Criminal Justice & Law

Criminal Procedure

Criminal procedure encompasses the actions or inactions taken by law enforcement, the legal system and the penal system throughout the investigation and adjudication of a crime. Focusing primarily on the protections of the accused as dictated by the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, this course covers the various ways in which the US criminal adjudication system defines the roles of police, prosecutors, grand juries, defendants and victims. The course takes students through the often-controversial and complex procedures balancing individual rights against the protection of everyone as it pertains to search and seizure of individuals or property, due process requirements for the accused and how these requirements have evolved over the last century through landmark cases interpreted by the US Supreme Court that produced Miranda rights, Terry stops and other common-place considerations necessary throughout the criminal process. Students will also gain a thorough understanding of the court procedures for criminal trials, basic evidentiary considerations, rights afforded to the accused and the basic protections available to all individuals who move through the criminal courts.

Primarily, this course focuses on the constitutional rights of criminal defendants as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court from the first point of investigation through to the appeals process and incarceration. Students will become familiar with and discuss Supreme Court decisions and identify their significance for the justice system both at the time of their decision and for the years that would follow. Finally, students will gain an understanding of how these procedural considerations affect the day-to-day work of all law enforcement professionals and the importance of strictly adhering to them in order to ensure the proper application of the law.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the due process and crime control perspectives including the impact on criminal procedure
  • Examine what can be done when constitutional rights are violated including civil, criminal, and non-judicial remedies
  • Examine how the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments protect individual rights
  • Analyze criminal procedure prior to trial describing the roles of prosecutors, grand juries, and defense attorneys
  • Analyze criminal procedure from first contact to appeals


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