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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 405
Course Title: Laws of Criminal Evidence
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of why certain testimony, objects and materials should be admitted or rejected as evidence in criminal trials. Topics include the evolution of the laws of evidence, the trial process, privileges, hearsay, confessions and admissions, pretrial investigation and identification procedures, expert and lay opinion, scientific evidence, character evidence, presumptions, and evidence collection and preservation. Prerequisites: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting course objectives. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

The instructor may also want to consider directing the student to websites containing Criminal Codes and Criminal Cases, such as or other legal sites maintained by governmental or not-for-profit entities.

Introduction to Criminal Evidence and Court Procedure
By Hanley and Robbins (McCutchan)
Criminal Evidence
By Klotter, John C. (Cincinnati Anderson Publishing)
Criminal Evidence
By Kaci, Judy (Copperhouse Publishing)
Introduction to Criminal Evidence
By Walz, Jon R. (Nelson Hall)
Criminal Evidence for the Law Enforcement Officer
By Garland and Stuckey (McGraw-Hill)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Articulate the history and evolution of the law of evidence.
  2. Describe the American criminal trial process.
  3. Explain common legal terminology and methods used by professionals in the criminal justice system
  4. Articulate the reasons why evidence is admitted or excluded in American trials.
  5. Explain the meaning of statutes and Court decisions involving evidentiary issues 
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • History of the laws of evidence
  • Published sources of law
  • The trial process and classification of evidence
  • The trial record
  • Relevance
  • Hearsay
  • Exceptions to the hearsay rule
  • Examination and impeachment of witnesses
  • Self-incrimination
  • Improper identification evidence
  • Unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Confessions and admissions
  • Privileges
  • Burden of proof and substitutes for proof
  • Scientific evidence
  • Opinion evidence
  • Real evidence and demonstrative evidence
  • Evidence collection and storage
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: September 5, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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