Chicago Public Schools to Offer Students CD-Rom on 7th Amendment Right to Jury Trial

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Illinois American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Chapter President John W. Bell announced today that the Chicago Public Schools agreed to add to their middle school offerings ABOTA Foundations Justice by the People, an interactive curriculum CD-ROM. It follows on the heels of the April announcement by the Chicago Public Library to carry the CD-ROM at several of its locations.

The Justice by the People curriculum includes four lesson plans aligned with national teaching standards for social studies, civics and language arts so they can be easily integrated into the existing program of study and help teachers reach No Child Left Behind and state curriculum goals. The CD-ROM displays attractive graphics and includes the topics: Making Decisions by Group: The Jury System; A History of Conflict Resolution and the Jury System; Participating in the Jury System; and Preparing for Trial.

The CD-ROM also features the Make Your Case interactive computer-based video game. Make Your Case allows students to control either the plaintiff or defense attorneys in a personal injury trial involving a car and bicyclist. The scenario is played out using professional actors. Players pick from multiple choices at each stage of the trial to proceed. They select evidence for their opening statements and earn points depending on how well they do. They also question witnesses for both sides of the case. A case file provides summaries of the witness depositions, a diagram of the accident, a police report and a tip sheet to prompt players about when they should object. When the trial ends, the students choose what to emphasize in their closing statements. Throughout the trial, they earn additional points by making good decisions for their client.

Bell explained that ABOTAs primary mission is to, Preserve the right to trial by jury. One of the scopes of that mission is to educate people about that constitutional right. We feel the best place to start is in the school systems. Justice by the People is a project of the ABOTA Foundation and the associations chapters. The Foundation is the associations non-profit 501(c)(3) educational arm.