Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Course Number: CRIMLJUS 6330
Course Name: Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Online)
Course Description:    A study of case law defining constitutional constraints on police behavior in the areas of arrest, search and seizure, interrogation, identification and investigation; rules on the exclusion of illegally seized evidence.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Define the concepts of seizure, search, reasonableness and probable cause through U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning the Fourth Amendment.
  • Define "custody" and "interrogation" through U.S. Supreme Court cases interpreting the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
  • Explain how the concept of due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments has been defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in identification and investigation procedures.
  • Identify the view of the U.S. Supreme Court majority regarding the proper role of courts in supervising police behavior in the 1960s, the 1980s, and the present.
  • Identify the holdings of the U.S. Supreme Court in key criminal procedure cases.
  • Distinguish the reasoning of dissenters from that of the majority in key criminal procedure cases.
  • Locate recent lower court cases in which key Supreme Court cases have been used as precedent.
  • Using a standard briefing format, analyze any assigned appeals court case.
  • Define the "new federalism" and appraise its effect on workers in the criminal justice system.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1: Defining Search and Seizure
The first part of the course looks briefly at the history and philosophy of the Fourth Amendment, and then takes a close look at the definitions of search, seizure, probable cause, and reasonableness that have evolved during the work of two groups of justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, roughly labeled "the Warren Court" and "the Rehnquist Court."

Unit 2: Specifics of Search and Seizure Law
While Unit 1 was largely devoted to definitions of broad philosophical concepts, Unit 2 is more pragmatic, defining the limits of various kinds of law enforcement activities such as search warrant execution and the use of roadblocks to find drunk drivers.

Unit 3: Due Process and the Individual
Several topics are covered in this final unit. Due process regarding searches for other than criminal purposes (special-needs searches), interrogation, identification, and use of illegally seized evidence in criminal proceedings are discussed.

In Unit 3, we examine several of the situations in which people may feel the government: on-the-job drug screening, protection against being identified by a witness as the perpetrator of a crime that one did not commit.

Grading Information

Assignments include the following, and account for the percentages of final course grade indicated.

1. Textbook readings as given on the assignment calendar and briefs of assigned cases.

  • Each student will be required to brief a minimum of four cases in addition to the original brief in unit 1.   
  • 100 points each

2. One research assignment of research paper at graduate level with a topic agreed by instructor     

  • 100 points

3. Small group assignments:

  • Criminal Procedure (facts of life): Explain to a young person what the Fourth Amendment might mean to him or her.
  • Training Manual: Create a section of a training manual for new officers that promotes instant recognition of proper use of search warrant exceptions such as plain view, stop-and-frisk, search incident to arrest, and emergency searches.
  • Criminal Procedure Philosophy: Compose a description of the criminal procedure philosophy of one twentieth-century Supreme Court justice. Consider the reasoning expressed in at least five of his or her judicial opinions, in either the majority or the dissent.   
  • Caveat: we may decide to change the role of the groups depending on the size of the class.

4. Three OPTIONAL examinations, the last of which will be a comprehensive final exam.

  • The examinations are a combination of short-answer questions designed to cover the readings and material presented in the three course units.
  • The purpose of each examination is to test your complete understanding and application of the unit's material.
  • The examinations will require you to respond to the short-answer questions by writing a one- to two-paragraph answer.
  • The examinations are to be completed in the Quizzes area of the course by the due dates given in the Course Calendar.      
Exam 1 -- Optional Reality Czech, self evaluation     Review
Exam 2 -- Optional Reality Czech, self evaluation     Review
Exam 3 -- Optional Reality Czech, self evaluation     Review

5. Participation in discussion with other class members in response to lesson discussion questions

  • 100 points
Grading Scale
A 90% - 100%
B 80% - 89%
C 70% - 79%
D 60% - 69%
F 0% - 59%


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