“American Skin” Song Analysis

Students will explore their ideas about fairness in the American criminal justice system and the role of race and ethnicity by analyzing the depiction of the Amadou Diallo shooting in Bruce Springsteen’s song “American Skin (41 Shots).” They will apply newly acquired knowledge about the protections and limits of the Fourth and 14th Amendment and law enforcement challenges to a reevaluation of their ideas about fair and equal treatment by the police.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Elonis v. United States (2015)

Does a conviction of threatening another person under 18 USC §875(c) require proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten? This case summary explores the meanings and standards of proof behind intentions.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Arizona v. Gant (2009)

What must police officers demonstrate when arresting the owner of a vehicle in order to conduct a search of the vehicle without a warrant? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered this question in 2009.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Kentucky v. King (2011)

Does the Emergency Circumstances exception to the warrant requirement apply when police officers create the emergency? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2011.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio

This documentary explores the Fourth Amendment case Mapp v. Ohio in which the Supreme Court ruled that evidence illegally obtained by police is not admissible in state courts. The 1961 case redefined the rights of the accused. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12