Upholding the rule of law is a fundamental principle of a democracy. Doing so protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of the government over its citizens.
Twenty years ago, Lindy Lou Wells Isonhood believed she was upholding the rule of law by serving on a jury. At the conclusion of the trial, a capital murder case, the jury handed down a death sentence to Bobby Wilcher, a Mississippi man convicted of a double homicide. Since then, Lindy has lived with an unbearable feeling of guilt over her decision. Determined to understand her remorse, Lindy embarks on a road trip across Mississippi to find her fellow jurors. A conservative former federal police officer and religious woman from the South, Lindy manages to tackle this oft-politicized topic with humor, an open mind and sincere curiosity.
In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to analyze, consider and respectfully discuss different perspectives on the death penalty by listening to Lindy’s conversations with her fellow jurors, conducting independent research and reflecting on their own beliefs. Students will consider the moral, ethical and constitutional arguments used by others to support or oppose the death penalty. Then, they will articulate their own view by writing a “This I Believe” essay.