The ConstitutionCivil RightsThe JudiciaryAmerican GovernmentPublic OpinionCriminal Justice

Two Trials, Two Verdicts

Posted on in The Constitution · Civil Rights · The Judiciary · American Government · Public Opinion · Criminal Justice

Two polarizing court cases were decided within days of each other. In Georgia, a nearly all-white jury found three men guilty in the murder of Ahmad Arbery. Three co-defendants were found guilty of charges ranging from malice murder to false imprisonment and could face life in prison. 

In early 2020, the defendants pursued Arbery, while armed and in pickup trucks, as he jogged through a suburban Georgia neighborhood leading to a deadly confrontation. The trial garnered worldwide attention and put the state’s citizen’s arrest and stand your ground laws under increased scrutiny.

Why did the video taken by the defendants play such an important role?

INSTRUCTORS: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.


News Articles:

The uncomfortable truths hidden inside the Ahmaud Arbery verdict



What were the charges, what could be the sentences in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery?

USA Today


3 men found guilty of felony murder and other crimes in fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

NBC News


Lawyers left racism out of the trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Here’s why.



News Articles (Analyses):

Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict: Travis McMichael guilty on all counts

Fox News


Here’s what legal experts say helped acquit Kyle Rittenhouse



Acquitted and in demand, Rittenhouse ponders what’s next

Associated Press


Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal sparks protests across US

ABC News



Writing: Explain why the prosecution in Georgia was successful in securing a conviction of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers where others, in similar cases, have failed. Did the prosecution in the Rittenhouse trial mishandle the case?  

Debate: Should ordinary people have the power to make citizen’s arrests or should it be limited to professional law enforcement?  

Poll: Do open carry and stand your ground laws encourage vigilante justice?  

Short Answer: Describe the role that video played in the case of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse?


How many different prosecutors took the lead in Ahmaud Arbery murder case?

a. six

b. fifteen

c. two

d. four

How did Georgia lawmakers respond to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery?

a. they repealed the stand your ground law

b. they significantly curtailed gun rights in the state

c. they dramatically weakened the citizen’s arrest law

d. they sought pardons for the men accused of killing him

Wisconsin law says that someone acting in self-defense does not have a duty to ______.

a. retreat

b. offer first aid

c. fire a warning shot

d. take firearm training

The killing of Ahmaud Arbery occurred after the killing of George Floyd. (T/F)

Kyle Rittenhouse could still face civil lawsuits for the death of two people at his hands in Kenosha. (T/F)

Kyle Rittenhouse had a much-publicized meeting with President Biden. (T/F)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *