Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Public History and
2011 Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
*This case was chosen by staff within the judicial branch as a useful tool to teach an interesting aspect of the law. Its selection has no bearing on how the case will ultimately be decided. Since the members of the court did not participate in the preparation of the lesson plan, the issues raised in it will not necessarily be addressed in the oral argument.
This lesson is based on the case of Ritter v. Stanton, but it can also be used as a stand-alone lesson on the constitutional right to trial by jury. The case summary, the briefs of the appellants (Ritter and Kroger Co.) and the appellees (Jerry and Ruth Stanton), and the one-hour webcast of the November 14, 2001 oral argument before the Indiana Supreme Court for Ritter v. Stanton are all available on-line here.
A separate lesson, giving an overview of the structure of Indiana's court system, is also available to provide students with general information about how Indiana courts works from the Courts in the Classroom homepage.
A glossary of legal terms used in this and other Courts in the Classroom lesson plans is available on-line as well.
At the end of this lesson students should be able to:
Conduct a brainstorming session with students about the concept of trial by jury. Ask them, for example, what they think it means. Ask them to think about what courts would be like without juries. Ask if any students' parents have served on a jury.
Invite a local judge, prosecutor or attorney to visit your classroom; the Indiana State Bar Association and local bar associations are great resources for locating attorneys who are interested in working with schools. Consider taking your students to visit the local courthouse to tour a courtroom; you might even have the opportunity to sit in on part of a trial.
U.S. Government.1.13: Examine fundamental documents in the American political tradition..., the United States Constitution,...the Indiana Constitutions of 1816 and 1851 to identify key ideas regarding the nature of limited government and the protection of individual rights.
U.S. Government.3.15: Compare core documents associated with the protection of individual rights, including the Northwest Ordinance, the Bill of Rights, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Article I of the Indiana Constitution.
U.S. Government.4.11: Use a variety of information sources, including electronic media, to gather information about the impact of American ides about democracy and individual rights in other areas of the world.
This lesson plan was written by Elizabeth R. Osborn, Special Assistant to the Chief Justice for Court History and Public Education. If you have any questions about this lesson, or ORAL ARGUMENTS ONLINE, feel free to contact her at (317) 233-8682 or elizabeth.osborn@courts.IN.gov.