JUROR A. White, middle-aged woman from the suburbs. Sending kids, ages 7, 9 and 12, to private schools because of fear of violence in public schools. Children have never invited black friends into her home, although she wants; her kids to have friends; from all races. No interracial dating however. She is a housewife. Husband is a stockbroker.
JUROR B. Black woman, lives in suburbs, mid-20s. Works as a teachers’ aid in her daughter’s elementary school. She moved out of the city because of threats from drug dealers in her old neighborhood. She likes the quiet and good education her child is getting. She is a member of the NAACP. Husband is a policeman in New York who also coaches basketball.
JUROR C. Black man in his late 20’s. Grew up in NY City. Completed his GED in the Marine Corps, from which he was honorably discharged 2 years ago. He had some difficulty getting along with some of the white officers in the MC. Works as a security guard and owns a gun. Thinks that blacks can get ahead if they work hard. Not married. Member of the Police Auxillary and the Police Athletic League.
JUROR D. Hispanic male in his late 40’s. Math teacher and coach in Brooklyn. Runs an afterschool tutoring program for Hispanic kids who are behind. Thinks legal system discriminates against minorities unfairly. Owns a registered gun which he keeps locked up. Has 2 kids in college and wife works as a bank teller. Was mistakenly picked up by police once because he “resembled s criminal they were looking for.”
JUROR E. White female, 35, married to a grocery store owner. Lives in the Bronx. Works in the store with her husband. Dislikes teenage boys who come in and “rob the store blind.” It seems it’s especially the black and Spanish who are the trouble makers, although not all of them are like that. No children. Was mugged in the subway once. Her purse was stolen but she wasn’t hurt.
LESSON TWO. The Goetz Trial (3 days to complete)
1. To acquaint students with the testimony of eyewitnesses and expert witnesses in the criminal trial of Bernard Goetz;
2. To familiarize students with the procedures in a mock trial;
3. To challenge students to plan a court room strategy that will enable them to convince the jurors of the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
Reading: “Issues of Racism Within the Trial of Bernard Goetz” (text, above)
1. (DAY 1) Students have been given an initial reading about the Bernard Goetz case.
Teacher summarizes the major issues. The teacher then assigns students into three groups: Prosecution Team; Defense Team and Witnesses. Students from another class make up an ideal jury. (See LESSON ONE: above) Legal Teams each get a Witness List and begin strategy sessions (order of witnesses, self-defense issues, etc.)
2. After OPENING STATEMENTS to the jury (DAY 2), witnesses are called.
3. Witnesses are asked to read their testimony, then cross-examined, then recrossed if necessary, until ail witnesses have been called.
4. After all witnesses are called (some may be called a second time), the lawyers give their CLOSING STATEMENT to the jury. (DAY 3)
5. The Jury retires and renders a verdict on the charges against the defendant.
(Individual verdicts may be read by each jury member, or a unanimous verdict, if one can be reached)
LESSON 3: Attitudes of Race and Racism: Historical and Autobiographical
1. To explore reasons why attitudes of racial prejudice exist in America;
2. To explore experiences of blacks and whites within the criminal justice system in the United States;
3. To challenge students to examine their own racial attitudes in light of their own experiences and belief systems.
Reading: “Race and Racism in the United States: A Brief Background to the Goetz and Simpson Cases” (see text, above).
Tables 1, 2, and 3 (“Crimes and Race”) below.
1. Assign Reading, “Race and Racism” in text of unit. (4 pages long) Ask them to write down 3 or 4 discussion questions that come out of the reading.
2. Suggestion: Teacher prepares list of the following terms: Race, Racism, Objective and Subjective evidence, Alexis de Tocqueville, “BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION”, civil rights movement, “Black Power,” Black Panthers, crime rates, violent crime, victims of crime, causes of crime.
3. Ask students to share their questions with the entire class. Write them down on chalkboard. One from each student, if possible. If necessary, use Teacher List.
4. Have students discuss in groups: When did “race” begin to have meaning in your life? Share a personal experience with racism you have had. Share one incident a family member has had. How did these make you feel? After the groups finish, arrange students in a circle and ask them to share from their discussions.
5. Pass out Tables 1, 2 and 3. What do the statistics on each one suggest?
TABLE 1 Shows that for 16 of 17 crimes, the black arrest rate was disproportionally higher.
TABLE 2 shows that black murder and robbery rates are higher; for rape, white rates higher.
TABLE 3 shows that murders are mostly the same race; robberies have more black-on-whites and rapes are more white-on-white. No reported cases of white-on-black rape. (Remind students that figures are “reported” cases.)
Key Question: Why are black Americans responsible for so large a ratio of crimes involving violence or the threat of violence? The reading suggests that there are economic factors which affect the rates of violent crime and crime in general. What are the detection and arrest rates for so-called “white collar crime”?
6. Have students conclude with ways they can combat racism in their families, schools and neighborhoods.
TABLE 1—ARRESTS, PERCENTAGES AND PROPORTIONS
(figure available in print form)
TABLE 2—VIOLENT CRIMES BY RACE
(figure available in print form)
TABLE 3—VIOLENT CRIMES BY RACE, PART 2
(figure available in print form)
APPENDIX 1 Theories of Self-Defense in the Goetz Criminal Case
It is important to know the arguments which self-defense are based on. When the state cannot supply protection from harm, citizens have a right to protect themselves. Self-defense is justifiable when an attack on a person is IMMINENT. By imminent, the law simply means that the time for a response cannot wait any longer. The response to violent threat cannot be too early (a preemptive strike), because then it would be based on presumption that an enemy might attack you, but he is not actually exhibiting threatening behavior at the moment you decide to ward off an attack. Also, self-defense, to be legally justifiable cannot be in retaliation for something done to you in the past. This kind of attack seeks to “even the score” for past wrongs, but is clearly not self-defense; rather it is “taking the law into one’s own hands.”
A second requirement for legal self-defense is that the attack be NECESSARY and PROPORTIONAL. To be necessary, the option used (shooting the attackers) must be the best option under the circumstances. What other options were possible (showing the gun or shooting a warning shot)? The proportional requirement deals with the amount of force necessary to stop the attack, that it not be excessive force. In order to prove that his actions were proportionally legal according to New York state law, Goetz would have to show that he was either threatened with deadly force or that a robbery about to happen.
The last requirement of self-defense is that of having knowledge of an attack and of having the INTENTION of stopping or repelling the attack. The victim must, in other words, have a good reason for his attack; he must believe his life is being threatened by his attackers. In other words, the defense lawyer, Slotnick, would have to convince the jurors that the victims got what “the law allowed,” not what “they deserved” by bothering Mr. Goetz for “five dollars.”
APPENDIX 2 Legal Strategy for the Defense in the Goetz Criminal Case
Legal strategy is revealed in opening statements by the two lawyers. The Assistant District Attorney, Gregory Waples made his attack on Goetz a personal one, calling him “an emotionally troubled individual, . . . an emotional powder-keg, one step away from the insane asylum.” As his first piece of evidence in the trial, he chose to play Goetz two-hour videotaped “confession” nine days after the shooting, which revealed Goetz to be easily agitated, coherent but rambling in his remarks, judgmental of police and legal authority, with a tendency to be aggressive toward his adversaries.
Barry Slotnick, Goetz’ lawyer, chose to vilify Goetz’ victims as attackers, calling, them the “gang of four” who were “savages” and “predators” on society. The defense could have objected to the showing of Goetz’s videotaped “statement” (rather than the “confession” Waples referred to) because it allowed the defendant to speak to the jury without being cross-examined. Slotnick would stress the impressions of Goetz’ obvious fears at the time of the shooting fears that led him to defend himself in a way he believed to be legally appropriate. Slotnick made no bones about his role as prosecutor of Canty, Allen, Ramseur and Cabey as “vultures” and “criminals.” If the defense could bring into evidence all of the victims’ prior criminal acts and others that could be confirmed by witnesses, the defense would be able to prove that the four were likely to be the aggressors in the subway
Slotnick got his chance when Waples asked Troy Canty on the stand if he had intended to “rob or attack Goetz” to which Canty answered “no.” After an intense argument by both lawyers, Justice Crane ruled that since Waples had “opened the door” to debate the intent of the victims, the Judge would allow the defense to let into evidence prior criminal acts of the victims. Slotnick’s use of language was effective in painting a negative image of the victims. He was able to get Canty to admit he engaged in
video games, when actually he was engaged in
from the cash boxes of video games. From this use of the word robbery, Slotnick was able to create confusion and ambiguity about how Goetz may have feared he was about to be robbed by an admitted “robber.”
APPENDIX 3 The O.J. Simpson Case Timeline
June 12. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman are stabbed to death, their bodies found in the front courtyard of Nicole’s Arentwood condominium on Bundy Drive.
June 13. In Chicago, O.J. Simpson is notified of his former wife’s death. He returns to Los Angeles and is taken to the police station for questioning.
June 17. As he is about to be arrested for murder, O.J. slips out of Robert Kardashian’s home and goes on Bronco ride, pursued by police, with his friend, A.C. Cowlings. Simpson is taken into custody upon his return to his home in Rockingham.
June 24. Grand jury impaneled to investigate evidence.
July 8. Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell rules that O.J. Simpson shall stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder.
July 22. O.J. pleads “absolutely 100 percent not guilty” of the charges. Judge Lance A. Ito assigned to the case.
Sept. 19. Judge Ito upholds the legality of the police search of Simpson’s home.
Sept 26. First day of jury selection.
Nov. 3. Jury panel selected, five weeks later. Eight black, one white, one Hispanic, two mixed race; Eight women, four men.
Jan 11. Jury sequestered. Hearing held about defense arguments against admissibility of domestic-abuse evidence.
Jan. 13. Prosecutor Christopher Darden and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran have heated exchange over racist language, specifically the “n” word, regarding the upcoming testimony of Detective Mark Furhman.
Jan. 24. First day of trial. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden deliver opening arguments.
Jan. 25. Johnnie Cochran makes opening statement for the defense.
Feb. 3. Nicole Brown’s sister, Denise, testifies to O.J.’s mistreatment of her sister.
Feb. 12. Jurors, judge, and attorneys take field trip to O.J.’s home and Bundy Drive crime scene.
March 15. Det. Mark Furhman, cross-examined by F. Lee Bailey, denies using the word “nigger”at any time in previous ten years.
April 11. L.A.P.D. criminalist Dennis Fung testifies and concedes there were police errors in the gathering of evidence
May 4. Wrongful death civil suit filed against O.J. by Ron Goldman’s father and sister.
May 10. DNA testimony begins with testimony of Dr. Robin Cotton.
May 15. O.J. tries on the bloody gloves in front of the jury. They don’t fit.
July 6. The prosecution rests its case against O.J. Simpson.
July 10. Arnelle Simpson, O.J.’s daughter, is first witness called in defense case.
Aug. 15. Controversy over possible conflict of interest regarding Judge Ito, his police captain wife, and the Mark Furhman tapes.
Aug. 29. Portions of Furhman tapes are played in court, with jury absent.
Aug. 31. Judge Ito rules that jury will only hear two excerpts of controversial tapes.
Sept. 6. With jury absent, Mark Furhman appears in court involving his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Sept. 7. The defense announces that O.J. Simpson will not testify on his own behalf.
Sept 8. Appeals court reject Ito’s proposed jury instruction that Furhman did not appear again in court because of his invoking the Fifth Amendment.
Sept. 21. Ito Gives jury the option of finding O.J. guilty of second-degree murder.
Sept. 22. Both defense and prosecution rest their cases. In a statement to judge waiving his right to testify, O.J. says, “I did not, could not and would not have committed this crime.” Judge Ito gives jury instructions.
Sept. 26 and 27. Clark and Darden deliver prosecution’s closing arguments.
Sept. 27 and 28. Cochran and Scheck deliver defense’s closing statements. Cochran makes controversial statements to the jury comparing Furhman to Hitler.
Oct. 2. After less than four hours, the jury announces that it has reached a verdict.
Oct. 3. Jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty.
Source: Shapiro, Robert L.
The Search for Justice