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Online classes

Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

CJAD 405: Laws Of Criminal Evidence

Course 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 investigations and identification procedures, expert and lay opinion, scientific evidence, character evidence, presumptions, and evidence collection and preservation.

Prerequisite: ENGL 112 and junior standing

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Ingram, J. L. . Criminal Evidence. 12th ed.. New York: Routledge, 2015.
    • ISBN- 978-0-323-29458-4

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

Welcome to Laws of Criminal Evidence (CJAD 405), online!  You are about to embark on a learning experience that will change the way you may think about criminal justice and the pursuit of the truth in the courtroom.  The course materials and guidance of the instructor will facilitate lively discussions of the legal philosophy of the laws of evidence. Your work on the weekly “Nuts-and-Bolts” assignments, problem-solving scenarios, and a case brief, coupled with participation in weekly discussions and regular feedback from the instructor will give you a solid understanding of the evidentiary rules and principles that control what evidence may be considered by the jury in determining that justice is done. You will begin to watch courtroom drama on TV and the theater with greater discernment, and you will observe life’s drama in our nation’s real courtrooms with much greater appreciation and understanding from the perspectives of the key players involved in the prosecution and defense of a criminal case.

This class is designed for self-motivated students who have at least junior standing. The course encompasses the study of the salient and most important of the laws and rules of evidence in state and federal courts.  This is an upper level course; you should be prepared to work hard and diligently to master the subject matter and get the most from the course.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


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.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 160 16%
Quizzes (2) 120 12%
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence (8) 200 20%
Problem Solving Fact Scenario (2) 60 6%
Case Brief (1) 30 3%
Midterm Exam (1) 210 21%
Final Exam (1) 220 22%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 20 Thursday/Friday
Introduction Discussion -- Sunday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 1 25
Syllabus Quiz --
Plagiarism Quiz --
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 20 Wednesday/Friday
Case Brief 1 30 Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 2 25 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 20 Wednesday/Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 3 25 Sunday
Quiz 1 60
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 20 Wednesday/Friday
Problem Solving Fact Scenario 1 30 Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 4 25 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 20 Wednesday/Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 5 25 Sunday
Midterm Exam 210
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 20 Wednesday/Friday
Problem Solving Fact Scenario 2 30 Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 6 25 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 20 Wednesday/Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 7 25 Sunday
Quiz 2 60
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 20 Wednesday/Friday
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 8 25 Saturday
Final Exam 220
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week you will participate in one graded discussion. The initial post is due by 11:59 pm Wednesday, with the exception of the first week when it is due on Thursday. At least one response post to a classmate or instructor is due by 11:59 pm Friday.

In order to receive credit, all of your posts must be substantive. You must share your own thoughts and analysis. In this regard, special care must be taken for follow-up posts. Merely following up with a response such as “I agree with you,” or any other such insignificant response, will receive no credit.

The Discussion threads may be submitted in informal writing style. Although deductions are not taken for minor grammatical errors, minor spelling errors, and minor case-sensitive errors, you must write your posts with sufficient clarity and organization so that your posts can be understood clearly by the instructor and by your classmates. Grading rubrics will be available within the course.


Nuts and Bolts of Evidence

This assignment will require you to select and write responses to 5 posted questions covering the laws of evidence. This is a formal writing assignment and correct grammar and citing of references is required. You may use either APA, MLA, or Chicago style for this assignment. The writing should be mainly composed of your own words and thoughts, without excessive quotations from sources. The use of recycled material produced for other courses is not allowed. A grading rubric will be available for further guidance.


Problem Solving Fact Scenario

These assignments require you to supply answers to questions about a provided scenario that places you in the role of investigator, prosecutor, or defense counsel. You must analyze the evidence provided and support or object to evidence, supporting your analysis. These are formal writing assignments but they do not require you to cite sources.



Case Brief

This assignment gives you an opportunity to practice writing case briefings, and will require you to thoroughly study a case. Through this process you will determine the case’s essential facts and issue, the court’s decision and reasoning, and the resulting rule of law. See the course Content area for instructions.


Quizzes

There are two quizzes in the course composed of multiple-choice questions. Each quiz is worth 60 points and you will be allowed 40 minutes to take it. See the Content area for additional details.

Midterm and Final Exams

There is a Midterm Exam that covers material studied in Weeks 1-4 of the course. It is a multiple-choice format and is timed at 90 minutes. It is worth 210 points.

The Final Exam covers material covers material studied in Weeks 5-8 of the course. It is a multiple-choice format that also includes 2 essay questions. It is timed at 150 minutes. It is worth 220 points.

Neither exam requires the use of a proctor.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: The Historical Development of the Laws of Criminal Evidence
Readings
  • Ingram: Chapters 1, 2, 3, & 4 and the Glossary
  • Ingram: Federal Rules of Evidence 101, 102, 103, 401, 402, 403, and 611 (All applicable Federal Rules of Evidence are found in Appendix I of the class text.)
  • Lecture: History of Criminal Evidence Laws and Admissibility Formula
  • Video: Civil Law Legal System
Note: Lectures, videos and any additional learning materials listed in the Readings sections will always be provided in the course Content area.
Discussion 1
A simple formula may be used to determine the admissibility of evidence:

 Admissible Evidence = Authenticity + Relevancy + Competency. 

Explain what is meant by authenticity, relevancy, and competency.  Explain how evidence may be relevant and authentic, but may not be admissible because of Constitutional concerns that render the evidence incompetent.
Introduction Discussion
Please introduce yourself to the instructor and to your classmates. This is  an ungraded assignment but do participate; we need to get to know each other. 
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 1

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox. See the Content area for complete instructions. 

Important! You must take the Syllabus Quiz, review the plagiarism tutorial AND take the plagiarism quiz before you will be able to submit the Nuts and Bolts of Evidence assignment this week. All must be completed by the 11:59 pm due date Sunday. 

Syllabus Quiz

Although no grade is assigned, this test on the syllabus and general assignment instructions are part of the requirements to submit any written  assignments to their respective dropboxes.

  • The self-test on the syllabus and documents in the General Assignment Instructions module of the course Content area is intended to alert the student to the key administrative requirements for the course.
  • This must be taken in Week 1 prior to your submitting your first written assignment, i.e. the Nuts and Bolts of Evidence Course for Week 1.  It opens at 12:01 AM on Monday of Week 1 of the class and closes at 11:59 PM on Sunday of Week 1 of the course. The time limit allowed is 60 minutes.

 You may refer to your syllabus and course as much as you desire during the test.  

Plagiarism Quiz

Study the Plagiarism Tutorial and take the Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz prior to submitting your first Nuts and Bolts assignment. It will help you understand the plagiarism issues that can arise in academic work.  The quiz contains ten scenarios for consideration.

  • There is no time limit
  • You must read the tutorial AND take the quiz prior to submitting your Nuts and Bolts of Evidence assignment in Week 1 (its deadline is 11:59 pm on Sunday of the first week).
  • You may retake the quiz as many times as you desire before the deadline
Week 2: Evidentiary Elements, Procedures, and Roles of Parties and Court Officials in Criminal and Civil Trials and Appeals
Readings
 
  • Ingram: Chapters 5 & 6
  • Ingram: Federal Rules of Evidence 104, 201, 301, 404, 406, and 410 found in Appendix I of the text. Review Rules 401 and 403.
  • Lecture: The Evidentiary Elements, Procedures, Roles of Parties and Court Officials in Criminal and Civil Trials and Appeals
  • Full case brief sample
  • Video: Prosecutorial Misconduct 
Discussion 2
Our system of justice places the burden of proof of guilt upon the prosecution. The burden never shifts to the defense to prove innocence. Are there some instances where you believe that the burden of proof should shift to the defense to prove the innocence of the defendant?
Case Brief 1
You will thoroughly study a given legal case and write a case brief in a standardized format. See the course Content area for complete instructions and a sample case brief.
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 2

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox. See the course Content area for complete instructions.

Week 3: Do Character Witnesses, Courtroom Demonstrations, Jury Views, and Physical and Documentary Evidence Really Make a Difference In The Outcome of a Trial?
Readings
  • Ingram: Chapters 7, 13, & 14
  • Ingram: Federal Rules of Evidence  405, 412, 901, and 1001 through 1007 found in Appendix I of the text. Review Rules 401, 404, 406, and 410.
  • Lecture: Do Character Witnesses, Courtroom Demonstrations, Jury Views, and Physical and Documentary Evidence Really make a Difference in the Outcome of a Trial?
  • Video: Chain of Custody
Discussion 3
Specific and relevant character traits of the accused may be introduced into evidence by the defense in federal courts to prove that the accused acted in accordance with those traits.  For instance, an accused who is charged with assault may introduce evidence in the form of opinion or reputation evidence to prove that the accused is a peaceful person, and, therefore, would not have committed the assault charged. How much weight do you believe that such evidence should have in determining whether the accused is guilty or not guilty? Explain your position.
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 3

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox.  See the Content area for complete instructions. 

Quiz 1

Complete this 20 question multiple choice quiz before the due date and time. You will have 40 minutes to complete it. The quiz covers material from Weeks 1 and 2 only (chapters 1-6).

Week 4: The Adversarial Approach to Witness Examination and Using Shortcuts to Enhance Efficiency in the Trial Process
Readings

  • Ingram: Chapters 8 & 9
  • Ingram:Federal Rules of Evidence 601 through 603, 605 through 609, 612 and 613. Review Rules 412 and 611
  • Lecture: The Adversarial Approach to Witness Examination and Using Shortcuts to Enhance Efficiency in the Trial Process
  • Video: The Child Witness
  • Video: The Federal Rape Shield Laws Part I
  • Video: The Federal Rape Shield Laws Part II
Discussion 4
Assume you are the judge in a criminal trial. A five-year-old child is called to the stand. Discuss what you as the judge might do to ensure that the child witness is “competent” to testify.
Problem Solving Fact Scenario 1

This assignment will place you in the role of investigator, prosecutor or defense counsel. This scenario has two parts; complete both as directed in the course Content area. Submit the assignment to its respective assignment dropbox. 

Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 4

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox. See the Content area for complete instructions. 

Week 5: Privileges, Expert, and Lay Opinion
Readings

  • Ingram: Chapters 10 & 11
  • Ingram: Federal Rules of Evidence 701 through 705, and 801 through 806
  • Lecture: Privileges, Expert, and Lay Opinion
Discussion 5

Privileges tend to limit evidence, even though the evidence is relevant and authentic. Assume that a member of a church congregation sought out his pastor to discuss how he could save his soul. The pastor asked for his specific concerns, at which point the church member told the pastor that he had murdered a child whom he abducted. He then proceeded to tell the pastor of the specifics of the crime.

Under these circumstances, do you believe that the clergyman-penitent privilege serves any needs of society? Is there still a need for such a privilege? Is justice served if the privilege is permitted to exclude the evidence of the admissions that the church member made to the pastor?
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 5

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox. See the course Content area for complete instructions. 

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and is worth 210 points. You will have 90 minutes to complete it. The exam covers material studied in weeks 1-4 (chapters 1-9 and 13-14.) The exam will be available on Wednesday and closes at 11:50 pm Sunday. Be sure that you allow adequate time to complete it before the closing time. 

Week 6: The Proper Place for Expert Opinions and Hearsay Evidence in a Criminal Trial
Readings
  • Ingram: Chapters 12 and 15, review chapter 11
  • Ingram: Federal Rules of Evidence 706, review rules 701 through 705 and 801 through 806.
  • Lecture: Hearsay and Lay Testimony
  • Video: Statements not Hearsay
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Discussion 6

Excited utterances are exceptions to the hearsay rule. The rationale for allowing excited utterances into evidence is that such utterances, while made in the midst of a startling event, would be reliable because there is no time to fabricate a false response to the event. Do you agree with this rationale? Support your position. 

Problem Solving Fact Scenario 2
This assignment will place you in the role of investigator, prosecutor or defense counsel. This scenario has four parts; complete all as directed in the course Content area. Submit the assignment to its respective assignment dropbox.
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 6

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox.  See the course Content area for complete instructions.

Week 7: The Exclusionary Rule: Is it Essential to Serve the Needs of Justice?
Readings

  • Ingram: Chapter 16
  • Lecture: The Exclusionary Rule
  • Video: Vehicle Search Explanation
Discussion 7
Do you believe that the reasons first expressed by the United States Supreme Court to exclude evidence obtained by violating the Fourth Amendment rights of the defendant are valid in today’s American society? Explain your position.
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 7

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox.  See the Content area for complete instructions.

Quiz 2

Complete this 20 question multiple choice quiz before the due date and time. You will have 40 minutes to complete it. This quiz covers material from weeks 5 and 6 of the course.

Week 8: Science Invades the Courtroom
Readings

  • Ingram: Review Chapter 15
  • Lecture: Implications of Scientific Evidence
  • Video: DNA Analysis
Discussion 8
 A sociologist who holds a doctorate degree in her field claims to have studied 150 cases involving false confessions and opines that she has the expertise to render opinions in court that a confession given by the defendant was true or false. Should the judge permit her opinion to be heard by the jury? Explain your answer.
Nuts and Bolts of Evidence 8

You will select 5 questions from a list which you will find in the course, and prepare written responses to them. Submit your document to the appropriate assignment dropbox. See the course Content area for complete instructions.

Final Exam

The final exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions and is worth 220 points. You will have 150 minutes to complete it. The exam covers material studied in weeks 5 through 8 (chapters 10, 11, 12, 15, 16) The exam will be available on Monday and closes at 11:50 pm Saturday. Be sure that you allow adequate time to complete it before the closing time.

 


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. However, late initial discussion posts may receive partial credit provided they are posted before the Friday deadlines each week. Discussions will be locked from participation after the Friday weekly deadline. No initial posts or responses may be made after that time and are considered late with no credit received.

Late written assignments will only be accepted with prior approval by the instructor. The amount of deduction will be determined by the reason for the late submission, and the amount of time that the assignment was overdue. At a minimum a 20% deduction will be assessed for each day past due. In a bona fide emergency situation, properly documented with the instructor, the student may, at the discretion of the instructor,  be given a grace period in which to submit overdue assignments for full credit, or may, at the discretion of the instructor, be permitted to submit the overdue assignment for partial credit. The student must advise the instructor about emergency situations as soon as possible.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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