Tuesday, May 7

Theodore Boone & Understanding the Law (Middle School Unit Study)


Woody Lambert is in trouble. He comes from a broken family, suffers bad grades at school and his older brother, Tony, is on probation for a drug offence. When Woody inadvertently gets caught up with Tony and one of his friends, Garth, cruising around Strattenburg in a beaten-up Mustang drinking beer, one thing leads to another and Garth holds up a convenience store with a fake gun. 

Though he had no involvement in the crime other than being in Garth's car, Woody is arrested as an accomplice. He's going to need serious legal advice to avoid juvenile prison.

Enter Theodore Boone: after all, Theo has already decided that he will become the best courtroom lawyer in the state. It's just that, at the age of thirteen, Theo is years from being a qualified lawyer - and Woody needs help right now . . .

Theo has been worried about his good friend Woody Lambert. Woody is struggling at school and making bad choices. But when Woody is arrested—an unwitting accomplice to armed robbery—Theo knows he is innocent. Racing the clock while Woody sits in jail, Theo will do everything in his power to help his friend and save Woody from an unforgiving system where justice is not equal for all.


How Does a Courtroom Work?
In a civil case, there is a plaintiff and a defendant.  In a criminal case, the government is bringing charges against the defendant.
 “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”  ~Abraham Lincoln
Most defendants hire an attorney, or lawyer.  They also have the option of a court-appointed attorney, if they cannot afford one.  This person helps guide them through the legal process.

Other people present in the courtroom include the court clerk (who records every word of the legal proceedings), deputies / bailiff (who provide security), witnesses (who give testimony about the case), judge (who presides over the case), and the jury (who hears the facts and decides the case).  Not every trial is a jury trial; some are decided by the judge.

Read
Make / Do
Watch
Define / Identify
  • District Court
  • Subpoena
  • Court of Appeals
  • Remand
  • Criminal Case
  • Civil Case
  • Suit
  • Jurisdiction
  • Unconstitutional
  • Misdemeanor
  • Magistrate
  • Felony
  • Probable Cause
  • Arraignment
  • Defendant
  • Attorney
  • Plea
  • Verdict
  • Plaintiff
Think
  • What is the role of law in society?  What are justice and injustice?
  • What do you think the Abraham Lincoln quote above means?
  • Why are potential Supreme Court justices put through so much scrutiny?  (You'll need to research the Supreme Court to answer this one.)

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