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Archive for May, 2012

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The Jury System vs. the Lay Judge System

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Under the criminal justice system of the United States a jury system to determine the guilt or innocence of those persons accused of crimes in the country. In Japan, a lay judge system (“saibanin”) is used to accomplish the same function. The two systems have both similarities and differences, which we will look at over the next two weeks.

In conjunction with this, we will watch an American classic courtroom drama called 12 Angry Men which involves a jury composed of 12 men who must decide the fate of a teenaged boy accused of murdering his father.

In preparation for viewing, please read the following PDF files which explain the American jury system and the Japanese lay judge system. Background on the film 12 Angry Men, a profile of the movie’s characters, the movie’s plot summary, and the script from the movie are also provided to help you understand the film better.

 1. Introduction to the Jury System

2a. US Jury System – Living Abroad _ USA

2b. Jury – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3a. Japan introduces lay judge system – UPI.com

3b. Lay judges in Japan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4a. 12 Angry Men (1957 film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4b. 12-Angry.Men-Characters

4c. 12-Angry-Men-Summary

4d. 12-Angry-Men-Script

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The Death Penalty (Capital Punishment)

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Japan and the United States are unique in that we are the only two advanced democracies in the world that permit capital punishment, or the death penalty, as a means of punishment for certain crimes, notably murder. (Treason is also punishable by death in the United States.)

Read the following PDF files which examine the pros (supporting arguments) and the cons (opposing arguments) for the death penalty.

BalancedPolitics.org – Death Penalty (Pros & Cons, Arguments For and Against, Advantages & Disadvantages)

Top 10 Pros and Cons – Death Penalty – ProCon.org

Become familiar with both sides of the argument (pro and con). Next session, we will divide the class into two teams and hold a debate on the issue. Which side of the argument you will take will be determined by lottery just before the debate, so know both sides well. During the debate, you will be allowed to use notes you prepare from the PDF sources, but not the sources themselves. Prepare for the debate yourself by taking brief notes BEFORE class. You will be allowed twenty minutes to organize and prepare with your debate team before we begin.

Below is a PDF file with some general rules and advice on debating that can help you.

HOW TO DEBATE

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The Japanese Political System

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Read the following links describing the political system of Japan:

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http://www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/e_m08_01_08.htm

(Explanation designed for Americans from the Consulate General of Japan – San Francisco)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Japan

(Wikipedia on the politics of Japan)

http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/Japanesepoliticalsystem.html

(Roger Darlington on the Japanese Political System)

Be prepared to explain the various branches of the Japanese government and what each branches roles and responsibilities are.

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In connection with last week’s lesson, we will form groups responsible for making presentations to the class on the various branches of the Japanese Government and comparing and contrasting same with that of the U.S. Government.

Now get to studying!

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The American Political System

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Read the following links describing the political system of the United States:

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/americas/04/us_election/govt_system/html/introduction.stm

(Interactive site from the BBC. Click on the chart’s icons for details)

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http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/Americanpoliticalsystem.html

(Excellent short summary of the US political system)

PDF here:

American political system

http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/Lesson_13_Notes.htm

(Browse around this site if you are interested in a strong foundation in understanding American history and politcs, i.e, “Social Studies” in American primary and secondary schools)

PDF here:

Checks and Balances

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Be prepared to discuss the structure of the United States government and the roles of its various branches.

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*** FINALLY, STUDY THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ADAPTED FROM THE USCIS CITIZENSHIP TEST. THERE WILL BE A QUIZ ON THIS MATERIAL AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT CLASS. ***

USCIS Gov’t Sys. Quiz (Review)

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Uncle Sam says:


 to do your homework.

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