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We will begin reading Just Mercy written by Bryan Stevenson. Each chapter read
requires a response to discussion questions that will be answered in your
class journal. Remember that Journal related assignments have a significant
impact on your grade if not done well and on-time.
Your hand-written answers to questions from Ch. 1-2 are due
1. How did Stevenson’s background prepare him for law school?
2. In the introduction, he discusses his grandmother’s background and
what impact that had on his career choices. What from your own personal
background has influenced your career choices?
3. What famous novel was written in Monroe County, AL, and how is it
relevant to Just Mercy?
4. In what ways ‘Alabama’s economic policies disadvantage the state’s
African American population?
5. Why was Ralph Myers considered to be so trustworthy by the Monroe
County police department?
1. Does your state have Stand Your Ground laws? Do you support them?
2. Stevenson wished he had been more assertive with the police while
they were illegally searching his car. Do you think that would have been
effective? How would you recommend someone respond in a similar situation?
3. Do you think the police officers acted appropriately? How else might
they have approached the situation?
4. Likewise, did their supervisors respond fairly to Stevenson’s
5. How did the senior citizen attending Stevenson’s church lecture earn
his “medals of honor”?
Due February 10th: Your IP Subject should be established and
a preliminary objective outlined in your class journal due ATEOC.
Your hand-written answers to questions from Ch. 3-4 are due
February 17th. In addition to writing the answer (2-3 sentences), quote from
the book/page number the 2 or 3 lines that provide support/evidence of your
1. What is the importance of the 1986 Batson v. Kentucky ruling?
2. How does diversity in a jury affect its deliberations?
3. If you were in Chestnut or Boynton’s position, would you have tried to move
4. Who were some of Walter McMillian’s most important allies?
5. In your opinion, who is most to blame for Walter’s conviction?
6. Walter was both poor and black. Do you think his story would have played
out the same if he had been
Describe the 1982 Supreme Court ruling related to death penalty appeals. What
impact did that have across the country?
2. When do judge overrides increase and for what reason?
3. Define the 2002 Supreme Court case of Atkins v. Virginia.
4. Alabama’s capital statute requires that murder be intentional in order for
a defendant to be eligible for the death penalty. Why is this relevant in
5. Richardson was a U.S. war veteran who suffered tremendous mental trauma
while serving our nation. How should that be factored into his defense?
6. What is “untimely” evidence? Was this a fair ruling, in your opinion, in
Stevenson’s appeals filing?
7. Richardson remarks on the frequent offers of help from the prison staff
during his final day. What do you make of these offers?
8. At this point in Just Mercy, Stevenson’s legal defense center is seriously
underfunded while also highly in demand. Not many people would have the
stamina to continue facing the major challenges he is facing. What impact does
Richardson’s execution have on him? How would you feel in his position?