High School Students
Teaching About Due Process
Bill's Bad Day
( download this handout as a word document)
As he sits in his living room one afternoon, Bill encounters a string of problems. His teenage son is sent home from school, suspended for three days. There is no note or reason given for the suspension.
The police knock at the door, wanting to search his house. They don't have a warrant.
An Internal Revenue Service Agent appears, wanting to ask him questions about his income tax deductions last year.
A social worker from the family protection service also arrives, looking for Bill's eight year old daughter who does not attend school. The social worker wants to remove the daughter from the home and place her temporarily in shelter care. Bill's wife provides home schooling to the daughter.
In the mail, Bill receives three letters. The first, from the state government, informs him that the state is building a highway where his house is located. It plans to take it and give Bill $100,000, half of what Bill thinks it is worth. The second, from his employer, the city government, notifies him that he is fired from his job, due to a recent conviction for passing bad checks. Bill has never been arrested for anything, let alone convicted. The third letter, from the social security office, states that it is stopping the disability benefits his wife has been receiving, without giving reasons.
He picks up the paper and reads about the case of a convicted murderer, in which the jury is considering a death sentence.
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