Posted: September 22nd, 2022
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COURT OBSERVATION PROJECT
Before you start working on this assignment – take a minute (less than 15!) to watch this brief video with tips for completing this assignment: https://csus.zoom.us/rec/share/XoyMgcMXXnG68Cya96QPg3qHXJ0YggYd9d2LeIboQRuPBRt13nqiuFp_jFCrVasb.MSqLY4py8Vy3lPBC
Students are required to observe and report on 6 hours of CRIMINAL court proceedings. This assignment is intended to give the student an opportunity to see the practical application of concepts learned in class lecture and assigned readings. Your paper must be entirely your own work.
You can attend/observe court proceedings in ANY COUNTY YOU CHOOSE.
***Because of COVID-19 MANY LOCAL COURTS ARE CLOSED, I AM PROVIDING OPTIONS FOR ONLINE OBSERVATIONS TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS PROJECT, BUT IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO LOCAL COURTS AND CHOOSE TO ATTEND IN PERSON, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WELCOME TO DO THAT!***
Online Court Observation Resources:
This document (Google doc) has instructions and screen shots to help you find local courts which are live-streaming proceedings:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dlME3SW2f8xC63MFVQGzSxgxeZnd795tc2CJa62UYKQ/edit?usp=sharing (Links to an external site.)
Do NOT observe civil proceedings – only criminal proceedings will satisfy the requirement for the project.
You do not have to complete all 6 hours at once, they can be done at different times, on different days – and you can watch a variety of cases…but for each individual observation you MUST INCLUDE a clear heading that indicates:
The judge’s name (if visible/available), name of the court/address (if online, note the website where you viewed the proceedings), date cases took place and date you viewed them, start/end time of each observation – and note the total hours observed for each observation, if available note the department/room number for the observation.
Your paper consists of the following:
A summary of the proceedings observed: you may discuss what you saw taking place during the hearing/proceeding, what the courtroom actors were doing (what were their roles), and your own response or reaction to the activity taking place. Please include comparisons to the class textbook’s description of the proceedings (the textbook should be one of your references)
A critical comparison from the literature: You must also choose 1 LAW REVIEW / LAW JOURNAL article that relates to criminal judicial process; your paper should compare and contrast some aspect of your observation experiences with what you read about in the article. Law journals typically have the name of a law school in the title (e.g. Yale Law Review, Pacific Law Journal). If you are not sure whether the article you have chosen is from an appropriate source – CHECK WITH PROF. KUBICEK BEFORE USING IT!
Check out this short video where I demonstrate how to find a law review/law journal article for your project! https://csus.zoom.us/rec/share/IrJjJu58bpfwUw6lgkfqbyK0v_aB3
You may conduct your observations in groups or with friends – but the written project must be entirely your own work. The paper must be type written, double-spaced, and use 12-point font with no larger than 1″ page margins. Your paper must be a minimum of 6 pages. There is no maximum number of pages – remember that *quality* is far more important than quantity!
USE APA FORMAT FOR CITATION,
A FREE ONLINE APA CITATION GUIDE IS AVAILABLE AT:
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ (Links to an external site.)
CrJ 121 – Structure and Function of the American Courts
Court Observation Project Grading Rubric
Detailed project instructions and requirements are included in the course syllabus and posted in Canvas.
Summary of Court Observations (40 points possible):
6 hours of observation conducted online or in person: INDICATE THE LENGTH FOR EACH PROCEEDING YOU OBSERVED IN THE HEADING.
Name/Location(s) of the court (if observing online, include website and any specific hearing info you are able to obtain)
If you attend in person, note the department number(s) of the hearings attended
Name of judge(s) who presided over hearings (if not available for online hearings, note this in your heading)
Description of the hearings attended including the role of defendants, attorneys, judges, bailiffs, court staff and others in attendance
Evaluation and Comparison of Scholarly Readings (40 points possible):
Description of the proceedings from the course text book “The Constitution and Criminal Judicial Process” by Kubicek & Noble.
Discussion of selected, relevant portions of the text in comparison to court observations
Description of the issues raised/addressed in the scholarly article for comparison
Discussion of the scholarly article in comparison to actual observations
Grammar and Citation (20 points possible):
Correct use of Standard English Grammar
Clear organization of writing
Use of American Psychological Association citation format (for a free online APA Guide visit: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
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