Syllabus for AOJ-358

Courts and Criminal Procedures


Courts and Criminal Procedures provides a thorough understanding of criminal law concepts and procedures, beginning with their historical basis in the Constitution. Students will examine the complex relationship between public order (crime control) and individual rights (due process). They will trace the flow of a criminal case from the time the crime is committed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, identifying key players, their roles, their interrelationships, and the critical decisions they make. Throughout, students will examine criminal procedure in relation to landmark court decisions.



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Analyze constitutional rights in the context of criminal law.

CO2         Examine the structure of the criminal justice system and the relationships between its components.

CO3        Outline basic criminal justice processes.

CO4          Assess the reasonableness of restraints on constitutional rights in the criminal procedure process.

CO5         Examine criminal procedure in light of real problems, challenges, and cases.

CO6        Explain key terms and concepts concerning courts and criminal procedure.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

Helpful Websites

The Oyez site is a multimedia archive created by Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute along with Chicago-Kent College of Law and Clicking Justia Supreme Court Center at the top of the page brings you to an excellent resource for finding decisions and opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another excellent web resources is the site of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Other websites as well as articles and videos are linked within the modules of this course.


Courts and Criminal Procedures is a three-credit, online course consisting of  six modules. Within each module are text and resource readings, discussion forums, written assignments, and quizzes. Students must also complete a final project. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to complete six graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules and the final project.

Responses to other learners should take into consideration the substance of what your peers have written. If you can interject a question pertaining to the week’s reading in your response, it will add greatly to the discussion. A question may generate more discussion, which is beneficial to learning. Be supportive and encouraging to your classmates. Try to offer feedback that is meaningful to the discussion and to your classmates.

Please note there is an ungraded, but required, Introductions Forum in Module 1.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.


You are required to take six quizzes, one per module. All quiz items are multiple choice and you may use any materials that you like in taking the quizzes. There is no time limit for taking each quiz.

Most students find that quiz-taking is an excellent way to be sure they are mastering basic concepts and terminology. You will be able to take each quiz an unlimited number of times, and the gradebook will record your most recent score.

This arrangement will allow you to go back and reread portions of the text that you need to review and then take the quiz again for further practice.

Final Project

For your final project you will choose a courts and criminal procedures topic, research the relevant literature, explain and apply key terms and concepts relevant to your topic, react to a controversial statement or position on that topic, evaluate various theories considering existing research and your own experience, and take a position and write a position paper.

You are required to submit an outline for your project near the end of Module 3. Full information about both the outline and final project is found in the Final Project area of the course site. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates for both the outline and final project.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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