PA 1105: Criminal Justice System

Course Title: Criminal Justice System
Course Number: PA 1105
Credits: 2 semester credits
Prerequisites: Placement in ENG 1108 or grade C or better in ENG 0099 and READ 0093/0094 or instructor or director’s permission.
Recommendations: It is strongly recommended that students take ENG 1108 before or concurrently with this course, PA 1105.
Catalog Description: Introduces the student to the criminal justice system with special emphasis given to Minnesota law and procedure. Topics covered include: the Minnesota Criminal Code, police, attorneys, judges, constitutional rights, rules of evidence, plea bargaining, trials, and sentencing.
Course Objectives/ Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • Introduce constitutional law, and substantive and procedural criminal law.
  • Review and recall crimes and their elements, the criminal court system, and navigation of the court websites.
  • Investigate rights of accused, constitutionality of search warrants, expectations of privacy.
  • Review and interpret the process of arrest including custodial interrogations, charging to indictment under appropriate statutes and rules of criminal procedure.
  • Review and summarize the process of initial appearances, bail hearings, discovery including case law and appropriate statutes, and draft related legal documents.
  • Draft and review notices and motions including defenses, omnibus and pretrial hearings regarding suppression of evidence and other constitutional issues.
  • Analyze and recall how pleas are entered, serialized prosecution, and competency issues including associated rules, statutes, and case law and statutes.
  • Review, discuss and recall the concepts of venue, jurisdiction, and pretrial prejudicial publicity.
  • Prepare and explain the paralegal’s role in preparing for trial and voir dire through final argument with review of the associated rules of criminal procedure and case law.
  • Review and discuss the rules of evidence concerning pretrial issues with associated case law. Explain the paralegal’s role in the preparation for trial including witness control and scheduling issues.
  • Explain and evaluate sentencing guidelines and considerations including departures and social considerations.
  • Review, discuss and recall the ethical considerations for paralegals involved with prosecution, defense and legislative considerations.
Topics Covered:
  1. Introduction to Constitutional Law, and substantive and procedural criminal law. (2 Hours)
  2. Review and recall crimes and their elements, the criminal court system, and navigation of the court websites. (3 Hours)
  3. Review and interpret the process of arrest including custodial interrogations, charging to indictment under appropriate statutes and rules of criminal procedure; conduct group work.(3 Hours)
  4. Investigate rights of accused, constitutionality of search warrants, expectations of privacy. (3 Hours)
  5. Review, discuss and recall the concepts of venue, jurisdiction, and pretrial prejudicial publicity. (1 Hour)
  6. Draft and review notices and motions including defenses, omnibus and pretrial hearings regarding suppressions of evidenced and other constitutional issues. (2 Hours)
  7. Review and summarize the process of initial appearances, bail hearings, discovery including case law and appropriate statutes, and draft related legal documents; conduct group work. (2 Hours)
  8. Prepare and explain the paralegal’s role in preparing for trial from voir dire through final argument with review of the associated rules of criminal procedure and case law; conduct group work.
    (2 Hours)
  9. Review and discuss rules of evidence concerning pretrial through trial issues with associate case law. Explain the paralegal’s role in the preparation for trial including witness control and scheduling issues; conduct group work. (2 Hours)
  10. Analyze and recall how pleas are entered, serialized prosecution, and competency issues including associated rules, statutes, and case law and statutes. (2 Hours)
  11. Explain and evaluate sentencing guidelines and considerations including departures and social considerations. (2 Hours)
  12. Review, discuss and recall the ethical considerations for paralegals involved with prosecution, defense, and legislative considerations.
    (2 Hours)
  13. Other classroom activities:
    Mock preparation for trial or Case presentations (1.5 Hours)
  14. Other classroom activities:
    Drafting complaint, letter, motion exercises or drafting complaint and other pleading exercises and additional case presentations (1.5 Hours)
  15. Quizzes/Exams (3 Hours)

Total Semester Hours: 32 Hours

Course Focus: To provide an overview of the criminal justice system from investigation and arrest through appeal which includes the paralegal perspective.
Outcome Measures: The student may take exam(s) and/or prepare written projects. Students may draft documents related to the practice of criminal law.

Grading of assignments and exams may be on a numerical basis. The final grade will be a letter grade (A-F).