Essential Question

Examine the rights of criminals in the American Justice System.


The American Judicial system exists to protect the rights of all citizens guaranteed under the Constitution and Amendments. In fact, several amendments were created specifically to ensure that citizens are treated fairly when accused of a crime. However, once a person is convicted, the amount of access to rights they once had quickly diminishes. There has been some debate that the 13th Amendment and our current prison system have created a new form of slavery. In order to support or counter that argument, it is important to understand the legal system and its definitions of crime.

Today’s Internet Exploration requires finding real examples in the news of American levels of crime, enforced by the 4th, 5th, and 13th amendments. Find and link to a news article in print or video for 5 of the following types of criminal classifications. Include 1-2 sentences briefly explaining the crime along with the link:

  1. Infraction
  2. Misdemeanor
  3. Felony
  4. Aggravating Circumstances
  5. Mitigating Circumstances
  6. 1st Degree Murder
  7. 2nd Degree Murder
  8. Manslaughter
  9. Justifiable Homicide


  1. Correct Title
  2. Featured Image

Jump Start


Winona Ryder was convicted of stealing 5,500 dollars worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue, the amount enough to warrant charges of grand theft.

NY Times: Winona Ryder Convicted