Christopher Columbus has just been arrested of Killing the Native population of Hispaniola and indirectly the native peoples of the Americas. The accusations are very serious and he may face the death penalty. The prosecution seems to have a very strong case and after 500 years have decided to take the case to trial. They have seen how diseases from Columbus’ crew played a huge role in the genocide of a whole group of people. They also believe Columbus had the intention to rob and steal from the native population.
He has hired the best lawyers in town and they happen to be here in the classroom. They will attempt to show that Columbus was just doing his job as ordered by the King and Queen of Spain. He got lost on his way to India and he did what anyone else would have done.
The prosecution has natives who have survived and will testify as witnesses. The prosecution will coach and train the witnesses so that they are convincing to the jury that Columbus was a murderer. The prosecution also has a history expert to explain his evidence that may prove the prosecution’s case. They will be expected to explain to the jury what happened following Columbus’ arrival in the new world.
The defense also has a list of witnesses. The first is his own crewmen. They sailed with Columbus risking everything in pursuit of fame and fortune. In sum, they are Columbus’ boys and willing to do anything to beat the case. In addition King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain are also going to be testifying. They will explain the nature of the trip, why they paid Columbus to take the trip, and other revealing questions which could decide the outcome of the case.
I will be the judge and I run a tight ship! You are expected to be on your best behavior while court is in session to help me I have my bailiff.
The most important part of the trial is the jury. This is a group of odd number people who actually decides the case. While the judge conducts the courtroom he does not make any of the decisions regarding the outcome. It is important for the jury and both sides to remember that according to the United States legal system Christopher Columbus is innocent until proven guilty! After the proceedings the jury will meet and decide Columbus’s fate and if he is found guilty they will also be responsible for his penalty.
Over the next few days you will be working individually and in groups to arrange a strategy. The grade will be for participation and good behavior may result in a rise in you participation grade. I also expect good attendance.