PLST 230 Criminal Practice and Procedures

This course will introduce the general principles, sources, and purpose of criminal law, including the following doctrinal issues that apply to crimes in general: the act requirement, the mens rea requirement, causation, liability for attempted crimes, accomplice liability, defenses, and criminal code interpretation. The course will also introduce the limitations imposed on law enforcement activities by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The course generally considers the criminal justice process from investigation through arrest and initial court appearance.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Course Guide

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For anyone who desires to work in the paralegal field, knowledge of criminal law and procedure is vital. Whether the goal is to work for a prosecutor or a criminal defense firm, students must understand the principles of criminal law and procedure, including Constitutional guarantees. Likewise, students seeking to enter this field must gain the necessary skills required in a law office, including law office management, client interaction, and preparation of memos, briefs, and other documents.

Textbook readings and lecture presentations.

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Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in three Discussions. The student will post his or her original thread of 300 words or more. The student must reply to at least two peers’ threads in 150 words or more.

News Article Review Assignments (2)

The student will have two News Article Review Assignments which will involve submitting a brief essay discussing a current news article. News articles used for this assignment should come from the newspaper, a news program, or some other reputable news source (either traditional or online). Each essay should be no less than one page and no more than two full pages double-spaced with 12-point font and one-inch margins. Full citations for the articles should be provided as endnotes, and, if possible, the article itself should be included with the submission (articles do not count towards the total number of pages). Submissions over two pages will receive a reduction in points.

Elements of Crime Assignment

The student will be given a factual scenario and a criminal law statute. The student will break the criminal law statute into distinct elements and apply the criminal law statute to the factual scenario.

Quizzes (7)

The student will take seven Mindtap quizzes over the textbook readings throughout the term. Each will be 22 questions. They will be open-book/open-notes, and the student will have 60 minutes to complete the quiz. These will be due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module.

Criminal Law Memorandum of Law Assignment

The student will complete a memorandum of law based on the provided scenario. The memorandum of law will provide objective analysis of the scenario.

Criminal Law Statute Assignment

The student will be given a set of facts and a criminal law statute. The student will apply the given set of facts to the criminal law statute and determine if the facts would support a criminal law charge or not.

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