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Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Indigent Criminal Justice Related Courses

  • Trial Advocacy — This course introduces the fundamental skills of trial advocacy applicable in civil and criminal trials in any jurisdiction. In keeping with the theory that trial advocacy is best learned by "doing," each student will conduct written and oral exercises concerning the various stages of the trial process-pleadings, pretrial motions, discovery, settlement negotiations, trial preparation, jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination of lay witnesses, examination of expert witnesses, trial motions, and closing arguments. Students are able to evaluate their own progress through viewing videotapes of their performances. The class meets jointly for lectures, while the oral trial exercises are conducted in small sections.
  • Criminal Law — This course deals with what is called substantive criminal law, i.e., crimes. Numerous crimes such as homicide, theft, and conspiracy are examined, and defenses such as self-defense and insanity are scrutinized. A primary focus of the course is the utilization and interpretation of criminal statutes.
  • Criminal Procedure — The Criminal Procedure course explores the interface between the criminal justice system and the United States Constitution. The course examines constitutional limits on police investigation and interrogation as well as the circumstances under which indigent defendants are guaranteed the assistance of counsel. In addition to introducing students to constitutional analysis, the course previews the ethical dimensions of defending persons accused of crime. The class also views a trial during the criminal term at the Court of Common Pleas.
  • Evidence— This course presents evidence in trials under the Federal Rules of Evidence, at common law and in equity and with reference to administrative bodies. The reasoning from which rules arise in areas including relevancy, competency, privilege, examination of witnesses, writing, the hearsay rule and its exceptions, burden of proof, presumptions, judicial notice, and constitutional evidence problems is also addressed.
  • Professional Responsibility — Through the use of hypothetical situations, this course attempts to generate student sensitivity to ethical problems faced by lawyers in various kinds of practice. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the older Code of Professional Responsibility are the basic tools, but discussion centers as well on case law, ABA opinions and standards, statutes, and the dictates of conscience. Discipline and professional malpractice are also treated.