During this project we learned about the internment of the Japanese and the court system to do a mock trial over the constitutionality of the internment. We started the project by researching the reason behind the camps starting with the Pearl Harbor attack the we learned about the Executive Order 9066 which gave the military to have military zones where they could put people in and make them stay there. Next we discussed the exclusion orders that General John L. DeWitt ordered on the West Coast, which ordered anyone that was Japanese or had Japanese ancestry into the military zones. Once we learned the cause of the internment camps we started talking about what it was like in the camps. Then we finally started working on the court case with Korematsu for him avoiding the exclusion orders, and arguing that they were unconstitutional. As a defense lawyer I was defending the United States, to prove the exclusion orders were justified. We researched for evidence that would help our case that dated before 1944 so that the mock trial would be authentic. After we had a good amount of evidence to use for court we met up with our witnesses and discussing questions and answers for the trial, and we also had to come up with cross examination questions for the other teams witnesses and had to guess their answer.
The defense won the trial based on their direct examinations, and their closing statement. They provided a strong argument to their side while making the prosecution seem untrustworthy. In their direct examinations they proved that there was a threat from the Japanese with General DeWitt, by having him read from his Final Report. While the prosecution mainly asked if Biddle was pressured by the war departments to sign off on the exclusion orders. The prosecution gave no evidence that there were no threats by the Japanese while the defense had reports of suspicious behavior and other attacks from the Japanese to prove that the internment camps were necessary.
In the defense's closing statement they went through the system of strict scrutiny of the law. They first start with the government's compelling interest to have the internment camps which was for the security measures. They provide evidence for this in General DeWitt, Stimson, Bendetsen, and Masaoka testimony. They proved that the order was narrowly tailored by only having it be used on Japanese and Japanese-Americans, because the Japanese were the only country to have attacked the United States on our own soil, with spies in Hawaii. Lastly they move on to why it was the most restrictive means possible by using General DeWitt's testimony, that he proposed another way to catch spies but that there was not enough time to have his plan done, and so was rejected making the order the least restrictive means and helping the defense team. While the prosecution used the fact that the people in charge were racist and affected by war hysteria, and used only the testimonies saying that the camps were cruel inside of using strict scrutiny to prove that the camps were unconstitutional.
This project was fun overall, I really enjoyed the preparation for the mock trial. The readings given to us were helpful with finding the theory of the case and helped us find evidence for the actual trial later on. The groups that we were suppose to work with to help our case did not really help with the project, at least for the lawyers. We mostly just went about looking for evidence and then talking to our own witnesses and all we did as a group was make sure that we all knew the theory of the case. For next year I would suggest making all the lawyer go through each others questions and make sure that the trial will tell a very clear story for their side, and doing the same thing for the cross examination.
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