Freewalt.com
Freewalt.com •• Freewalt Family •• Shawnee •• Social Studies •• VWHS Reunion

Social Studies Links ••••> News •• History •• Geography •• Law •• Government •• Special Projects

Aztecs, Incas, and Conquistadors (The Mesoamericans) - Index


Research Materials and Web Sites
Trial Instructions and Research Packet
Trial Facts of the Case Handout
Trial Evidence Handout
Trial Team Handout
Trial Agenda
Trial Bailiff's Script
Trial Reflection Questions

Mr. Freewalt’s 7th Grade Social Studies Presents:


Native Americans v. Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro

Trial Instructions
A short guide to
Organizing your case
And preparing for trial

The accused (Cortes / Pizarro) have been charged with:

  1. Murder of Montezuma / Atahualpa
  2. Intentional Destruction of Aztec / Inca Empire
  • #1 – Prosecute Cortes                 (try to prove he is guilty)
  • #2 – Defend Cortes                      (try to show he is not guilty)
  • #3 – Prosecute Pizarro                (try to prove he is guilty)
  • #4 – Defend Pizarro                     (try to show he is not guilty)

 ·         The legal teams for the prosecution (#1 and #3) will select lawyers from their groups.  There can be as many lawyers as the group thinks it needs.  The group’s mission is to research the accused to find enough evidence to convince the jury to find them guilty of one or both of the charges.  They must prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Choose prosecutors (lawyers who will ask questions during the trial and represent the Indians’ side).
  • Choose people from your group to be witnesses (Native Americans).

·         The legal teams for the defense (#2 and #4) will select lawyers from their groups.  There can be as many lawyers as the group thinks it needs.  The group’s mission is to research the accused to find evidence to convince the jury to find them not guilty of one or both of the charges.  They need to create doubt in the minds of the members of the jury.

  • Choose defenders (lawyers who will ask questions during the trial and represent the Conquistadors).
  • Choose people from your group to be witnesses (Spaniards).
  • Choose someone to be Cortes (#2) or Pizarro (#4).

Answer the following questions during your investigation:

  • What was the act?
    • What happened? Answer the who? what? when? where? why? and how? questions.
  • What was the outcome?
    • What was the end result of the act? Who was harmed? What crime was committed by the act?
  • Was there intent?
    • Did he mean for things to happen the way they did? Was it an accident or was it planned out? Does the defendant have a “guilty mind” (mens rea)?
  • Was there a motive?
    • What motivated the person to do what he did? To answer this question, you will need to figure out his worldview, goals, and ambitions.
  • Was there a means?
    • Was the defendant physically and/or mentally able to commit a crime?
  • Was there opportunity?
    • Does the defendant have an alibi? Did the defendant create an opportunity to commit the crime?

Evidence

  • Do you have journal entries, eyewitness testimony, weapons, etc.?  How do we know if any crime was committed?
  • Evidence tells the story and proves your case.  Without evidence, you have no case.
  • Evidence will be presented during the trial so that the jury can see it.

Opening Statements

  • Both the Prosecution and Defense will present an opening statement that outlines the way they plan to prosecute or defend the person on trial.  Opening statements are like the preface or introduction of a book.  They give the court a glimpse of what is to come.

Prosecution Strategy (groups #1 and #3)

  • For everything you do, you should always have a plan.  The Prosecution Strategy is the plan the prosecution will use to try to show guilt on the part of the person on trial.  In order for the person to be found guilty, the Prosecution needs to show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person committed the crime.  The Prosecution needs to show motive and intent.  See the previous page for an explanation of these.  The Prosecution will undoubtedly want to present witnesses (especially Aztecs (#1) or Incas (#3)) and other evidence; however the Prosecution cannot call up the accused as a witness.  Rather, the Prosecution can cross-examine the witness after the Defense calls him or her to the stand to testify during direct-examination.

Defense Strategy (groups #2 and #4)

  • The Defense team also needs a plan to try to “create doubt” in the minds of the members of the jury.  Did the person really commit the crimes themselves?  Maybe it was someone else.  Maybe it was an accident.  Maybe their religious views, etc. caused them to do what he or she did.  The Defense needs to disprove the Prosecution’s explanation of motive and intent.  The Defense will undoubtedly want to present witnesses (especially Cortes (#2) or Pizarro (#4) and other Spaniards) and other evidence; however the Defense cannot call up the Prosecution’s witnesses.  Rather, the Defense can cross-examine the witnesses after the Defense calls them to the stand to testify during direct-examination.

Direct-Examination

  • The Defense or Prosecution calls up a witness to testify and answer questions.  The purpose of Direct-Examination is to tell the jury the story of what happened.

Cross-Examination

  • Following Direct-Examination, the opposite side (Prosecution or Defense) has the opportunity to ask questions of the other side’s witness.  This is done to clarify or expose errors in the testimony.

Closing Arguments

  • Both the Prosecution and Defense will present closing arguments after all the testimony has been heard.  Closing Arguments sum up the entire case.  You do not have an opportunity to write this up before the trial since the Closing Arguments are a summary of the Prosecution’s or Defense’s case.  This is your last opportunity to convince the jury to rule on your side.

There is excellent information about the workings of a trial and court procedure at the following website:

http://www.oclre.org/links/
http://library.thinkquest.org/2640/

Specifically, check out:

http://library.thinkquest.org/2640/htmldocs/bookem/procedures.html#openclose

 

Definitions of Some Legal Terms


PROSECUTING ATTORNEY


1.      A prosecutor has the responsibility to seek justice and to advocate for a verdict based on the severity of the offense.  He or she is a public official who presents the government’s case against a person accused of a crime.

2.      The prosecuting attorney will prepare for the case. The prosecutor will be provided with a copy of the police report giving facts regarding the particular case to be heard.

3.      After the jury has been sworn in and the case is called, the prosecutor begins by giving an opening statement. The prosecutor should introduce himself/herself and (colleagues) if any. In the opening statement, the prosecutor should state the defendant's offense and cite the appropriate laws. The prosecutor will let the court know what he/she intends to provide and why he/she plans to advocate for a harsh verdict.

4.      Following direct examination by both attorneys, the prosecutor will have the opportunity to cross-examine the defendant on the testimony already brought out through direct examination. The questions should be relevant to the offense and should elicit responses that justify the prosecutor's verdict recommendations. Questioning can include why the defendant committed the offense, or that the defendant was the one who started the fight.

5.      Lastly, when the questioning of the defendant is completed, the prosecutor will give a closing argument to the jury. It should be organized and supported by the evidence. The prosecutor can point out the reasons why he/she would like the jury to recommend a particular verdict.

6.      Be sure to recommend a sentence as a part of the closing argument (guilty).


DEFENSE ATTORNEY


1.      A defense attorney is an advocate for the defendant. The defendant should be represented in the best possible light. While the defense attorney must zealously seek to help his/her client, he/she must never misrepresent the case.  Therefore, lying is never acceptable. To prepare the case, the defense attorney should be familiar with the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

2.      The defense attorney will have the opportunity to meet with the defendant and prepare his/her case.  The defense attorney will interview the defendant to learn the circumstances surrounding the offense. The defense attorney does not encourage the defendant to change his/her story in hopes of a lighter verdict, but stresses that the defendant must remain true to the facts. At this time, the defense attorney should also familiarize the defendant with the hearing proceedings.

3.      Once the hearing has started, and the jury has been sworn in, the defense attorney should introduce himself/herself at this time (and introduce defendant and colleagues, if any).

4.      The defense attorney will make an opening statement.

5.      Both the Defense and the Prosecuting Attorney will question the defendant.

6.      Be sure to recommend a judgment as a part of the closing argument (not guilty).


OTHER KEY TERMS


Bailiff – a court officer charged with keeping order in the court and helping the jury.  A bailiff also may oversee custody of prisoners while in court during criminal cases.

Burden of proof – a party’s obligation to establish by evidence certain facts necessary to prove that party’s case.  In a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that he or she is entitled to recover or other relief.

Charge – an accusation of guilt; usually the first step in a criminal prosecution.

Closing argument – a summary of the evidence and argument of the party’s position at trial, made by the party’s attorney.  It does not constitute evidence.

Defendant – the individual sued by the plaintiff.  The defendant usually is represented by a lawyer.  The defendant disputes the statements, or allegations, in the plaintiff’s complaint or may admit the allegations, but argue that he or she has a valid defense to the claims such as self-defense.

Execution – termination of human life by the government as punishment for a crime

Foreman – the jury member who speaks for the body as a whole

Judge – the public official who decides which disputed facts (evidence), may be presented to the jury.  The judge also tells the jury in “jury instructions” what the applicable law is.  The judge decides the issues of law in the case.

Jury – the jury is a group of ordinary citizens selected to decide the case.  A jury usually is made up of a group of six or twelve individuals, depending on state law.  In most states, a jury must reach a unanimous verdict.  That is, all members of the jury must agree with the decision.  Some states allow for less than a unanimous verdict in some civil cases.  If less than the required number of jurors agree, then the jury is a “hung jury.”  That means that the jury was unable to reach a decision.  In that case, the case can be tried again.

Murder – when a person of sound mind (of sufficient age to create a criminal design and legally sane) kills any human being in the peace of the nation (excluding military actions) without a warrant of justification, and with malice aforethought, express or implied

Plaintiff – the person who begins the suit.  In the complaint, the plaintiff states, or alleges, that he or she was injured by the conduct of another.  The plaintiff usually is represented by a lawyer.

Prison – a public institution detaining criminals serving long-term incarcerations

Testify – to give evidence under oath

Witnesses – people who must have specific knowledge of what happened.  Witnesses are generally not allowed to present hearsay testimony (such as gossip).  Expert witnesses may not know the specific facts in the case but may use their specialized knowledge to help the jury understand the complex evidence, such as the degree of intoxication that results from drinking certain amounts of liquor.

If you have any questions about the trial, please ask Mr. Freewalt.

Research Materials and Web Sites
Trial Instructions and Research Packet
Trial Facts of the Case Handout
Trial Evidence Handout
Trial Team Handout
Trial Agenda
Trial Bailiff's Script
Trial Reflection Questions
Freewalt.com •• Freewalt Family •• Search •• Terms of Use

Contact the webmaster with questions and/or comments about this web site, or to report broken links.
All Rights Reserved - Freewalt.com