Introduction To Criminal Court Systems – cja224 (3 credits)

This course is an introduction and overview of the legal system, the participants, the courtroom process, and post conviction process of the course system. It demonstrates the connection among all participants and how they relate to each other. Additionally, the course covers the history of the court system and the different types of court at the state and federal levels.

This undergraduate-level course is 5 weeks. This course is available to take individually or as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

Court Systems: History, Structure, and Philosophy

  • Explain the history of courts in the United States.
  • Describe the hierarchal structure of criminal courts.
  • Differentiate between the state court systems and the Federal court systems.
  • Describe the Crime Control and Due Process models of criminal justice.
  • Recognize the common law heritage of the American legal system.

Emerging Issues and Challenges

  • Describe differential treatment of women and minorities.
  • Discuss contemporary challenges and emerging issues in the courts.
  • Explain the juvenile court process.
  • Summarize the function of specialized courts.
  • Identify the causes of wrongful conviction.
  • Explain the use of technology in the courtroom.

Participants in the Courtroom

  • Identify the duties, role, and ethics of the prosecutor.
  • Describe examples of ineffective representation of counsel.
  • Compare the various methods of judicial selection.
  • Describe examples of prosecutorial misconduct.
  • Identify the duties, role, and ethics of judges.
  • Describe the role of the defendant in criminal procedures.
  • Identify the duties, role, and ethics of the defense attorney.
  • Describe the role of the victim in criminal procedures.
  • Identify the duties, role, and ethics of jurors.

Criminal Processes: Arrest, Pre-Trial, and Trial

  • Describe the trial process.
  • Review arrest, booking, and initial appearance procedures.
  • Describe the right to bail.
  • Identify types of bail.
  • Compare grand jury and preliminary hearings.
  • Identify rules of discovery.
  • Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of plea bargaining.
  • Define the elements of a crime.
  • Identify legal defenses.

Post-Conviction Process

  • Identify the major sentencing goals or philosophies.
  • Identify the primary types of sanctions.
  • Describe the legal factors in sentencing.
  • Describe alternative sentencing options.
  • Summarize the appellate process.

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