AJ 109: Criminal Court Process

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2022
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: No
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

This course provides an examination and analysis of due process in criminal proceedings from pre-arrest through trial and appeal utilizing statutory law and state constitutional law precedents. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • Identify and describe the stages in the trial process.
  • Identify and critically analyze the concepts of due process as found in the 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments, including right to counsel, bail, jury trial, and due process.
  • Describe the history and application of the exclusionary rule in shaping criminal procedure.
  • Describe application of the right to counsel in a criminal law case.
  • Describe application of the right to a jury trial.

Major Course Content

  1. Law: The Legal Battlefield
    1. What is Law?
    2. The Functions of Law
    3. The Evolution of Disputes
    4. Types of Law
    5. Sociolegal Perspectives and the Law
    6. Theoretical Perspectives of Criminal Court Decision-Making Practices
  2. The Structure of American Courts
    1. Classifying America's Courts
    2. Federal Court Organization
    3. State Courts Organization
  3. The Prosecution
    1. The Adversary System
    2. The Prosecution
  4. The Defense
    1. On Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    2. The Right to Counsel
    3. The Right to a Trial by Jury
    4. The Defense
    5. Interactions Between Prosecutors and Defense Attorney
    6. The Discovery Process
    7. Defense Attorneys and Defenses for Criminal Conduct
  5. Judges
    1. Judges and Their Qualifications
    2. Judicial Training
    3. Judicial Misconduct and Abuses of Discretion
    4. Other Issues with Judicial Behavior
    5. Removing Judges from Office
  6. Juries
    1. The History of Juries
    2. The Development of the Grand Jury
    3. The Development of the Petit Jury
    4. The Jury Selection Process
    5. The Elimination of Jurors
    6. Jury Consultants and Scientific Jury Selection
    7. Jury Size
    8. Jury Sequestration
    9. Jury Decision Making and Voting
    10. Jury Verdicts
    11. Jury Nullification
    12. Jury and Juror Misconduct
  7. Pretrial Procedures and the Trial Process
    1. Arrest and Booking
    2. Initial Appearance
    3. The Right to Bail
    4. Bail Bondsmen and Bonding Companies
    5. Competing Goals of Bail
    6. Other Forms of Pretrial Release 
    7. Bounty Hunters
    8. Preliminary Hearings
    9. Trial Process and Procedures
    10. Bench Trials and Jury Trials Contrasted
    11. The Trial Process
    12. Jury Deliberations
    13. The Verdict and its Aftermath
  8. Pretrial Procedures: Plea Bargaining 
    1. Plea Bargaining: Negotiated Guilty Pleas
    2. Types of Guilty Plea Bargaining
    3. The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining
    4. Why is Plea Bargaining Banned in Some Jurisdictions?
    5. Judicial Instructions for Accepting Guilty Pleas and Rights Waivers
    6. Sentencing Systems and Plea Bargaining
  9. Sentencing Goals and Structure
    1. Functions and Goals of Sentencing
    2. Reintegration
    3. Forms of Sentencing
    4. Habitual Offender Statues and Truth-in-Sentencing Laws
  10. Judicial Sentencing Options, Sentencing Disparities, and Appeals
    1. Judicial Options at Sentencing
    2. The Sentencing Hearing
    3. The Presentence Investigation Report (PSI): Contents and Functions
    4. Imposing the Sentence
    5. Sentencing Disparities
    6. Appeals of Sentences
  11. The Juvenile Justice System: Juvenile Rights and Case Processing
    1. Delinquency, Juvenile Delinquents, and Status Offenders
    2. The Jurisdiction of Juvenile Courts
    3. Juvenile Court History
    4. The Juvenile Justice Process
    5. Juvenile Rights and Standards of Proof
    6. Variations in Criminal and Juvenile Court Processing
  12. Juvenile Courts: Adjudication and Disposition
    1. Adjudicatory Proceedings
    2. Transfers, Waivers, and Certifications
    3. Criminal Court Processing of Juvenile Offenders
    4. Blended Sentencing Statutes and the Get-Tough Movement
    5. Teen Courts
    6. Trends and Implications for Juvenile Offenders
  13. Diversion, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Specialty Courts
    1. Decriminalization, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Diversion, and Restorative Justice: Exploring Alternatives to Criminal Prosecution
    2. Impartial Arbiters and Their Qualifications
    3. Victim Participation and Input
    4. Pretrial Diversion
    5. Other Noncriminal or Criminal Sanctions
    6. Specialty Courts

  14. Courts , Media, and the Litigation Explosion

         a.  Trials and the Court of Public Opinion

         b. History of the Media and the Courts

         c. Current Status of Media Access to the Courts

         d. Pretrial Publicity

         e. What Types of Information Do Potential Jurors Consider Prejudicial

         f. How to Minimize the Effects of Pretrial Publicity

         g. The Litigation Explosion

         h. Torts

         i. Arguments for Tort Reform

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Review contemporary appellate case decisions posted on the California Courts and U.S. Supreme Court websites
True crime novels

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

A three to five page written report in APA format identifying issues in a criminal law appellate case and the legal rationale for upholding or overturning the case is prepared.
An analysis of an appellate case identifying potential witnesses and their credibility or areas of impeachment is completed using a technical writing format.

Examples of Outside Assignments

Review assigned appellate criminal law case, analyze issues on appeal, and prepare a written report

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture