Criminal Justice / Criminal Law Syllabus

Criminal Law / Criminal Justice Syllabus

Required text: Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction 12th Edition, Frank Schmalleger

First assignment: 
  1. List 4 important people (positions) in the courtroom and their roles:, if links don’t work, google any four of the following terms: judge, prosecutor, bailiff, defense attorney, plaintiff, defendant, court reporter, jury.


  1. What are the steps in a criminal case? Describe them all in your own words: (this link may or may not work, you can complete the assignment with the first link).


  1. Describe the role of a prosecutor (district attorney), federal prosecutor, and public defenders and the link doesn’t work, google the terms (prosecutor, federal prosecutor, public defenders).

Chapter Presentations will occur every Thurs. Choose Chapter and partners the first week of class.

Choose: Chapter Presentations

Every Friday.  Bring the article to class and be prepared to discuss it. Print ahead of time. It is due at the start of class. 
All  homework must be typed.


The Instructional Unit has identified the following lifelong/workplace skills that are the foundation for your course of study: Written and Oral Communication, Critical Inquiry, Interpersonal Responsibility, Technology, and Aesthetic Sensibility. Of these skills, this course will focus on all of them in some form.



Successful students will have shown through in-class exercises and specific course assignments the ability to pursue and retain knowledge, comprehend the various significant levels of acquired knowledge (analyzing and identifying their various components), evaluate the significance of that knowledge, synthesize ideas from multiple sources, and apply what is learned to work and life situations.



Through assigned readings, class participation, writing assignments, projects, dramatizations, debates and examination, the student will be given the opportunity to:

1. Analyze substantive criminal law concepts under a given set of facts a. Identify the basic concepts of substantive criminal law. 2. Compare and contrast the civil law system from the criminal law system 3. Examine the elements of a crime. a. Identify the actus reus, and mens rea that constitute a crime b. Apply the role of common law to criminal acts and the creation of Criminal Law 4. Debate the concept of balancing personal freedoms with the need for public order 5. Illustrate legitimate criminal defenses as applied to a given case

Course Schedule:

Date: Assignment: Reading:

Overview of Course

What is criminal justice? Ch 1

Overview of Criminal Justice System, Crime

in the United States / Theories of Crime

The Crime Picture Chpt 2

CJ Issues Chpt 2


Criminal Law Chpt. 3

Policing Chpt 4


Policing Legal Aspects Chpt 5

Policing: Issues and Challenges Chpt 6

The Courts Chpt 7

Courtroom Work Group and Trial Chpt 8

Mock Trial

Sentencing Chpt 9

Corrections Chpt 10

Prisons and Jails, Prison Life Chpt 11 and 12

Juvenile Justice and Review Chpt 13


Final (Multiple choice and essay type)


The above course outline can be altered during the semester.




CLASS POLICIES: I have high academic expectations of all my students. I will assist you in whatever way I can to help you be your best. How you perform in this class is very important. You are studying a career where every action is scrutinized by someone else. Every assignment is important.


Court Case: You will follow an ongoing criminal case in the news for at least three weeks (if you are having difficulty finding a current case, you can do a historic case within last several years, see me first). You will report back to the class on your observations. The required report will be typed, double-spaced, spelling and grammar-checked, and stapled. It should be at least 2 pages long and contain information on the type of case observed, presiding Judge’s name and location of the courthouse (jurisdiction), the actual details of the case involved, and your observations on the way the case was handled by the courtroom workgroup. Consider the accused, the prosecutor, defendant, demographics, lawyer / public defendant. Use the electronic library and search engines.


All papers should be typed using 12 Font- Times Roman or Arial and double spaced. Use APA format. Pamphlets can be obtained from the library or the Writing Lab or to see a sample.



Each of the questions assigned is very important to your understanding of this class. A strong knowledge of the material will assist you in any legal career you embark on. Spend your time wisely and apply yourself to the material and you will do well. Each assignment has specific grading values assigned to them. It is important that you complete each one as they are due.


If you miss more than three classes, your grade will suffer tremendously. When you are not here you are not able to participate.

 Assignments are due on its due date. Pay attention to the submittal dates! If you have any questions ask me for clarification!

 All assignments should be double-spaced typed in Times New Roman or Arial and 12 font with a cover page and a page for references.


DO NOT Plagiarize. If you do, you will be referred to the Social Studies Coordinator.

Grading Criteria: Assessments (Quizzes, Projects): 50%

Homework (Court Case): 15%

Class Participation, Class Presentations (35%)