of the United States of America ó The First Amendment.
Constitutional Law Capsule Summary on-line at www.lawschool.lexis.com/emanuel/.
Roe, Richard L., ed. Putting on Mock Trials. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Bar Association, 1987.
Adam J. Play v. Fairfield High School
On Wednesday August 1, 2001, Adam J. Play tried out for the Fairfield High School freshman football team. Although he was not a star player, he made the team. After practice the next Tuesday, he told the coach, Robert N. Just, that he had to leave practice early on Friday, and could not play on Saturday because of his religion. His religion, Orthodox Judaism, requires him to observe the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The coach then told him that he shouldnít bother to come to practices if he couldnít play in the games or stay for the whole practice time. He was then kicked off the team. He and his father are petitioning the school district to change games to weekdays so that Orthodox Jews have an equal chance to play. The school is refusing to do so, saying that weekday games interfere with homework and grades.
Did Fairfield High fail to follow the First Amendment by not letting Adam J. Play participate on the school football team because of his religion?
For the Plaintiff
Adam J. Play
For the Defense
Coach N. Just
Superintendent Ima N. Fair
Testimony of Adam J. Play
I am Adam J. Play and I attend Fairfield High School. I am 16 years old and a freshman. This is the first year I tried out for the football team and probably my last. I worked hard to make the cuts, and it isnít fair that I am being kicked off because of my religious beliefs. I asked the coach if he could make an exception for me to leave an hour early on Fridays only. I am not a star player and I might not be able to make some of the games. Regardless of these facts, I still support the team 110 percent and I want to play when I can. Just because I am not at Saturday or Friday night games doesnít mean I donít want to play.
Testimony of Rabbi Rely
I am Rabbi Rely from the Bahnai Temple. Adam J. Play should be allowed to play on the Fairfield High football team. He worked hard for the tryouts and to make the team, and it isnít fair that he should be kicked off the team because he follows Orthodox Judaism. He is very devoted to football and Judaism and its teachings. Judaism is a worldwide religion, and schools should be able to allow Jewish children to participate in what they want to do. Freedom of religion is part of the First Amendment. A student should not have to choose between sports and religion. If so, you are breaking the First Amendment. Schools can accommodate just about anyone into after school activities, but yet this high school cannot seem to accommodate Judaism.
Testimony of Coach N. Just
I am Coach N. Just of the Fairfield High football team. Our team is very committed to the game. Every student that joined and tried out for the team knew the rules, regulations, schedules, and times of the games and practices. So Adam J. Play must have been aware of the schedule and the conflict it presented for him. I will try to make accommodations, but it isnít only my decision. The superintendent and the school district are in charge; I am only the coach.
Testimony of Superintendent Ima N. Fair
I am the superintendent of Fairfield High School. Coach N. Just has discussed this issue with me before. If Adam J. Play is not able to attend a full practice, then he should not be allowed to play on the football team. The league that we play in has a very specific schedule, one that would be best if everyone followed. It is good that he has religious beliefs, but we canít change the schedule that everybody uses just to accommodate one player. I understand the position of the coach and I agree fully with him. If Adam canít attend the games, then he isnít any help to the team. We have a limited amount of space on the team, and he is taking up a space that another, full-time player could use.
The plaintiff must prove that being kicked off the school football team broke his right to freedom of religion.
1. Right to public education óis sports participation part of an education?
2. Discrimination based on religion.
3. Is the schoolís decision a violation of Adam Playís rights?
1. Right to participate in a school sport.
2. Grounds for barring a student from a school activity.
3. Freedom of religion.
1. First Amendment ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Public schools allow time off to observe religious holidays.
3. Students cannot be forbidden to participate in extracurricular activities, which are part of an education.
Big Billy Bibís Big Beat Down
It was September 9, 1996. Big Billy Bib was in math class when the door opened. A new kid from Alabama strolled into the classroom. The teacher announced that the new studentís name was Stu Ert. She also informed them that he excelled in math at his other school.
Stu took an empty seat next to Big Billy Bib, and was asked for help in math by Big Billy Bib. Stu Ert told Big Billy Bib it was a test and refused to give him the answers. Big Billy Bib got very mad.
After school, Stu Ert quickly left to go home. No one was following him until he reached Petís Pet Store. The pet store owner, Annie Mal, heard a scream at approximately 3:45 p.m. She quickly ran outside to find a bloody, beaten-up Stu Ert and four kids in hoods running away. One of the kidsí hoods fell down and Annie saw the carved sign of the Bib gang. She believes it was Small Billy Bib, but she could not fully see him. Stu received 38 stitches and three punctured ribs. Big Billy Bib, Small Billy Bib, Strong Billy Bib and Baby Billy Bib are being charged with assault and battery.
Was it really Small Billy Bib whom Annie Mal saw running from the crime scene?
Does Small Billy Bib really have the Bib sign in the back of his head? If so, did Annie Mal see that sign?
For the Prosecution
Annie Mal, proprietor of Petís Pet Store
Stu Ert, victim of the big beat down
For the Defense
N. Mister, teacher of both Big Billy Bib and Stu Ert
Big Billy Bib, accused of beating Stu Ert
Testimony of Annie Mal
My name is Annie Mal and I own Petís Pet Store. It was September 9, 1996 at about 3:45 p.m. when I was cleaning a fish tank near the front window of my shop. My concentration was interrupted when I heard a scream for help. I quickly dropped my cleaning utensils and ran outside to the area where Stu Ert was lying. As I looked down at him, he was holding his ribs and his face was completely covered with blood.
I looked up and saw four teenaged boys wearing hooded sweatshirts. The shortest boyís hood fell, which revealed the Bib sign shaved in the back of the boyís head. The Bibs were a local gang made up of four brothers. I recognized Small Billy Bib because he has a boa constrictor snake and he is always in my store buying food for it.
I called the ambulance and about five minutes later it came and took Stu away. Later that night, the doctor called me and informed me that Stu received 38 stitches on his forehead and was suffering from a broken nose and three punctured ribs.
Testimony of Stu Ert
My name is Stu Ert and I just moved to Pittsville Middle School from Alabama. It was September 9, 1996 and I came into math class. We were taking a test and the teacher told the rest of the class that I excelled highly in math. I took a seat next to Big Billy Bib. He asked me if I could give him the answers to the test and I kindly told him no. He became very furious and threatened me and cussed at me.
After school, I walked home. When I passed Petís Pet Store, four hooded men came after me. I was beaten with chains and bottles. A woman from the pet store came to assist me and she told me that she saw the Bib gang symbol on the back of the head of one of the hooded men. It was Small Baby Bib. She also said that he always came into the pet store to buy snake food for his boa. I was then taken to the hospital, where the doctors gave me 38 stitches. I also suffered a broken nose, a minor concussion and three punctured ribs. I was beaten up at about 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon.
Testimony of N. Mister
My name is Mrs. N. Mister. Iím an eighth-grade teacher at Pittsville Middle School. Big Billy Bib and Stu Ert are in my ninth period math class. It was September 9, 1996 and a new student named Stu Ert came into my class and took a seat next to Joseph Bib, a.k.a. Big Billy Bib. The principal informed me that Stu performed well in his math class back in Alabama. After hearing that, I thought it was a good idea that Stu sit next to Big Billy Bib. Bib had many problems in math and was getting low grades.
In class that day, I heard Bib whispering to Stu about a question on the test. I had a problem with it because I told them there was no talking when the tests were handed out. I yelled at Bib and he became very upset. At the end of the class, I overheard Bib yelling at Stu for getting him in trouble.
Testimony of Big Billy Bib
My name is Joseph Bib, a.k.a. Big Billy Bib. It was September 9, 1996 when I was in math class and a new kid named Stu Ert came into class. The teacher said he was a good math student and I kindly asked him for some help prior to the math test. Stu yelled and cussed at me and told me to not to bother him again. That made me so mad that I got up out of my seat to tell the teacher. After Stu yelled at me, he kept staring at me for the duration of the class.
After school I went to eat on the corner of Broad and Central with my three brothers, Small Billy Bib, Strong Billy Bib and Baby Billy Bib. We got done eating at around 4 p.m.
We heard the next day that Stu Ert was severely injured. The police called us into the principalís office. They asked us some questions and told us that we were being charged for physical abuse of Stu Ert.
The jury must decide whether the Bibs are guilty of assault and battery beyond a reasonable doubt.
Should the defendant be accused of:
3. Terrorist threats.
1. Assault and battery.
2. Terrorist threats.
3. Burden of proof.
4. Credibility of witnesses.
2C:1-13: Proof beyond a reasonable doubt; affirmative defenses; burden of proving fact when not an element of offense.
Victoria v. One Side High School: The Case of the Silenced Valedictorian
Val Victoria was the top-ranked student in her graduating class at One Side High School. Her straight-A record won her the honor of speaking as class valedictorian at graduation. On Friday, June 15, 2001, the whole town assembled in the new high school performing arts center to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates. Before Val gave her speech, both the principal and the mayor of the small town of One Side congratulated the audience for pulling together to provide such a perfect place for young people to grow up as outstanding citizens.
No one had previewed Valís planned speech except for her social studies teacher, Biff Freeman. He had read her written outline and approved it, just as he had done for the last five valedictorians. When Val started to speak at the graduation ceremony, it soon became clear that she was not so convinced that the town of One Side had provided her with such a perfect environment. She began to describe what she perceived as problems with racial injustice and discrimination against the poor in the townís housing policies. Val even said that she had learned more from what was wrong with One Side than from what was right and good about it.
Suddenly, in the middle of Valís speech, the power was shut off to her microphone. The principal, Greta Offstage, had made the decision to stop the speech. The mayor took the stage to give out the diplomas. Then the sound was restored to the microphone so that the senior class president, Lance Chesterbrook III, could give his farewell address. Val Victoriaís parents are suing One Side High School for violating their daughterís freedom of speech. They are seeking damages for emotional suffering. They would also like the school district to publish Valís speech in the One Side Press, accompanied by an apology for cutting her graduation speech short.
Did representatives of the public high school violate Valís constitutional freedom of speech when they prevented her from completing her valedictory speech at graduation?
For the Plaintiff
Val Victoria, class valedictorian
Biff Freeman, social studies teacher
For the Defense
Greta Offstage, principal of One Side High
Lance Chesterbrook III, class president
Testimony of Val Victoria
When it was first officially announced that I was class valedictorian, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled to know that I would make the key speech at my graduation, and that my ideas and thoughts would be heard by such a large audience. I decided not to do a typical "weíre well-prepared to face the challenges of the future" speech. Instead, I chose to share some of my observations about problems we needed to solve right now, right here in the town of One Side.
My speech was carefully planned, and it did not criticize any one person directly. In history class, we studied the Bill of Rights. When the microphone was shut off during my speech, my constitutional right to freedom of speech was cruelly violated. If the school or the mayor was so concerned about what I might say at graduation, perhaps they should have asked to hear my speech in advance.
My social studies teacher, Mr. Freeman, read the outline I prepared. After a brief and positive conversation, he approved my notes and wished me luck. You can imagine my surprise and humiliation when the microphone went dead after just my introductory remarks, and I found myself being directed away from the podium by the mayor. I deserve a public apology in the local newspaper. I also deserve to have the full text of my valedictory speech printed on the editorial page so that people can judge it for themselves.
Testimony of Biff Freeman
I teach social studies at One Side High School. Val Victoria is one of the most promising students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. She is especially interested in issues of justice and human rights. When I reviewed her outline for the valedictory speech, I was not at all surprised that Val planned to point out some local problems that she would challenge the audience to correct. In my opinion, if she had been allowed to finish the speech that she had earned the right to deliver, no one would have been offended. In fact, Val might have actually given the first high school speech to make a real difference in the life of our town. We need to practice what we teach our students about First Amendment freedoms.
Testimony of Greta Offstage
It is very unfortunate that our brightest student has not learned the difference between a political commentary and a graduation address. Val Victoriaís job at graduation was to give the audience a positive message about the accomplishments of this yearís graduating class. An expression of gratitude to parents, teachers, and community members for the way they have supported our young people was also expected. Unfortunately, Val chose to say things that would shock and hurt community members in the very first sentences of her speech. I felt that I had to take control of this situation before it spoiled the day for everyone. I must say, Val doesnít seem very grateful for all of the college recommendations and awards she got from the good people of the town of One Side. Val should learn that her freedom of speech must be balanced with the best interests of the school on a public occasion like graduation.
Testimony of Lance Chesterbrook III
I was the senior class president of One Side High School, class of 2001. As I recall it, our senior year was filled with many accomplishments and lots of fun. That was the theme of my farewell address. Val Victoria may have had the highest grades for four years of high school, but she sure didnít earn any points for that final speech. How anyone can disrespect this wonderful town is beyond me. In my own speech, I was careful to thank the school and the citizens of One Side for helping me to accomplish my dream of attending Harvard University. Maybe Val was resentful that she was not accepted at her first choice Ivy League school. I also reminded the students to treasure the happy times that they had shared.
Valís speech almost destroyed the mood of the whole celebration. I think I speak for everyone when I say that Val Victoria had set out to ruin our graduation. Principal Offstage saved the day by pulling the plug on her negative and inappropriate comments.
The plaintiff must prove that One Side High School violated her right to freedom of speech by cutting short her valedictory speech at the graduation ceremony.
1. Was the content of the speech libelous?
2. Was the language or content of the speech inappropriate for a school audience?
3. Were any school rules or written policies violated by the speech?
4. Did Valís speech match the approved outline?
5. Had Val received any instructions limiting her choice of subject?
6. Does a school official have the right to censor a graduation speech while it is in progress?
1. Freedom of speech.
2. Balance of individual rights with the rights and responsibilities of an institution of education.
3. Rights of minors in school.
4. Reasonableness of action taken.
5. Appropriateness of damages.
1. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
2. School law: Public school boards of education may make rules and set policy to ensure the safety of all students. This includes disciplining students who break school rules or violate policies designed to ensure an orderly educational environment.
Self Defense or Opportunity for Revenge
Shay Kinnup was a new student at Field Middle School who transferred from another school because he was allegedly bullied by other students. In his prior school, he was involved in a fight and suffered minor injuries. Any injury to Shay Kinnup was life threatening because he had hemophilia. Hemophilia is a blood disorder with a higher incident rate in males, characterized by a deficiency of selected proteins in the bodyís blood clotting system. Shay had been seeing a counselor for the last two years to help him cope with his stress.
Shay Kinnup was an eighth-grade student in Field for less than two weeks when he started to be teased and harassed by Tim Adater, an eighth-grade repeater. Tim seemed to enjoy teasing certain students, especially new ones. Shay Kinnup tried to handle the situation alone and didnít report Tim to anyone. The taunting and bullying in school were obvious to many of the students and some staff members.
On November 2, Ms. Dee Tention, the history teacher, was absent from school. When the substitute arrived a minute or two late to class, he found an obscene phrase written on the board. After unsuccessfully trying to identify the culprit, the substitute left a note for the teacher. Upon her return the following day, Ms. Dee Tention informed the class that unless someone confessed, the entire class would stay for after school detention. She also told them that if anyone had any information regarding the incident, he/she should see her in private and he/she would remain anonymous.
Later that afternoon, Tim saw Shay talking to Ms. Dee Tention before lunch. After lunch, Ms. Dee Tention approached Tim and informed him that class detention was cancelled, but she wanted to see him after school in her room. After English class, Tim confronted Shay and said, "Iíll take care of this after school!" Shay Kinnup perceived this as a threat and hurried to get home immediately, once dismissed from school.
At 3:30 p.m., Shay was in front of his house taking down Halloween decorations when he noticed Tim Adater walking down the street. Tim yelled out, "Hey, I thought I told you to meet me after school!" Shay ignored his comment, turned away and continued to take down the decorations. Tim continued to yell as he approached the house. He walked up to Shay and turned him around. Shay fell to the ground, crashing into a box of decorations. Laughing while cracking his knuckles, Tim moved toward Shay. In response, Shay picked up a yard tool lying nearby and hit Tim across the head with it. Tim fell to the ground bleeding. Shay ran in the house and immediately called 911.
Shay Kinnup is being charged with assault and battery of Tim Adater. Shay Kinnup is claiming that he struck Tim Adater in self-defense.
Did Shay Kinnup act in self-defense or is he guilty of assault and battery?
For the Prosecution
For the Defense
Dr. Mae Ihelpp
Testimony of Tim Adater
My name is Tim Adater and I am a ninth-grade student at Field High School. Many people have given me the reputation of "bully," but Iím really not. Sure, I may tease a few kids here and there, but itís not bullying. Even I was teased for staying back. Usually all the new kids get teased the most. Stuff like this happens all the time in school, but since I stayed back, I got the reputation.
Last year, when I was in the eighth-grade at the middle school, on November 2, 2001, somebody in history class wrote this nasty remark on the board. The next day, Ms. Dee Tention told the whole class that we would stay after school unless someone admitted to it. Of course, everybody just assumed I did it. On my way to lunch I saw Shay talking to Ms. Dee Tention. I didnít think much about it until Ms. Dee Tention told me that detention was cancelled, but she wanted to talk to me after school. Then I realized that Shay Kinnup must have accused me. Iím sick of people always blaming me. I told Shay I wanted to take care of it later. All I wanted to do was ask him if he told Ms. Dee Tention that I was the one who wrote the remark on the board. I really didnít do it. Every time thereís trouble everyone just assumes that Iím the one responsible. This isnít the first time Iíve been blamed for something that I didnít do.
When I went to Ms. Tentionís classroom after school, she wasnít there. I remembered that I had to watch my little brother so I wrote her a note and left. As I was walking home, I saw Shay in front of his house so I called out to him. He was ignoring me, so I walked right up to him. I reached over to turn him around, and he lost his balance and fell. I didnít push him. The only reason I laughed was because he looked funny when he fell in the middle of the Halloween decorations. I felt bad for laughing, so I reached out my hand to help him up. The next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital. I suffered a concussion and received over 30 stitches to my head.
Shay Kinnup has a lot of nerve calling me the bully. What he did was not self-defense. He could have killed me. I donít know what he was thinking or what he says, but I wasnít there to hurt him. All I wanted to do was talk to him.
Testimony of Mia Runna
My name is Mia Runna. I jog every day around 3:30 in the afternoon. I usually start to cool down when I get to Maple Drive. Thatís where I witnessed this act of violence against Tim Adater.
On November 3, 2001, I had just started to slow down when I noticed my favorite house on the block. They did such a beautiful job decorating for Halloween. I was paying close attention on that particular day because I noticed Shay Kinnup, the boy who lives there, taking the Halloween decorations down. Another boy crossed the street and walked over to him. He looked like he was reaching over to get his attention. I saw the defendant fall into a box. All the other boy was doing was standing over him. I never saw him push him, hit him, or even yell anything.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, the defendant grabbed an object and hit the other boy in the head. The boy who was hit fell to the ground while Shay ran inside the house. I immediately ran over to the boy on the ground and attempted to help him. He was bleeding so I used my jacket and wrapped his head with it. I called 911 on my cell phone. The operator informed me that someone had already reported the incident. Within a few minutes, the police and ambulance arrived. The policeman asked me some questions and took my statement. Tim Adater was not threatening Shay Kinnup or harming him in any way. I believe this was a senseless act of violence.
Testimony of Shay Kinnup
My name is Shay Kinnup. I am a hemophiliac. I donít tell people about my condition because Iím tired of being treated differently. I just want o live my life as a normal teenage kid. Before I moved to Field, I was bullied and hit by another student once and received minor injuries.
I am currently attending Field High School. Last year, in eighth-grade, Tim Adater tormented me. I was teased and bullied by him from the first day of school. Many times I was harassed for my lunch money. Everyone knew about his reputation and was well aware of his bullying. I never told anyone about it because that would have made the situation worse. My therapist, Dr. Mae Ihelpp, was the only one who knew what was going on.
On November 2, 2001, our history teacher, Ms. Dee Tention, was absent from school. The sub was a couple of minutes late to class. I was talking to my friend when most of the class burst out laughing. Apparently, someone wrote something bad on the board. I didnít even see who did it. Later during the day, everyone was saying that Tim had written the remark. The sub tried to find out who did it, but, of course, no one would rat out Tim.
When Ms. Dee Tention came back the next day, she was really mad. She told the class that everyone would have to stay after school unless someone confessed. Honestly, three days of detention would have been better than telling on Tim. On my way to lunch, I remembered that I had to ask Ms. Dee Tention about a class project. Tim walked by and I guess he thought I was telling on him. He looked really mad. After English class, he told me he was going to get me after school. I hate to admit this, but I was really scared.
As soon as school ended that day, I ran home. I didnít want to be anywhere near Tim. I was in front of my house taking down Halloween decorations when I saw Tim walking down the street. I wasnít scared because Tim always walks down my street. He yells stuff at me all the time, but I just ignore him. Heís never come on my property before. I turned my back and continued taking down the decorations.
All of a sudden he was right behind me. He pulled me around so hard that I fell and crashed into the box of decorations. He started to laugh and crack his knuckles. The only thought that was running through my mind was "Iím going to bleed to death!" I really thought he was going to kill me! I knew that there was no way I could make it safely inside my house. I had to protect myself, so I grabbed whatever I could and protected myself against him. I did not intend to harm him. It all happened so fast! When he fell down bleeding, I ran in the house and immediately called 911. I canít believe that Iím the one in trouble now. You have no idea what Tim has put me through. What I did as not assault or revenge. I acted in self-defense.
Testimony of Dr. Mae Ihelpp
My name is Dr. Mae Ihelpp. I attended Yale University and earned a doctorate degree in psychology. I have my own practice and I have been counseling for over 15 years. Over the years I have received numerous awards, especially for my extensive work with adolescents. Most recently, I have published a book on Anxiety Defense Response (ADR) in adolescents.
Shay Kinnup has been my patient for the past two years. He has suffered a tremendous amount of stress this past year. He had to cope with changing schools and making new friends. This may be normal for many students but not for Shay. You see, he has been a victim of bullying for some time now. In addition, Shay is a hemophiliac who consistently needs to worry about his health. When he informed me about the bullying, I tried to persuade him to report it to the proper authorities but he refused. He feared that reporting Tim Adater would only make matters worse. He also informed me that he was handling it and would do his best to ignore it.
In my professional opinion, Shayís actions should not be considered an assault. The amount of anxiety that Shay experienced when Tim was on his property caused him to react the way he did. In his mind, he believed that Tim was going to harm him, perhaps even kill him.
When Tim proceeded to push Shay around on his lawn, I believe that this action triggered a behavioral response in Shay that is consistent with ADR. ADR is a syndrome where a person may respond reflexively in self-defense because the fear of injury is increased as a result of anxiety or stress. Iíve seen this behavior in other victims of bullying. People who experience this condition may react in a way that a "normal" person may not. One cannot judge Shayís actions as excessive because he truly believed that he was in imminent danger. By the time Shay realized the danger he was in, he believed that he had no retreat or escape. In his mind, he feared he would be injured and possibly bleed to death. My records indicate that Shay often experienced feelings of fear of being seriously hurt, even dying. He clearly acted in a way that he believed would protect him; therefore, I believe that he truly acted in self-defense.
The prosecution must prove that Shay Kinnup is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. Did Tim Adater intend to threaten Shay Kinnup with his words and actions?
2. Did Tim Adater commit an act of aggression by grabbing Shay Kinnup and turning him around?
3. Was Tim Adaterís action of trespassing onto Shayís property without permission and physically forcing the defendant to turn around sufficient cause for provocation?
4. Was Mia Runnaís eyewitness account accurate?
5. Did Shay Kinnupís excessive amount of stress cause him to overreact?
6. Did Shay Kinnup make it clear to Tim Adater that Tim was not permitted on his property?
7. By keeping a yard tool close at hand, did Shay Kinnup intend to engage Tim Adater in a violent exchange?
8. Should Shay Kinnup have retreated into his house to avoid the altercation?
9. Did Shay Kinnup use more force in self-defense than necessary?
10. Is Dr. Mae Ihelppís testimony influenced by her recently published book on ADR?
1. Burden of proof; guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
2. Credibility of witnesses.
3. Definition of assault.
4. Definition of battery.
5. Definition of self-defense.
6. "Duty to Retreat."
7. Definition of Anxiety Defense Response.
Burden of Proof ó the mandate, operative in American criminal courts, that an accused person is assumed innocent until proven guilty, and which tasks the prosecution with proving the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Assault ó A crime that occurs when one person tries to physically harm another in a way that makes the person under attack feel immediately threatened. Actual physical contact is not necessary; threatening gestures that would alarm any reasonable person can constitute an assault.
Battery ó A battery necessarily includes a preceding assault and in addition extends to the actual touching or striking of the person, with the intent to do so, with unlawful force or violence.
Self-Defense ó A defense commonly asserted by someone charged with a crime of violence, such as battery (striking someone), assault with a deadly weapon or murder. The defendant admits that he/she did in fact commit the crime, but claims that it was justified by the other personís threatening actions. The core issues in most self-defense cases are:
ē Who was the aggressor?
ē Did the defendant believe that self-defense was necessary and reasonable?
ē If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?
Self-defense is rooted in the belief that people should be allowed to protect themselves from physical harm. This means that a person does not have to wait until he/she is actually struck to act in self-defense. If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would think that he/she is about to be physically attacked, he/she has the right to strike first and prevent the attack. But he/she cannot use more force than is reasonable ó if he/she does, he/she may be guilty of a crime.
Duty to Retreat ó If one is threatened with an attack and it is possible to retreat to a place of safety before the attack, one must do so before using deadly force.
N.J.S.2C:3-4: Use of Force in Self-Protection ó Use of force justifiable for protection of the
person. Subject to the provisions of this section and of section 2C:3-9, the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.
Blackís Law Dictionary
Ban the Ban That Banned the Band
All characters, institutions, names, events and circumstances in this case are fictitious.
The Other Side is a popular heavy metal rock group that has recently released an album. This album contains controversial lyrics that focus on violent acts such as suicide and murder.
On June 23, 2001, a 15-year-old boy named Joseph Witherspoon committed suicide in his backyard by stabbing himself in the chest. At the scene of the suicide, he was found with a pair of headphones on his head with music from The Other Side still playing. His parents blamed the music for influencing Joseph Witherspoon to drive himself to death. They took action to have such lyrics banned, and they gathered supporters for their cause.
The parents and their supporters protested, and soon there was a nationwide movement against the distribution of suicidal lyrics. The protesters began to pressure the government to take action to prevent another tragic incident from occurring. This pressure caused the government to form an agency under the Federal Communications Commission to ban the playing of songs with lyrics that promote or encourage suicide, murder or serious bodily harm on the radio and television.
Many bands began to protest, claiming that this was a violation of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and expression. The Other Side resolved to represent all of the bands that are affected by this new ban. They decided to contest the government.
Is the ban of songs with lyrics that promote or encourage suicide, murder, or serious bodily harm a violation of the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression?
For the Plaintiff
John Doe, a member of The Other Side
Dr. Jean E. Yuss, a juvenile psychologist
For the Defense
Ima A. Jint, a government agent from the FCC
Matt Forban, a child psychologist
Testimony of John Doe
My name is John Doe, but most people know me as Moose. I play guitar for the band called The Other Side. I am here not only to protect the rights of my band but all other bands that are affected by this ban. Our freedoms of speech and expression have been violated.
Our popularity will decline because our songs will not be available to the public. We will not achieve the stardom that we are working so hard for. Even though the government is not taking away our rights to sing these songs, they are not allowing us to play them on the radio or television. If we cannot distribute the songs on public airwaves, then our music will not be heard.
The writers of the lyrics do not expect people to take them literally. Our songs are not meant to condone violence; they are just a representation of what goes on in the world today.
Parents in the past have been upset during the Elvis Presley and the Beatles crazes. Nothing serious was caused by these crazes, and their songs became the accepted music of the time. No bans were made on their music, so why should the government start now on our music? Many people enjoy listening to our music, and even though certain songs refer to violence, it is what happens during our time. This ban should be declared unconstitutional because it violates our First Amendment rights.
Testimony of Dr. Jean E. Yuss
My name is Dr. Jean E. Yuss. I have a Ph.D. in Juvenile Psychology from Oxford University and have been practicing juvenile psychology for 21 years. My studies have focused on the effects of violence from music, television and other types of media. I have previously received the honor of being named the top juvenile psychologist by Psychology Today magazine.
According to my in-depth research, adolescents do not take the lyrics of a song seriously; they just listen to the rhythm. In addition, music is not as influential as visual media, such as television, and movies. Therefore, it cannot be proven that music, as opposed to other influences, causes people to commit suicide. In the case of Joseph Witherspoon, he may have been experiencing other problems in the home or at school, causing him to feel that there was no other escape from his tribulations.
I and other professionals who have dealt with this complicated issue have proven through intense studies that children with strong, positive values will not be affected by the lyrics of the music. It is the responsibility of the parents to instill these positive values in their children and to support their teenagers through their tough adolescent years.
Over the past years, I have found that it is impossible to find a society that is free of violence. You cannot erase thoughts of violence from the general public. In my opinion, banning this sort of music from the public will not decrease the suicide rate of teenagers.
Testimony of Ima A. Jint
My name is Ima A. Jint. I am a government agent from a branch of the Federal Communications Commission that prohibits the playing of songs on radio and television with lyrics that promote or encourage suicide, murder, or serious bodily harm.
The governmentís purpose is to promote the general welfare. This ban is not stopping the bands from singing their songs; we are just stopping the distribution of these songs to the general public on public airwaves. We are looking out for the community, not only young children but also the future generations. If the world is like this now, what will it be like 10 years from now?
The government has already banned obscenities over the Internet under the Communications Decency Act. The courts defined obscenity, and they can also define lyrics that promote or encourage suicide, murder and serious bodily harm. The government is only following the precedent it has already set.
We all have to try to prevent the incidents like that of Joseph Witherspoon. Is a band selling their songs and earning a profit worth even one personís life?
Testimony of Dr. Matt Forban
My name is Dr. Matt Forban. I am a certified child psychologist and possess a doctorate from Yale University. I have been practicing psychology for over 30 years. I am currently working at the Cohen Clinic, studying the effects that music has on our youth.
Recently there has been much protest and concern over the lyrics that this generation of musicians creates and sings. My colleagues at the Cohen Clinic and I believe these lyrics do have an influence on the way children think and act. A child will follow up on the actions of a person he or she idolizes. For example, if an artist sings about committing suicide, a child who idolizes that person may take the lyrics word for word and actually commit suicide. One particular band, The Other Side, comes to mind when it comes to impact of suicidal lyrics.
Dr. Eliot Garson, an eminent psychologist in our field, and my partner in these studies, once said, "...any person may be persuaded to accept the apparent beliefs espoused by someone he or she admires." We need to draw the line on what is acceptable for our posterity. The limits of what is acceptable get pushed further every day.
The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the banning of songs based on their lyrics that encourage or promote murder, suicide or seriously bodily harm infringes on freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.
1. Can it be proven that the music is to blame for the childís suicide?
2. How are the members of the FCC going to decide what music is inappropriate?
3. Will the banning of songs promote the general welfare?
4. Will the banning of songs promote illegal distribution of songs to the public?
5. How long can we turn away from the problem brought about by "the music of our time?"
6. Is the ban the solution to the problem of suicidal lyrics?
7. If music is not as influential as visual media, then why is the ban on music and not on both music and visual media?
1. Influence of music on children.
2. Definition of "serious bodily harm."
3. Individual needs vs. community needs.
4. Constitutionality of laws.
5. Burden of proof.
6. Credibility of witnesses
1. Constitution of the United States, Amendment I ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Communications Decency Act óNo longer shall obscenity be posted anywhere on the Internet. Obscenity shall be defined as:
a. It must be prurient in nature.
b. It must be completely devoid of scientific, political, educational, or social value.
c. It must violate local community standards.
3. Child Musical Lyrics Protection Act ó No longer shall music with lyrics pertaining to suicide, murder, or serious bodily harm be aired on public means of communication. Serious bodily harm shall be defined as:
a. Actions that result in life-threatening situations against oneís self or another.
b. It must be intentional in nature.
c. It must involve physical harm.
State of New Jersey v. Moe Carson
Moe Carson, 33 years old, married, and a resident of the state of Ohio, is a professor at the Constitutional College of Ohio. He chairs an Agnostics Club on the college campus. He drives a black Honda Civic with a personalized license plate that says: 8 E IST. The Ohio license plate also has printed on it the Ohio state slogan, "With G-d* all things are possible." Not believing in G-d, he found it hypocritical to drive a car displaying this slogan. He covered it neatly with duct tape. No other identifying numbers or letters were covered.
On June 13, Moe Carson was on vacation visiting his relatives in New Jersey. He drove to a 7-11 store on Fairbridge Road in Ocean Township in order to purchase some milk. At 9 a.m., upon exiting the store, he observed a police officer, Paul Eece, examining his license plate. Paul Eece was at the 7-11 store responding to a shoplifting call. The officer warned Mr. Carson that it was against the law to have the tape on his license plate, and that he would receive a ticket if he did not remove it. Moe Carson replied that he felt it was his constitutional right not to display something in which he did not believe. The officer then wrote a ticket. Moe Carson became very upset and agitated. Officer Paul Eece informed Moe Carson that he could fight the ticket in court. Still very upset, he finally took the ticket, got in his car, and drove away.
* This case was written by yeshiva students and their teacher, who do not write out the name in entirety when there is the potential for erasure. Hence, the hyphen is inserted.
Does the State of New Jersey have a logical, legitimate right to require the individual to display a message or slogan that is repugnant to his beliefs on the automobile license plate? Is this an infringement of the individualís First Amendment rights?
For the Prosecution
Officer Paul Eece, member of Ocean Township Police Department
Dee M. Vee, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles
For the Defense
Moe Carson, defendant who received ticket
Sylvia Writer, former Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner and current member of the American Civil Liberties Union
Testimony of Officer Paul Eece
My name is Paul Eece and I am 38 years old. I work in the Ocean Township Police Department and have worked there for over 18 years. I am in the Traffic Task Force and I am very familiar with the motor vehicle laws.
On June 13, 2002 at 9 a.m., I was called to duty to a 7-11 store on Fairbridge Road because of a minor shoplifting incident. Another officer had already dealt with the problem. As I was getting back into my own car, I noticed a black Honda Civic in the parking lot. The license plate read "8 E IST." There was duct tape covering the state slogan of its Ohio license plate, "With G-d all things are possible." Having gone to law school in Ohio, I was familiar with the state slogan. This was a violation of the New Jersey traffic laws.
As I began to write up the $100 ticket for the first offense, the defendant, Moe Carson, walked up to me and asked what the problem was. I responded by telling him that it was against the law to cover any part of his carís license plate. He said that he didnít believe in this slogan, and felt that it was his right not to display it on his own car. He yelled that this law was violating his freedom of speech. He furiously accepted the ticket, stepped into his car, and drove away. I was only doing my job. He violated the law by covering part of his license plate, and I was obligated to give him a ticket.
Testimony of Dee M. Vee
My name is Dee M. Vee. I have been the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles for 10 years. I specialize in laws regarding license plates and am familiar with all the laws that apply to this case. New Jersey statute #39:3-33 states that "all identification marks shall be kept clear and distinct and free from grease, dust, or other blurring matter, so as to be plainly visible at all times of the day and night." Traffic law 39:3-33 also states that "no part of the license plate can be altered or defaced or duplicated." This law applies equally to all drivers in New Jersey.
This law is there to prevent the misidentification of cars. Since some license plates are so similar in color or otherwise, it is necessary that not even a small bit of information be concealed. The problems that can occur if a license plate is misidentified include false accusations and other errors dealing with crimes and arrests. Everyone must be able to see all parts of the plate in order to identify the car or it can cause great problems for the driver. Also, the general traffic laws state that while any person is in New Jersey, he or she must follow the laws of New Jersey, even if he or she is from another state.
Testimony of Moe Carson
My name is Moe Carson. I am 33 years old, married, and a resident of Ohio. I work as a professor at the Constitutional College of Ohio. I chair an Agnostics Club on the college campus, which meets once a week during the school year. I drive a black Honda Civic with a personalized license plate that says, "8 E IST". Every Ohio license plate has imprinted on it, "With G-d all things are possible." Not believing in G-d, I found it hypocritical to drive a car displaying this slogan. This message is against my beliefs; I donít want to display this message on my private property. I covered it neatly with duct tape, making sure that no identifying numbers were hidden.
Every summer my family and I vacation in New Jersey and stay with relatives. On June 13, my wife informed me that we ran out of milk and asked me to drive to a local 7-11. At about 9 a.m., upon exiting the store, I saw a police officer standing by my car and examining the license plate. The officer told me that it was against New Jersey law to have tape on my license plate and that he would give me a ticket if I didnít remove it. I told him that I felt it was my constitutional right to cover "With G-d all things are possible" for I am an atheist and I donít believe in G-d. I became very upset at the officer and refused to take the ticket. The officer told me that I could fight the ticket in court. Still extremely upset, I took the ticket and drove away.
I feel I should not have to pay the fine because of the freedoms guaranteed to me in the First Amendment. I feel very strongly that this ticket violates my freedoms and rights as an American citizen.
Testimony of Sylvia Writer
My name is Sylvia Writer and I am 60 years of age. I am a retired DMV commissioner in New Jersey and currently a member of a civil rights group called the American Civil Liberties Union, also know as the ACLU.
In 1984, at the request of the Governorís Office, members of my staff and I were asked to draft laws concerning the appearance and display of license plates on motor vehicles. Specifically, we wrote the legislation that resulted in traffic laws section 39:3-33. This law states that no person shall drive a motor vehicle that has a license plate frame that conceals any part of any marking imprinted upon the vehicleís registration plate. However, when writing these laws, our full intention was merely to state that no numbers or letters imprinted on the license plate could be rewritten, changed, or covered with a frame or other material. We were concerned about the possibility that people may try to deceive the state by making a 6 into an 8 or a 1 into a 7, etc. We certainly did not mean to take away any personís freedom of speech or expression.
Therefore, I feel that the actions of this man covering his license plate did not go against the intentions of this law. He is not breaking any law by just covering up the saying "With G-d all things are possible" for he did not cover or make unclear any of the important information or numbers which are essential for identification of his automobile.
Is the state law a violation of or an excessive burden on the defendantís First Amendment rights? Should Moe Carson have to pay the $100 fine?
1. Does covering the slogan hamper the identification of the vehicle?
2. Is oneís license plate considered oneís speech or expression?
3. Is the printed state slogan ("With G-d all things are possible") an "establishment of religion" by the state government?
Rights of the individual v. the legitimate purpose of the state law.
1. First Amendment ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Fourteenth Amendment; Section 1 ó All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
3. New Jersey Traffic Law 39:3-33 ó The identification mark or marks shall contain the number of the registration certificate of the vehicle and shall be of such design and material as prescribed pursuant to section two of the traffic laws. All identification marks shall be kept clear and distinct and free from grease, dust, or other blurring matter, so as to be plainly visible at all times of the day and night.
No person shall drive a motor vehicle which has a license plate frame or identification marker holder that conceals or otherwise obscures any part of the marking imprinted upon the vehicleís registration plate.
4. Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705,97 S. Ct. 1428 (1977).
State of New Jersey v. Ken Hittmusson: Padding Spanky
Ken Hittmusson, a widower, and his son Spanky, age nine, belong to the Congregation of Universal Salvationers, a religion which requires its members to use corporal punishment to discipline their children. This sect was founded in Canada, and recently corporal punishment was outlawed there. The Salvationers fled Canada for the United States where, they hoped, the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution would allow them to practice their religion freely and discipline their children according to their religious beliefs.
When Spanky was an infant, he was inducted into the Congregation of Universal Salvationers. At his induction, his parents were given the Paddle of Punishment, which every Salvationer couple receives when they have their first child. The Paddle of Punishment is made of wood, covered in foam and leather, and resembles a Ping-Pong paddle. Since the Hittmussonís paddle was used quite often, part of the foam and leather had worn away in certain spots, revealing some of the wood underneath.
On November 17, 2001, a Sunday night, Spanky was giving his father a hard time about going to bed. Because of this, his father took out the Paddle of Punishment and proceeded to hit him with it as a form of discipline. As this was happening, Spanky twisted away, and his father hit him on the side of his torso. The part of the paddle with the exposed wood hit Spanky, fracturing his rib. Spankyís father did not realize that he had fractured Spankyís rib, and Spanky did not mention it, for fear he would just make his father angrier.
The next day, at Wood Elementary School, Spanky and his fourth-grade classmates were scheduled to be checked for scoliosis, a condition that affects the curvature of the spine. The school districtís pediatrician, Dr. Stanley D. Dokter, who is also Spankyís personal pediatrician, examined the students. As Dr. Dokter checked Spankyís back, he saw bruises and felt what he suspected was a fractured rib. Dr. Dokter questioned Spanky about his injury, but Spanky claimed he had no knowledge of how it happened. Dr. Dokter called Ken Hittmusson at work and told him to take Spanky to the hospital for X-rays.
At the hospital, the X-rays revealed that Spanky had not only fractured his rib, but had four other fractures in various stages of healing. When Dr. Dokter again questioned Spanky privately, Spanky admitted that his father had indeed hit him with a paddle the night before. Dr. Dokter then notified the proper authorities to report suspected child abuse as is required by law. Further medical tests of Spanky ordered by Dr. Dokter revealed that Spanky had a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, type 1, which is also known as "brittle bone disease." Osteogenesis imperfecta causes the bones of the person who is diagnosed with it to be weaker than normal and can cause oneís daily tasks to result in damaged bones.
Did the defendant recklessly commit an unnecessary act of physical or mental cruelty upon his minor child during the exercise of his religious beliefs?
For the Prosecution
Dr. Stanley D. Dokter, board- certified pediatrician in private practice, school physician for the Wood Elementary School, staff member of the Pediatric Department of Oakwood Memorial Hospital, and personal physician to Spanky Hittmusson
Spanky Hittmusson, a nine-year-old boy, and the alleged victim
For the Defense
I.M. Holier, founder of the Congregation of Universal Salvation and President of Universal Salvation Awareness Center
Dr. Leslie Sykes, board-certified pediatrician and child psychologist, director of the Oakwood County Family Health Cooperative
Testimony of Dr. Dokter
My name is Dr. Stanley D. Dokter. I am a board-certified pediatrician in private practice and on staff at Oakwood Memorial Hospital. In addition, I am the Wood school districtís doctor and Spanky Hittmussonís pediatrician. As is required by New Jersey state law, once public school students have reached the fourth grade, they must be examined for scoliosis ó a condition that affects the curvature of the spine. Spanky, a fourth-grader, was examined by me at Wood Elementary School on November 18, 2001. During his exam, I noticed some bruising on his torso. When I touched the area, Spanky flinched, an indication that he was experiencing some pain. Upon further examination, I suspected that he might have a rib fracture in the location of the bruise.
When I questioned Spanky about the cause of his injuries, he seemed nervous and was very vague. Given the childís behavior and the injury, I suspected child abuse. Immediately I called Mr. Hittmusson at work, and informed him that I had checked his son for scoliosis and suspected that he might have a rib fracture. I recommended that the father take his son to Oakwood Memorial Hospital for X-rays. I never mentioned my suspicions of child abuse.
That night Mr. Hittmusson took Spanky to the hospital for X-rays, and I met them there on my evening rounds. It turns out that not only did Spanky have a fractured rib, but there was X-ray evidence of four previous fractures that had not healed properly.
I questioned Spanky privately about what had happened. He admitted that on Sunday night his father had hit him with a wooden paddle and, in fact, his father had hit him often in the past. Spanky begged me not to get his father in trouble. He repeated over and over how much he loves his father, and how his father loves him. He said that his father only hits him so he will be properly raised. As required by law, I contacted the authorities, and Mr. Hittmusson was arrested on charges of child abuse.
I ordered further medical tests to be conducted on Spanky, which indicated that he has osteogenesis imperfecta, type 1, commonly known as "brittle bone disease." I have been Spankyís pediatrician since his family moved o Wood, but I never had prior reason to believe that the child had osteogenesis imperfecta. This is a relatively rare disease that makes the patient more susceptible to bone injuries, and I never treated Spanky for broken bones.
Although Spanky has this disease, my opinion, given the history of corporal punishment in this family, is that his injuries are the result of the beatings administered by his father. I feel that these fractures would not have occurred if the father had not used excessive force when using the Paddle of Punishment on Spanky.
Testimony of Spanky Hittmusson
My name is Spanky Hittmusson. I am nine and in the fourth grade. I know my dad loves me very much. Even when he disciplines me with the Paddle of Punishment, he tells me that he loves me and I will be better for it. I know I am a better person because he hits me, even though it hurts a lot. I always learn my lesson, and I feel okay sooner or later. I know the pain isnít as important as my future. Dad hits me so I will be obedient, respectful, and rewarded in the afterlife.
The Paddle of Punishment is a tradition and a necessary part of our religion. It is a wooden paddle covered in foam and leather. My dad loved me so much, the leather and foam wore away in one corner. Once the cover wore away, the punishments hurt even more. Some hurt more than others, but I never got any cuts or bleeding.
This time I argued with my dad when I shouldnít have. I wanted to stay up later than I was supposed to, but Dad wouldnít let me. I talked back to him, and he picked up the Paddle of Punishment and tried to hit me with it. I twisted away and he caught me in the side. It hurt a whole lot, but I knew I was bad to try to get away. If I had taken my punishment like I was supposed to, I wouldnít have gotten hurt so badly.
Iím not abused; Iím only loved. Dad knows what is best for me, and he was hit just like me when he was little. He is very successful, and he is a good Salvationer. When I grow up, I want to be just like my dad. When I have kids of my own, I will use the Paddle of Punishment on them. That way I know theyíll grow up to be good people.
Testimony of I.M. Holier
I am I.M. Holier. I am the founder of The Congregation of Universal Salvationers and am also the leader of our congregation. I have been a religious teacher and a longtime advisor to Ken Hittmusson and his son Spanky. After Ken and his late wife had Spanky, their only child, I presented them with the Paddle of Punishment at Spankyís induction into our religion, as is customary for Salvationers.
All members of our congregation fled Canada five years ago due to the fact that Canada passed laws against corporal punishment. If we stayed in Canada, we would not be allowed to follow our religious beliefs, which include the appropriate physical punishment of children. Here in the United States of America, the First Amendmentís free exercise of religion clause allows us to practice our faith freely.
Our religion holds that correcting a child physically makes the child grow up into a respectful adult. All Universal Salvationers must obey the tenets of our religion as revealed to us by our Holy Book. The Holy Book clearly states that the only way to raise a productive child is to correct him or her by the use of physical punishment. It does, however, state that no child should be corrected for an inappropriate reason. Both during and after discipline, parents always make it clear to their children that they care for them and love them like they love themselves. Parents stress the fact that this punishment is religious in nature. Our congregation even requires parenting classes, which include instruction on how and when to use the Paddle of Punishment. Ken attended these classes and he was an excellent student. He even teaches a new parents class each Thursday night.
We believe that those who have been exposed to physical correction as children grow up to become rule-abiding people who lead productive lives here on earth and go on to reap great rewards in the afterlife. They do well academically as well as socially and learn early on what is expected of them. In fact, we believe that parents who do not paddle their children are the ones who are abusive, since they are depriving their children of the chance to grow up properly.
Ken did not abuse Spanky; he just loved him. Ken sought asylum in the United States so that he could fully exercise his religion under the First Amendment. When Ken corrected Spanky, it was not cruel, but meant to show that he loved his son and wanted him to grow up as a good, religious person. Ken was not being reckless when he paddled Spanky; he was just trying to show his love and follow our religion.
Testimony of Dr. Leslie Sykes
My name is Dr. Leslie Sykes. I am the director of the Oakwood County Family Health Cooperative and I have worked with children for over 25 years as a board-certified pediatrician and child psychiatrist. During this time, I have examined many children who have been physically disciplined. My professional experiences as well as credible research indicate that corporal punishment has no long-term detrimental effects on children. In fact, it teaches them right from wrong and makes them more productive citizens. Children view the physical correction as loving guidance, not the infliction of punishment.
On December 14, 2001, I met with Spanky Hittmusson and reviewed all of his medical records and reports. I found that he, like most other children in similar scenarios, feels that his fatherís physical method of correction is a sign of his fatherís love. Since that is the case, the physical punishment bestowed upon Spanky will not cause any harm, but rather, it will reinforce his fatherís strict standard of good behavior.
Physical punishment is perfectly acceptable by the standards of the Congregation of Universal Salvation; none of the people involved intend to injure their children psychologically or physically. Abuse is not the case in this situation; it is simply strict punishment that is carried out according to the dictates of their religion.
As a matter of fact, Spanky is one of the most well-adjusted children I have ever come across. He is a straight-A student and is in the gifted and talented program at Wood Elementary School. Obviously, Spanky has suffered no psychological damage as a result of Mr. Hittmussonís method of chastisement.
Also, upon examining Spankyís medical test results, I found that Spanky Hittmusson has been recently diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, type 1. Osteogenesis imperfecta, type 1, is commonly known as "brittle bone disease," a genetic disorder where bones are predisposed to fractures. Most of these fractures occur before puberty.
Osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI, is caused by a defect that lessens the amount of collagen, the major protein of the bodyís connective tissue. The deficiency of collagen leads to weak bones that fracture easily. The characteristics of OI vary from person to person, even among members of the same family or children with the same OI type. Unfortunately, since both child abuse and OI are characterized by fractured bones ó usually including fractures in multiple stages of healing, rib fractures, or fractures for which there is not adequate explanation of trauma ó OI can and has been mistaken for child abuse, especially in recent years with the growing of child abuse awareness and the lack of OI awareness. It is common that neither parents nor children know about the disease until an unexplained bone injury prompts further investigation and testing. In most cases, when a child with OI fractures a bone, he or she will not feel any extreme pain. Thus, the child may not even be aware of any injury.
Taking all of the factors of this case into consideration, it is my professional opinion that Mr. Hittmusson would not have had to use reckless or excessive force to cause the fractures found on Spankyís ribs. I believe that the only trauma Spanky has undergone is dealing with the prosecution of his father.
The state bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that:
1. Ken is the father or legal custodian of Spanky;
2. Spanky is a child under the age of 16;
3. Ken Hittmusson recklessly inflicted an act of cruelty upon Spanky; and
4. The alleged act of cruelty was unnecessary.
Recklessly is defined as the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actorís situation. Cruelty is defined as (a) inflicting upon a child unnecessarily severe corporal punishment; (b) inflicting upon a child unnecessary suffering or pain, either mental or physical; (c) habitually tormenting, vexing or afflicting a child; (d) any willful act of omission or commission whereby unnecessary pain, and suffering, whether mental or physical, is caused or permitted to be inflicted on a child; (e) or exposing a child to unnecessary hardship, fatigue or mental or physical strains that may tend to injure the health or physical or moral well-being of such child.
1. Since Dr. Dokter is not a licensed psychiatrist, is he qualified to testify to Spankyís emotional state?
2. Has Dr. Dokter violated the doctor/patient privilege?
3. Is the evidence of prior injuries admissible? For what purpose would they be admissible?
4. Does Spankyís age prevent him from being sworn as a witness?
5. Did Mr. Hittmusson control his anger when administering Spankyís paddling, as required by his religion?
6. Is the osteogenesis imperfecta, type 1, the actual cause of Spankyís past and present fractures?
7. To what extent should corporal discipline by a parent be allowed under the First Amendmentís free exercise of religion clause?
1. Burden of proof.
2. Credibility of witnesses.
3. Doctor/patient confidentiality.
4. Mens rea.
5. Definition of child cruelty.
6. First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion.
7. First Amendment restrictions.
8. Reasonable, prudent, and necessary parental discipline.
9. Elements of a criminal defense.
10. Qualifications of expert witnesses.
11. Admissibility of evidence: direct, circumstantial, and opinion.
12. Reasonable doubt.
13. Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
1. It shall be a crime of the third degree for a parent or other legal custodian to recklessly inflict an act of cruelty upon a child under the age of 16, either directly or indirectly, by other than accidental means.
2. Cruelty to a child shall consist of any of the following acts: a) inflicting upon a child unnecessarily severe corporal punishment; (b) inflicting upon a child unnecessary suffering or pain, either mental or physical....
3. The First Amendmentís free exercise of religion clause to the Constitution of the United States bans laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Guidance for Effective Discipline. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.http://www.aap.org/policy/re9740.html
American Library Association. Notable First Amendment Court Cases. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/1stcases.html#11
Associated Press. State Takes Custody of More House of Prayer Kids. [Online]. Available October 30, 2001.http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/051001/new_0510010058.shtml
Arbetman, L., McMahon, E., & OíBrien, E. (1994). Street Law: A Course in Practical Law. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Atherton, H., Barlow, J. Quigley, C. & Smith, D. (2000). We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution. Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic Education.
Bernick Jr., Bob. Spanking Bill OKíd Despite Concerns. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.
Bundy, George & Smith, Alene. (1992). You Decide! Applying the Bill of Rights to Real Cases. Pacific Grove, CA: Critical Thinking Press and Software.
Claiborne, William. Canadians Flee in Spanking Dispute. [Online]. Available January 22, 2002.http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wpdyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A17922-2001Aug1
Cook, Jonathan. A Refuge of Torture? [Online]. Available October 30,2001.http://www.sparethechild.com/article1005.html
Constitutional Law Course Outline. [Online]. Available October 17, 2001. http://www.lectlaw.com/files/lws40.htm
Ellement, John. Minister Cleared of Child Abuse in Spanking of Son. [Online]. Available October 24, 2001.http://www.doncobble.org/case.htm
Fortune, Maria M."Christian" Child Abuse. [Online]. Available October 24, 2001 http://www.nospank.org/fortune.htm
Freedom Forum. The First Amendment Explained. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.http://www.freedomforum.org/packages/first/curricula/educationforfreedom/L01main.htm
Gunther, G. (1985). Constitutional Law (11th edition). Mineola, NY: The Foundation Press, Inc.
Mock Trial Exercises for Grades Seven and Eight, 2000, 2001. New Brunswick, NJ: New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
National Archives and Records Administration. The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution as Ratified by the States. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. Child Abuse Allegations. [Online]. Available January 22, 2002.http://www.oif.org/tier1/abuse.htm
Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. Fast Facts on Osteogenesis. [Online].
Available January 22, 2002.http://www.oif.org/tier2/fastfact.htm
Owens, Major R. Outlaw Corporal Punishment. [Online]. Available January 8, 2002.http://ericcass.uncg.edu/virtuallib/violence/1602.html
Pitzer, Ronald L. Recent Controversies and News Coverage Regarding Spanking. [Online] Available October 23, 2001.http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/familydevelopment/components/7266d.html
Poelstra, Paul L. Corporal Punishment of Children. [Online]. Available January 8, 2002.
Why Do We Need Parental Rights Legislation?[Online]. Available October 23, 2001. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000027.asp
Zipp, Yvonne. The Case of a Fatherís Refusal to Spare the Rod. [Online]. Available October 23, 2001.http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/09/15/p1s2.htm
Special thanks to Paul Kraivinger, Esq. and John Feczko, Esq. for their assistance.
Soul Food: A Prayer Affair
Faith Hope is an eighth-grade student at A.C. Epting Middle School. Faith has always said grace out loud before her meals, including lunch at school. No school personnel have ever asked her to stop saying grace before eating her lunch.
Recently, in response to a national tragedy, Faith has bowed her head for a moment of silence in addition to saying grace before eating her lunch. When other students asked her what she was doing, she replied that she was thinking about the victims involved in the tragedy. They too chose to bow their heads with Faith each day in the lunchroom for a moment of silence. As the group grew, the students began to stand in unison as they observed the moment of silence. Eventually, several people at each table in the cafeteria were standing.
Some of the other students in the cafeteria felt uncomfortable with the fact that students were praying, and complained to their parents. The parents expressed their concerns to the principal in hopes that the practice would be stopped. Principal D. Arthur Ity observed the scene in the cafeteria for himself. Believing that it was his responsibility to maintain separation between church and state, he told the group of students to stop what he considered to be prayer in the cafeteria.
Does a school have the authority to prevent students from a spontaneous "prayer" during lunch?
For the Plaintiff
For the Defense
D. Arthur Ity
Testimony of Faith Hope
My name is Faith Hope and I am an eighth-grade student at A.C. Epting Middle School. As a young child, I was taught to say grace before each meal as part of my religion. I have been saying grace every day in the cafeteria since I have been going to school. No one has ever asked me to stop.
After the recent national tragedy, students in the cafeteria began joining me for a moment of silence after my own grace. We stood up from our seats and bowed our heads in silence to help us cope with the tragedy. When I was saying grace aloud, no one ever minded or said it was against school policy. Then all of a sudden it was a big issue. We were not gathering anywhere, as in a corner or at a certain table, nor did we intend to disrupt any students eating lunch. I donít understand why my praying now is any different than it was before. Itís not as if I begged other students to join me or tried to impose my religion on them. This was completely spontaneous and not organized in any way.
I do not feel I infringed upon the rights of other people because I did not force or pressure anyone. Under the Constitution, I am guaranteed the freedom to practice my religion. If I cannot say my own prayer in a public school, my rights are certainly being threatened. I donít see how my religious practices can be against school policy. If there was nothing wrong with me saying a prayer alone, why is there something wrong with a group prayer?
Testimony of Darren Tuprey
Hello, my name is Darren Tuprey and I attend A.C. Epting Middle School. Faith Hope, an eighth-grader who sits next to me at lunch, has been saying grace over her meal ever since I have known her. No one has ever made a big deal of it until about a month ago, after the national tragedy occurred. In addition to saying grace, Faith began bowing her head in a silent manner after the national tragedy.
One day, I asked her if I could join her in her moment of silence. I felt it was a good way to cope with the grief, and she had no objections. Everyday more and more students voluntarily joined in our moment of silence until most of our lunch table was praying with us. As students from other tables decided to join in, people from each table bowed their heads and closed their eyes in silence. It was great to see that people of so many different religions and cultures could unite together for support and comfort.
After several weeks of praying together, Principal D. Arthur Ity came to tell us to stop standing for a moment of silence because we were breaking school policy by praying in school. Some students were complaining that they felt uncomfortable during the moment of silence. The principal also argued that church and school should be separate. This angers me because I feel my rights have been violated. It is not even as though we forced or even asked people to join us. It was completely voluntary. It is my right as outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
Testimony of D. Arthur Ity
I am D. Arthur Ity. I am currently the principal at A.C. Epting Middle School. I have been principal at this school for the past nine years. Here in our school district, we are very serious about the separation of church and state in our schools. Our school mission and primary goal is to provide an academic atmosphere in a caring environment. We cannot live up to this goal when students are standing up in their seats and causing a disruption to their peers.
Students were participating in prayer in the cafeteria during lunch. This is against school policy; students are not allowed to partake in religious activity during school. I asked the students politely to stop praying because they were making the other students in the cafeteria feel uncomfortable. Many students have been coming into my office to express their concern and discomfort about the prayer going on in the cafeteria. The parents of the students also complained.
I am not infringing on a personís right to pray outside of school hours; however, prayer does not belong in public schools. I, as a principal, must uphold the separation of church and state and school policy. The praying students felt this act violated their rights of freedom of religion and speech, but we must think of the rights of all the students, not just a few. One personís rights end where another personís rights begin. The students have a right to spend their lunchtime without being disturbed by other peers.
Testimony of Ima Fended
My name is Ima Fended and I attend A.C. Epting Middle School. Faith, an eighth-grader who also attends my school, always says grace out loud before eating her lunch. After the recent national tragedy, some other students joined her in praying for peace and non-violence. Every day at lunch, a couple of students at each table stood in silence. It made me extremely uncomfortable to be surrounded by my peers bowing their heads and closing their eyes. Although they werenít saying anything to me, the silence during the prayer pressured me indirectly to join them. The group of students standing around us and praying silently made me uncomfortable and ill at ease.
In addition, I had no choice of whether I could be in the cafeteria or not. Being at lunch at that time was mandatory, so I couldnít leave the lunchroom when I wanted to. So, as the number of students who were praying increased, I went home and expressed my concern to my parents. They were upset that the school would allow a group prayer in the cafeteria. Other parents, along with my parents, also expressed their concern to Principal D. Arthur Ity. Hopefully, I can now look forward to eating my lunch without being disturbed.
Plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the school board does not have the authority to prevent spontaneous prayer by students during their lunch periods.
1. Is this moment of silence considered prayer?
2. What is the legal definition of prayer?
3. Is a schoolís policy permitted to limit freedom of speech?
4. Is lunch considered part of school hours or non-instructional time?
5. Does the school board have the authority to limit individual students from saying grace out loud before meals?
1. First Amendment rights.
2. Establishment clause: constitutional separation of church and state.
3. Free exercise clause: constitutional protection of oneís freedom to believe or not to believe, as well as oneís freedom to practice oneís beliefs.
4. Credibility of witnesses.
5. Power to the school to limit "expression."
6. Infringement of rights.
7. Burden of proof.
8. Credibility of witnesses.
1. Constitution of the United States, Amendment I ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969 ó Supreme Court ruled that as long as students are not disruptive and do not infringe upon the rights of others, they are free to express their opinions and beliefs under the First Amendment. The Court further stated that a prohibition against expression or belief that does not infringe upon the rights of others is unconstitutional.
3. Ceniceros v. Board of Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District, 1995 ó Supreme Court interpreted the term non-instructional educational time as applying to before and after school, activity periods, and lunchtime.
4. A.C. Epting Board of Education Policy of Religious Observances,
File Code 5673 ó The Board of Education directs that no religious belief or non-belief shall be promoted in the regular curriculum or in courses, programs, or activities during school hours and none shall be disparaged.
Be Careful What You Wish For!
In December of 2001, 15-year-old Willie Shoot was a sophomore at West Sunnyvale High School in the small suburban town of Sunnyvale, New Jersey. Willie lives with his parents, Woody and Ida, who are both successful business people. Their careers involve a substantial amount of out-of-town travel, which takes them away from the home quite often.
Willie Shoot is a very bright, shy and creative boy with a love of literature and creative writing, particularly poetry. Willie is an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. Willie particularly excels in literature and creative writing.
On December 6, Willie received an assignment from his English teacher, Miss Ima Liberal. The class was asked to write a poem entitled "I Wish." The students were encouraged to be creative and explore their emotions. On the next day, Willie recited his poem (see next page) to the class.
Miss Liberal did not believe Willie was violent; however, she was obligated to alert the principal to the poem due to the schoolís "zero-tolerance" policy for violence. The principal, Steve S. Strict, questioned Willie as to the intent of his poem and called his parents. Mr. Strict then explained to Willie and his parents that pursuant to school policy, to ensure the safety of all the students, he was required to notify the police.
Shortly thereafter, a police officer by the name of Billy Clubb arrived at West Sunnyvale High School. The principal showed the police officer the poem. Officer Clubb then interviewed Willie Shoot as well as Willieís parents. Each indicated that the poem was merely an artistic exercise, and that Willie was incapable of such violence. The officer also interviewed the English teacher, Miss Liberal, who concurred with the Shoots. As a result of these interviews, Willie Shoot was released to the custody of his parents.
The next day, Officer Clubb visited the Shootsí home to continue the investigation. The Shoots consented to a search of Willieís room. Officer Clubb, searching the closet and drawers, found nothing unusual. Under Willieís bed, however, was a large box. The box contained a school yearbook with pictures of various students crossed out with a black "X," and magazine and newspaper clippings containing information about the Columbine High School shootings.
Officer Clubb, after speaking to the Shoot Family and requesting the names of Willieís friends and acquaintances, interviewed Willieís neighbor and fellow student, Kenny Lye. When asked to describe his impressions of Willie Shoot, Kenny Lye indicated that Willie had exhibited "weird" behavior and was somewhat of a loner. Kenny Lye also related a statement made by Willie indicating that the yearbook contained "ugly faces" that he wished "were history."
Finding no further evidence reflecting a plot to harm others, Willie was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats and threat to kill in violation of the New Jersey Criminal Code. After presentation of the case to the Grand Jury, Willie Shoot was indicted for the third-degree crimes of terroristic threats and threat to kill. Willie denies any harmful intentions, and insists that he was just exercising his First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and expression.
Willie was initially expelled from West Sunnyvale High School. Foregoing a hearing, Willieís parents later reached an agreement with the school board to withdraw Willie voluntarily from school and to enroll him at an all-boys preparatory school.
Did Willie Shootís poem, when viewed under the totality of the circumstances, constitute the crimes of terroristic threats and threat to kill under the circumstances?
For the Prosecution
Officer Billy Clubb, investigating officer
Kenny Lye, classmate of Willie Shoot
For the Defense
Ima Liberal, teacher of Willie Shoot
Willie Shoot, defendant
Testimony of Officer Billy Clubb
My name is Billy Clubb. I have been a police officer with the Sunnyvale Police Department for the past eight years. For the first seven years, I was assigned to the narcotics unit and my training was specifically in the area of drug investigations.
At 1:30 p.m. on December 7, 2001, I was called into West Sunnyvale High School in response to a student making threats. I arrived at the school and met with the principal, Steve S. Strict, who provided me with a copy of a poem written by the suspect, Willie Shoot. I noticed the suspect was sitting in the principalís office with his parents, Woody and Ida Shoot. At that time, I interviewed those three individuals.
The poem was directed to the other students and stated, among other things, "Would you see my strength? Not an ounce of fear. Would it take an explosion for you to hear? Would you finally see my face if you felt the pain? Itís all of you who are to blame."
Willie Shoot indicated that he wrote the poem in response to an English assignment and did not intend to frighten or threaten anyone with it. His parents indicated that their son has never been in trouble and never displayed any violent tendencies. After interviewing the English teacher, I released Willie to the custody of his parents.
The next day, I went to the Shootsí house to continue the investigation. Upon arriving at the Shoot home, Woody Shoot consented to a search of Willieís room. The room was neat and orderly and nothing out of the ordinary was apparent. I then went on to search the closet and under the bed. In the closet, I found nothing suspicious. However, when I checked under the bed, I came across a cardboard box containing his school yearbook. When I opened it, I found that several studentsí pictures had a large black "X" over them. I also found some magazine and newspaper clippings containing information about the Columbine High School shootings.
I then went downstairs to talk to the Shoots. I inquired as to the names and addresses of Willieís friends. They gave me the name of Kenny Lye, a Sunnyvale High School student and neighbor. I then interviewed Kenny Lye at his home that afternoon. Kenny informed me that he had been Willieís friend for several years. Kenny also informed me that recently Willie was becoming "weird" and that they had gotten into a fight over an academic competition. He also claimed, with regard to the yearbook, that Willie told him he wished some of the faces "were history."
Based upon this investigation, I charged Willie Shoot with terroristic threats and threat to kill, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3.
Testimony of Kenny Lye
My name is Kenny Lye. I am 15 years old and live next door to Willie Shoot. I have been Willieís neighbor for about seven years now and attend the same high school. I am president of the Student Council and usually make the honor roll each marking period. Willie and I used to hang out a lot together until he started getting weird. For example, at lunch everyday he sits by himself and does not talk to any friends. After school, he just stays at home in his room.
One day I was at his house when his parents were away, as they often are. His room looked normal except for a box that he keeps there. Every time I asked him about the box, or to see what was inside, he got very defensive. I noticed a copy of the school yearbook sticking out of the box. I went to pick it up and he said, "Donít touch that; itís just a bunch of ugly faces. If I had my way, theyíd be history." Thatís why I was especially concerned when I heard the poem.
I know Willie thinks I donít like him just because he made the National Honor Society and I did not. Thatís not it. He just got too weird.
Testimony of Ima Liberal
My name is Ima Liberal and Iíve been teaching at West Sunnyvale High School for over 10 years. I received my Masterís degree from Princeton University while majoring in English and creative literature. I am currently teaching second and third year literature and creative writing at West Sunnyvale High School.
On December 6, 2001, I asked my literature students to write an essay or poem entitled "I Wish." I told them to explore and express their feelings and that creativity would weigh heavily into the grade.
The next day, the students read aloud their assignments to the class. As I listened to Willieís poem, I admit to feeling concerned, but I realized how much creativity and effort he had put into it. Nevertheless, due to the schoolís "zero tolerance" policy for violence, I was required to notify the principal of the poem.
Yes, Willie is certainly different from what might be considered a "typical" Sunnyvale student, but to prosecute someone because of his personal thoughts is to violate the rights of free expression that have given rise to some of the greatest literary works in history.
Willie is a bright, sensitive and quiet student. He made the honor roll every marking period and has always excelled academically. Willie has never displayed any violent behavior in my presence.
Although I do understand the need for a strict school policy on violence, I am extremely concerned that such a gifted student is being punished for his creative expressions.
Testimony of Willie Shoot
My name is Willie Shoot. I am 15 years old and attend West Sunnyvale High School in Sunnyvale, N.J. I have always been a good student and am rarely in trouble. On December 6, I was asked to write an essay or poem entitled "I Wish." I wrote a poem about some of my feelings. I was very proud of my work and even believed I would receive an "A."
On December 7, I read my poem aloud to the class. After I read my poem, my teacher asked to see me. She informed me that while she agreed I had put a lot of creativity and effort into the poem, she was required to send me to the principalís office. The principal asked me several questions regarding the poem and my intentions. I explained that I meant no harm and was just expressing my feelings.
The principal then contacted my parents, who immediately came to school for a conference. After the meeting, the principal informed me that he was required to notify the police. I told the police exactly what I told the principal. I guess that wasnít enough because they searched my room and looked through my personal belongings. I was expelled from school and rather than appeal the decision, my parents transferred me to a small, all-boys private school. Since then, my life has been ruined. But even worse than that, Iíve been charged with a crime when I did nothing to anyone.
As far as the things I keep in my room, they are mine, and I have a right to my privacy. What else am I supposed to do? I didnít intend to harm anyone! I was simply expressing my feelings when I doodled on the yearbook. Isnít it better to express my thoughts on paper than to hold them all inside? I admit to being intrigued by the whole Columbine situation. Maybe itís true ó I can understand how lonely it is to be an outcast, but I would never do anything crazy like that.
I do admit that I donít have many friends, and so I spend most of my time alone. For some reason, I am not accepted, and Iíd be lying if I said it didnít bother me.
As to the poem, I hope to be a writer some day. I write my best when I express my true emotions. I regret that a simple poem has led to all of this, but I believe we all have a right to speak freely.
The State is constitutionally compelled to bear the burden of proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
A reasonable doubt is an honest and reasonable uncertainty in your minds about the guilt of the defendant after you have given full and impartial consideration to all of the evidence.
A reasonable doubt may arise from the evidence itself or from a lack of evidence. It is a doubt that a reasonable person hearing the same evidence would have.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof, for example, that leaves you firmly convinced of the defendantís guilt. In this world, we know very few things with absolute certainty. In criminal cases, the law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt. If, based on your consideration of the evidence, you are firmly convinced that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged, you must find him guilty. If, on the other hand, you are not firmly convinced of the defendantís guilt, you must give the defendant the benefit of the doubt and find him not guilty.
1. Was Willie Shoot merely expressing his emotions and creativity as protected by the First Amendment?
2. Would an ordinary person be in imminent fear based upon the poem being read?
3. Was Willie Shootís purpose in reciting his poem to terrorize his fellow students?
4. Were Willie Shootís comments sufficient to cause an ordinary person in his classmatesí position to fear a serious threat?
5. Would an ordinary person believe that death was seriously threatened?
6. Should the items retrieved in Willie Shootís room be considered evidence if none of the students were aware of their existence?
1. Burden of proof.
2. Reasonable doubt.
3. Credibility of witnesses.
4. Totality of the circumstances.
5. Criminal intent v. constitutionally protected speech.
N.J.S.A 2C: 12-3a. ó Terroristic Threats:
A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b. ó Threat to kill:
A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and likelihood that it will be carried out.
1. The crime of terroristic threats requires the threat to be serious and that the psychological result, intended or risked, be grave. The purpose is not "to authorize grave sanctions against the kind of verbal threat which expresses transitory anger rather than settled purpose to carry out the threat or to terrorize the other person." The seriousness and immediacy of the threat and whether an ordinary person in the victimís position would feel threatened is gauged by the totality of the circumstances.
2. The crime of threat to kill requires that the threat be such that an ordinary individual hearing it would believe that death was seriously threatened whether or not he actually was put in fear. The threat must be the kind that would reasonably convey a fear of death to an ordinary person.
3. Terroristic threats are separated out and treated as more serious offenses because where the object is to prevent serious alarm for personal safety, such as may arise from letters or anonymous telephone calls threatening death, kidnapping or bombing, the class of threats can be narrowly defined, and the gravity of the offense can be related both to the seriousness of the threat and the disturbing character of the psychological result intended or risked by the actor.
School Law ó Cases and Concepts, LaMorte, Michael W., 6th edition, (1999).
Basic School Law, N.J. School Boards Association, School Board Library Series, Vol. 1 (1992), Ford, Dow, et al.
www.lexis.com/research/freedom of speech
Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier et al., 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
Tinker et al. v. Des Moines Independent Community School District et al., 393 U.S. 503 (1969)
New Jersey Criminal Code óN.J.S.A. 2C
Special thanks to Ellen Torregrossa OíConnor, Esq., for her assistance.
Tourism or Terrorism?
Boukís Books, an Islamic publishing company, prints tour booklets monthly. Each booklet provides the reader with information about a specific city. Each month a new city is featured in these bestselling booklets. It seems that after certain booklets are published, a terrorist activity occurs in the featured city.
The head of Uncle Samís Publishing Company, Pat Riotic, blames their loss of sales on their competitor, Boukís Books. She finds the tour books suspicious and believes that they contain a code directly linked to the terrorist activities. Pat Riotic notifies the CIA, who sends Will B. Spyin to investigate.
Agent Spyin finds a chart in each booklet depicting the peak season, which indicates the days of the month a large number of tourists visit the city. He notes that on high volume days, there are terrorist activities in the particular city. In addition, Will B. Spyin discovers that one member of Boukís Books is on the Suspected Active Terrorist (SAT) List. He brings his findings to his superiors. Consequently, Boukís Books has been closed down and is barred from publishing further tour booklets. As a result, the company is suing the United States Government for violating their First Amendment rights.
Did the U.S. Government violate the First Amendment rights of Boukís Books?
For the Plaintiff
Imael A. Bouk
For the Defense
Will B. Spyin
Testimony of Imael A. Bouk
My name is Imael A. Bouk and I am the president of Boukís Books. Our company writes, edits, and publishes our own tour guide booklets. For the past year, we have been writing about major cities in the United States. A new tour guide is released monthly to provide tourists with the information needed to sightsee. To enhance the userís experience, we provide background information as well. Furthermore, the booklets cite any major events and general facts about the city. Our booklets contain graphs to show peak and off seasons. This feature gives people the advantage of knowing when it is the best time to plan vacations.
Ever since we started, Uncle Samís Publishing has been trying to put us out of business. They established a pattern in our guides. They claim that whenever we published a booklet, a terrorist activity occurred in that city a few months later. They assume that our graphs act as a message board for terrorists because the unfortunate incidents always happen during the peak season. Based on their conspiracy theory, they notified the CIA and accused us of terrorist acts.
The CIA believed them and shut us down. However, our company has nothing to do with these activities. We do not know who is responsible for the attacks, but it is not us. It is just a coincidence that our tour guides are published before unfortunate incidents happen in that city. In conclusion, Uncle Samís Publishing and the CIA had no right to shut us down.
Testimony of Seymour Placez
My name is Seymour Placez and I am a travel agent. I have been receiving copies of Boukís Books travel booklets for years. I receive new issues of the booklet once a month and I am quite pleased with the services they provide. I recommended this booklet to all of my clients, and they all returned from trips telling me it was a useful resource. I personally have visited many places using this travel booklet and my trips have been very successful.
These booklets strictly contain tourist attractions in major cities around the U.S.; background information about the area is provided as well. In every issue a helpful graph is provided to allow people to plan their vacations without any unnecessary stress. The graph displays the months and the days of the year. Red lines on the chart indicate days when the city is very crowded by tourists. This helps my clients make travel arrangements. If they want to tour the site on a day with less of a crowd, they can look at the graph and pick a day without the line. It becomes very helpful while planning vacations.
I see no reason for anyone to suspect terrorist activity from Boukís Books. I use these booklets daily and I havenít had a problem with them yet. Being suspicious of this group for committing any terrorist activity is ridiculous. It is nothing but coincidence that terror attacks occur in some of the cities the booklets feature. This company has not done any harm. I see no reason for anyone to suspect Boukís Books for engaging in terrorist activity.
Testimony of Pat Riotic
Hello, my name is Pat Riotic. I am the president of Uncle Samís Publishing. My competitor, Boukís Books, was enjoying a lot of success, so I followed their work to take pointers, and soon began to notice a strange pattern. Every month the company would publish a tour booklet about a major city; soon after, a terrorist activity would occur in that particular city. Another strange thing I noticed was a graph printed inside each booklet. It had the month with a red line on the days that were most populated. The terrorist attacks always seemed to happen on these select days. When I saw the strange patterns, I contacted the CIA, and they took over the case.
Testimony of Will B. Spyin
My name is Will B. Spyin. I have been working as a CIA agent for 10 years. I specialize in patterns and decoding.
A couple of months ago, the president of Uncle Samís Publishing alerted me of an Islamic publishing company suspected of terrorist activities. I did research on the company and found reason to shut them down. One employee of Boukís Books, the suspected company, is on my SAT list (Suspected Active Terrorist) for alleged ties to a larger terrorist network. Secondly, I noticed definitive codes hidden inside the travel booklets they publish ó specifically, a map that expressed the most popular travel dates on which to strike a city. Lastly, I can verify that there is a definite pattern of terrorist attacks upon the cities featured in their booklets. I notified head officials of my discovery immediately. After speaking to state governors, they confirmed that terrorist activities took place on the dates indicated in the travel booklets. We stopped Boukís Books from publishing their travel booklets. Therefore, we closed Boukís Books for good.
None of the information I found was coincidental. Thanks to the action we took against this company, people can sleep a little easier at night. The CIA has stopped the terrorists yet again from destroying our country.
Boukís Books must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their First Amendment right of freedom of the press was violated by the U.S. Government.
1. Are the graphs in the tour booklets a signal for terrorists?
2. Is the investigation biased against Boukís Books because of race or religion?
3. Did Uncle Samís Publishing act out of jealousy towards Boukís Books?
1. Credibility of witnesses.
2. Racial profiling.
3. Preponderance of the evidence.
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ó Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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