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 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.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop skills necessary to carefully read, analyze, synthesize, and communicate with regard to criminal law.
- Develop a general understanding of constitutional, common law, and statutory principles of criminal law and the premises and policies on which they are based.
- Develop the ability to apply principles of criminal law.
- Recall and understand the key constitutional and common law principles of criminal procedure and the premises and policies on which they are based.
- Analyze factual scenarios and properly evaluate whether police officers or other government agents have acted in accordance with the rules and principles of criminal procedure.
- Discuss rules and principles of criminal procedure in a manner that reflects professional competence.
- Evaluate and critique, from a Christian perspective, theories about how government should deal with persons suspected of crimes.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations.
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.
Discussion Board forums (3)
Discussion boards are collaborate learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in three Discussion Board Forums. 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 Reviews (2)
In Modules/Weeks 3 and 6, the student should submit a brief essay discussing a current news article that pertains to a trial related to criminal practice or procedure. 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 Exercise (1)
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.
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/week.
Learning Lab (1)
The student will complete the criminal law learning lab in Module 8. This learning lab simulates a criminal law case from the beginning of the intake process. The student will watch the learning lab video presentations and take detailed notes and answer all learning lab questions in the module.
Memorandum of Law (1)
The student will complete a memorandum of law based on the scenario in the learning lab. The memorandum of law will provide objective analysis of the factual scenario presented in the learning lab.