Laws of Criminal Evidence
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 investigation and identification procedures, expert and lay opinion, scientific evidence, character evidence, presumptions, and evidence collection and preservation.
Prerequisite: CJAD 101 and junior standing
Proctored Exams: — None
Daniel J. D’Alesio, Jr., JD (Law), Villanova University School of Law
Instructor telephone contact information will be provided in the welcome letter that will be sent prior to the start of the session and will be posted on the Course Home page of the course.
Ingram, J. L. (2012) Criminal Evidence. (11th Ed.) Anderson Publishing Co. ISBN-13: 978-1-4377-3503-1.
Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order
• online at http://direct.mbsbooks.com/columbia.htm (be sure to select Online Education rather than your home campus before selecting your class)
• by phone at 800-325-3252
For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.
Please note that the use of an eBook carries certain risks: information may be missing due to copyright restrictions, the book cannot be resold to MBS Direct, and an eBook purchase cannot be refunded.
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 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.
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 Word or another Word-compatible processor such as Open Office.
You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.
For this course, you will also need:
• Microsoft PowerPoint or a program able to read PowerPoint slides
• To understand and appreciate the history and evolution of the evidentiary law in the United States.
• To understand the importance of evidentiary law to the daily operations of criminal justice professionals.
• To gain experience with the common legal terminology and methods used by professionals in the criminal justice system.
• To apply evidentiary law to real and hypothetical fact situations.
• To demonstrate critical thinking, research and writing skills on issues relevant to the courts and the law of evidence.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
• Explain the history and evolution of the laws of evidence.
• Describe the American criminal trial process.
• Compare and evaluate the common evidentiary privileges recognized in the United States.
• Explain the history and current application of the hearsay rule.
• Describe the legal rules and procedures involving confessions and admissions.
• Describe the legal rules and procedures governing pretrial investigative and identification procedures.
• Explain the standards governing admission of lay and expert opinion.
• Compare and evaluate the types and qualities of scientific evidence and the evidentiary standards governing use of this evidence.
• Identify and explain the use of common substitutes for formal proof such as presumptions, inferences, judicial notes and stipulations.
• Describe and assess the practical and legal issues related to evidence collection and preservation.
• Distinguish between direct and circumstantial evidence.
• Evaluate the ethical standards which apply to criminal justice professionals in the court system and evaluate common legal/ethical dilemmas faced by these professionals.
• Explain the methods and procedures employed during direct and cross-examination of witnesses.
• Analyze and interpret judicial opinions and case studies on evidentiary issues.
• Interpret and apply the meaning of specific statutory sections to assorted factual situations.
• Appraise current literature, materials and developments regarding the laws of criminal evidence.
A 900-1,000 90-100
B 800-899 80-89
C 700-799 70-79
D 600-699 60-69
F 000-599 0-59
Rounding up to the next letter grade for the student’s final grade will only be used by the instructor when the student is within 0.5 points of the next higher letter grade minimum point total AND the student had completed and submitted all assignments by the syllabus deadlines.
I do NOT mark on a curve or give makeup work for missed or late assignments. I reserve the right to round up the final score or not do so. Grade Weights
ASSIGNMENT POINTS PERCENT
Discussions (8) 160 16
Self Test 10 1
Quizzes (2) 120 12
Fact Scenario Problem-Solving Exercises (2) 60 6
Case Briefing 30 3
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence (8) 200 20
Midterm Exam 210 21
Final Exam 210 21
Total 1,000 100
Please note that the final letter grade is determined by the total points earned for the course and not by the percentage figures. The percentage figures are provided merely as an illustration of the percentage of the graded assignment points that were credited.
Schedule of Due Dates (All assignments are due by 8:00 p.m. CT unless otherwise noted in the Assignment Overviews.)
WEEK ASSIGNMENT DUE POINTS
1 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
Student Introduction (ungraded)– By Midnight CT Sunday 0
2 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Case Brief – Midnight CT Friday 30
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
Self Test – Closes Midnight CT Sunday 10
3 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
Quiz 1 – opens 6:00 AM CT Friday; Closes Midnight CT on Sunday Sunday 60
4 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Fact Scenario Problem Solving Exercise 1 – Midnight CT Friday 30
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
5 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
Midterm Exam – opens 6:00 AM CT on Friday; Closes Midnight CT on Sunday Sunday 210
6 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Fact Scenario Problem Solving Exercise 2 – Midnight CT Friday 30
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
7 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Sunday 25
Quiz 2 – Opens 6:00 AM CT on Friday; Closes Midnight CT on Sunday Sunday 60
Course Evaluations Wednesday of Week 8 –
8 Discussion: Initial Posts Wednesday 20
Discussion: Follow-Ups Friday
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence Saturday 25
Final Exam – Opens 6:00 AM CT on Thursday; Closes Midnight CT on Saturday Saturday 210
Discussions: Each week, I will post a question or topic in the Discussions area. Read my post and then respond accordingly by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday. Once you have posted your initial answer, you must post a minimum of one follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday. Your follow-up post may be either a further response to my initial post or a response to one of your classmates’ initial post. In order to receive credit, your post must be substantive. You must share your own thoughts and analysis. This is especially important for the follow-up post. Merely following up with a response such as “I agree with you,” or any other such insignificant post, will receive no credit. The Discussion threads may be submitted in informal writing style. Deductions are not taken for minor grammatical errors, minor spelling errors, or case-sensitive errors, provided the thread is understandable to the instructor.
General Guidelines for all Written Assignments:
• Complete all written assignments using MS Word or a compatible program. If you are not using MS Word, please save your file in the Rich Text Format (.rtf). Otherwise, I will not be able to open the file and you will not receive credit for the assignment. Do not upload your files in “read only” format.
• Submit all written assignments to the correct Dropbox folder in the course. If you submit an assignment to the wrong Dropbox folder, you may not receive credit for that assignment (even if you submit the assignment on time).
• Written assignments are formal writing assignments; therefore, you must cite all references, and all written assignments must comply with proper English grammatical and spelling rules. No specific citation style is required; however, you must use quotations when appropriate and include enough information to sufficiently identify your source(s). If quoting a reference verbatim, you must also include the page number. Please cite your source after each answer; one reference to the text at the end of the assignment is not sufficient. Failure to cite sources or improper citation of sources will result in a one-point deduction per answer. Examples of proper citation are available in the “Additional Resources” section of this syllabus. All written assignments must be submitted in the dropbox designated for the specific assignment. In the rare case when the D2L program is not accessible, in such an emergency circumstance you may submit the assignment as an attachment to a CougarMail and send it to the instructor.
• Formal writing style also requires that, except for bona fide emphasis, your work shall be in prose and not in “bullet” format. Complete, grammatically-correct sentences are expected.
• Beware of Wikipedia. If you decide to use Wikipedia as a source, please note that you do so at your own risk. It may be a helpful site for some general understanding of a term or concept, but the site has had problems with authenticity of the materials and credentials of those “professors” who have submitted information.
• Deductions will be taken for substantive errors for each answer submitted, i.e., incorrect solutions to the problems, incomplete answers, failure to answer a required question or part thereof, or lack of elaboration regarding crucial issues that should have been addressed in the questions in the Nuts and Bolts of Evidence assignments, the fact scenarios, and the case brief. The student will be given instructor feedback as to the incorrect answers and will be provided with feedback as to the correct response or responses to the questions.
• Deductions for the assignment as a whole, will be taken for formal writing errors as follows:
o No deductions: Almost total freedom from spelling and grammatical errors; clearly defined points; exceptional organization, sentence structure, transitions/headings, and paragraph development; fitting, lively, and consistent diction; and up-to-date, accurate, recitations of applicable law used in support of the points asserted in the answer
o 1-2 point deduction: infrequent, but repeated, minor spelling errors, and grammatical errors, including, but not limited to an infrequent sentence fragment or run-on sentence.
o 3 point deduction: frequent spelling and/or grammatical errors, or faulty sentence structure.
Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Each week I will assign a list of questions for you to answer in a written document. Please read the instructions in the Course Schedule section of this syllabus carefully, since most weeks you are not required to answer all of the questions listed. These assignments are extremely helpful with preparing for quizzes and examinations. Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence assignments are written assignments and must be submitted to the correct Dropbox folder each week. For weeks 1 through 7, the assignment is due no later than 8:00 PM CT on Sunday of each week; for week 8, the assignment is due no later than 8:00 PM CT on Saturday.
Fact Scenario Problem Solving Exercises: These exercises are designed to place you in the role of the law enforcement investigator, the prosecutor, and the defense counsel. You will attempt to solve the evidence problems that arise in the fact scenario by analyzing the relevancy and forms of evidence, by making proper objections and responses to evidence that is offered, and by supporting the objection or response with a rational and persuasive analysis of the applicable rules of evidence. Fact Scenario exercises are written assignment and must be submitted to the correct Dropbox folder. Information necessary for completing this assignment will be posted in the Content area of the course for the corresponding week. Note: Fact Scenario # 1 has a specific format requirement, which is also provided in the Content area.
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. Successful case briefings will effectively communicate these elements of the case in the correct format, which may be found in the Content area as a .pdf titled “Case Brief Format.” Note that the Case Brief must be in the format set forth in the Case Brief example found in the .pdf case brief file in the Content section of the course. The exact case to be covered will be assigned (see the Course Schedule section of this syllabus). You must complete your brief as a MS Word document (file name ending with .doc, .docx, or .rtf) and upload it to the correct Dropbox file.
Quizzes and Exams: For this course, you will complete three quizzes and two exams. All assessments are computerized (available via the Quizzes area of the course) and do not require a proctor. Each assessment is also timed, and while it may be available for several days, once you start the quiz/exam, you must complete it. Once you start an assessment, you will only have the time allotted to complete it.
• Self Test: This is an open-book quiz covering the contents of the syllabus. It is strongly recommended that before taking the test, the student print out the syllabus for easy reference. The quiz consists of 10 multiple choice questions, and you are allotted 10 minutes to complete it.
• Quizzes: You will need to complete two quizzes, each consisting of 20 multiple choice questions, during the weeks they are assigned. These examinations are open-book exams and are not proctored. The allotted time for each quiz is 40 minutes.
• Midterm and Final Exams: Both exams are open-book and consist of 50 multiple choice questions each. These exams are open-book exams and are not proctored. The time allotted for each exam is 90 minutes.
Week 1 –
• Chapters 1-4
• Federal Rules of Evidence 101, 102, 103, 401, 402, 403, and 611
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 1-4 (in the bottom of the Content area)
If your text does not arrive by the beginning of the course, you should use the library databases and other sources in the internet to join in the discussions, to keep up with the course materials and to help you prepare your graded assignments for submission.
Key Topics: Historical perspective of the laws of evidence; Sources of the laws of evidence in the United States; Forms of evidence; Types of evidence (testimony, documents, real/physical, demonstrative); Types of evidence (direct and circumstantial); Admissibility of evidence – Admissibility formula (will be provided by the Instructor).
• Introduction: Introduce yourself in the “Introductions” topic of our General Discussions section. Please state your name, profession, hobbies, interest in criminal justice, and any other information that may help us get to know you. The introduction discussion is not graded.
• Online Discussion #1: Please 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer 5 of the 6 following questions and submit to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Define the following terms: real/physical evidence, testimony, documentary evidence, demonstrative evidence, direct evidence, and circumstantial evidence.
2. Explain how the Anglican System influenced the rules of evidence in the United States. What is the main difference between the rules of evidence in the Anglican and American systems?
3. Discuss the adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence for Federal courts and explain to what extent the Federal Rules of Evidence are being adopted in state courts. In answering the question, please explain the role of Congress and the Supreme Court in the adoption of the rules.
4. What is the difference between an objection based on the form of the question and an objection based upon the substance of the question?
5. What effect do the decisions of the United States Supreme Court have upon state rules of evidence? Explain your answer.
6. Is direct evidence, such as eyewitness identification, more reliable than circumstantial evidence? Explain your answer.
Quizzes and Exams
• Syllabus Self- Test: Please complete the Self Test on the syllabus by midnight CT Sunday of Week 2. This is a graded test.
• Plagiarism Self-Test: Please take the syllabus self test prior to your submitting your written Nuts and Bolts of Evidence submission for week 1. Although this test is not marked for course grading purposes, it will help you avoid losing points on your assignments for plagiarism.
Week 2 –
• Re-read Chapters 1-4 and Read Chapters 5 and 6
• Federal Rules of Evidence 104, 201, 301, 401, 403, 404, 406, and 410
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 1-6 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Judicial notice of law and fact; Process of taking judicial notice; Presumptions; Inferences, Stipulations, Relevance Issues; Identity of persons and things; Defenses.
• Online 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? Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Case Brief: Maddox v. Montgomery (Text, p. 749). Follow the case brief format as provided by the instructor in the Content area of the course. Submit your case briefing to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer any 2 of the questions 1-5 AND any 3 of questions 6-10. You should have a total of 5 questions answered. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Is the jury present when hearings on the admissibility of a confession are conducted? Cite the applicable rule that applies to this situation and explain the reason for the rule.
2. State and explain three ways in which the approach to the use of evidence in civil cases differs from the approach in criminal cases.
3. What is the role of the prosecutor in handling evidence at trial? The role of the judge? The role of the jury? What is meant by the statement, “The burden of proof of guilt in a criminal case is on the prosecution throughout the trial”?
4. Define burden of proof, burden of going forward, and burden of persuasion.
5. In some instances, the defendant has the burden of proving affirmative defenses. Does
this violate the Constitution? Explain your answer with respect to several affirmative defenses, including the federal insanity defense.
6. The courts have established procedures for presenting evidence in court. In the usual criminal case, what is the order of presenting the evidence? What are the limitations of each party in offering rebuttal evidence and rejoinder evidence? Why does the prosecution present its evidence before the defense presents its evidence?
7. Define “judicial notice.” There are two categories of judicial notice: judicial notice of facts and judicial notice of laws. Describe the requirements for the court’s taking judicial notice of facts. What are the limits placed upon the kinds of facts that may be judicially noticed. Under what circumstances may a judge take judicial notice of law?
8. What is the difference between a presumption and an inference?
9. What is a stipulation? Distinguish between a stipulation of testimony and a stipulation of fact.
10. Every person is presumed to be sane. Is this presumption rebuttable or conclusive? Explain your answer.
Quizzes and Exams
• Self Test: If you did not complete this quiz during Week 1, please complete it by midnight Sunday.
Week 3 –
• Chapters 7, 13, and 14
• Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 404-406, 410, 412, 901, and 1001-1007
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 7, 13, and 14 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Character evidence; Proof of other crimes, wrongs, and acts; Rape shield evidentiary rules; Document authentication; Best evidence rule; Learned treatises; Real evidence authentication; Chain of custody, Jury view; Courtroom demonstrations.
• Online Discussion #3: Specific, 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer any 3 of questions 1-7 AND any 2 of questions 8-11. You should have a total of 5 questions answered. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. What is meant by the term “relevant evidence?” What is the general rule concerning the admissibility of relevant evidence? Who makes the decision at trial that the evidence offered is relevant?
2. While relevant evidence is presumptively admissible, many legal theories will result in the exclusion of relevant evidence for a variety of reasons, some logical and some based on public policy. What are some of the reasons stated in Federal Rule of Evidence 403 to exclude relevant evidence from admission in court? Explain the rationale for the reasons stated.
3. Under the Neil v. Biggers test for witness identification, what are the constitutional requirements that must be met in order to allow the admissibility of evidence of a victim’s or witness’s pretrial identification of the defendant from photographs or a lineup?
4. Why might evidence of fleeing the scene or flight after the crime be indicative of guilt? Why is flight following a crime not always relevant evidence of a consciousness of guilt?
5. Generally, evidence of a person’s character or a trait of his character is not admissible for the purpose of proving that the defendant acted in the predicted manner on the occasion in question. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(a), there are several exceptions mentioned. Define these exceptions to the general rule and explain the circumstances under which these exceptions apply.
6. What is meant by the statement that documentary evidence is not admissible until it has been authenticated?
7. Unless documents are self-authenticating, a foundation must be established for admissibility. There are four basic methods of proof. Name and explain two of them.
8. What is the best evidence rule? Why have the courts adopted it? What are the provisions of Federal Rule 1002? May copies be admitted into evidence in lieu of the original document?
9. What is meant by the term chain of custody? Is real evidence always inadmissible if there are minor defects in the chain of custody? Explain your answer.
10. Does a judge have the authority in a criminal case to permit the jurors to view the premises where the crime was alleged to have been committed? What is the procedure for viewing the premises, if a jury view is authorized? What are the rights of the accused and counsel with respect to jury views?
11. Under what circumstances may summaries of voluminous documents be admitted into evidence in lieu of the actual documents?
Quizzes and Exams
• Quiz 1: Please complete Quiz 1, which covers Chapters 1-6, by midnight Sunday. The quiz will open on Friday at 6:00 a.m. CT. This is an open-book exam and is not proctored. There are 20 multiple-choice questions. You will have 40 minutes to complete the exam from the time you begin the exam. Remember, however, that the exam will terminate at midnight, CT on Sunday. If you start the exam less than 40 minutes before midnight, you will not be given the full 40 minutes to complete the exam.
Week 4 –
• Chapters 8-9
• Federal Rules of Evidence 412, 601-603, 605-609, and 612-613
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 8-9 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Competency of evidence, witnesses, jury, and judge; Examination of witnesses; Impeachment and rehabilitation of witnesses.
• Online 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Fact Scenario Problem Solving Exercise 1: Read the Fact Scenario, found in the Content are for Week 4. Then, analyze the issues presented in the problem questions and solve the evidentiary problem(s). Submit your responses to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer any 3 of the questions 1-7 AND any 2 of questions 8-14. You should have a total of 5 questions answered. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Define competent evidence and incompetent evidence and give two examples of each.
2. In addition to relevancy, what additional tests must documentary evidence pass in order to be considered competent?
3. In the federal courts, scientific tests, experiments, and demonstrations must meet the requirements set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. What are the standards that produce competent scientific evidence under the Daubert case?
4. What are the elements of competency for adults to qualify as witnesses?
5. Does the fact that a witness was formerly committed to a mental hospital necessarily render the witness incompetent to testify? Please explain your answer. Who has the burden of proving mental incompetence?
6. Rule 603 of the Federal Rules of Evidence requires that, before testifying, a witness shall be required to declare that he or she will testify truthfully by oath or affirmation. Does this mean that the witness must declare a belief in God? Explain your answer, including a discussion of the purpose of the oath or affirmation?
7. Is evidence of the unchaste character of a victim of a sexual assault admissible in federal criminal cases? Explain your answer. When, if at all, is evidence of prior, consensual, sexual relations between the victim of a sexual assault and the person accused of sexual assault permitted in federal criminal cases? Explain your answer.
8. What is meant by the term direct examination of witnesses? Which party conducts the direct examination?
9. Define the term leading question. What are the rules for using leading questions on direct examination? There are at least four exceptions to the rule prohibiting leading questions on direct examination. Name these exceptions.
10. Distinguish between the concepts of present memory revived and past recollection recorded.
11. What is the general rule concerning the impeachment of a witness? List and describe three methods of impeaching a witness.
12. May the credibility of a witness be attacked or supported by opinion or reputation evidence? If so, what are the limitations?
13. May the credibility of a witness be attacked by introducing evidence that that witness has committed a crime? If so, what types of crimes may be referred to and for what purpose? Does it make any difference if the witness was pardoned?
14. Explain what is meant by the term rehabilitation of a witness?
Week 5 –
• Chapters 10-12
• Federal Rules of Evidence 701-705; 801-802; 803 (1)-(10), (18), (22), and (24); 804 (1)-(3) and (5); 805-806
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 10-12 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Privileges; Lay opinion testimony; Expert witness testimony; Hearsay rule and selected exceptions.
• Online 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 asks for his specific concerns, at which point, the church member told the pastor that he had murdered a child whom he abducted. He then proceeds 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? Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer ANY 5 of the following questions. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT on Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Is the husband-wife privilege the same now as it was 50 years ago? If not, discuss its development and changes. What criteria are applied in determining if the privilege exists?
2. State and give examples of three exceptions to the husband-wife privilege.
3. Describe the attorney-client privilege and give the rationale for the privilege. Does the privilege survive the client’s death?
4. What is meant by the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege? Discuss the two-point test that governs this exception.
5. Who has the legal power to assert the attorney-client privilege? Are there any exceptions?
6. What is the physician-patient privilege? What is its primary purpose of the privilege? What are the exceptions? Does the privilege apply to communications with a psychologist? Explain each of your answers to these questions.
7. What is meant by the term shield law, as used with respect to the news media-informant privilege? What is the intent behind shield laws? Under what conditions must the privilege give way to countervailing interests?
8. What are the requirements for establishing the clergy-penitent privilege? Explain each of the requirements.
Quizzes and Exams
• Midterm Exam: Please complete the Midterm Exam, which covers the first four weeks of the course including Chapters 1-9 (Chapters 13 & 14 are NOT on the Midterm), by midnight Sunday. The exam will open on Friday at 6:00 a.m. CT. This is an open-book exam and is not proctored. There are 50 multiple-choice questions. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam from the time that you begin. Remember, however, that the exam will terminate at midnight, CT on Sunday. If you start the exam less than 90 minutes before midnight, you will not be given the full 90 minutes to complete the exam.
Week 6 –
• Review Week 5’s reading assignments and read Chapter 16.
• PowerPoint slides for Chapter 16 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Lay opinion testimony; Expert witness testimony; Hearsay rule and selected exceptions. Search and Seizure/ Self-Incrimination Exclusionary Rules.
• Online 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Fact Scenario Problem Solving Exercise 2: Read the Fact Scenario, found in the Content are for Week 6. Then, analyze the issues presented in the problem questions and solve the evidentiary problem(s). Submit your responses to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight, CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer any 3 of the questions 1-8 AND any 2 of questions 9-14. You should have a total of 5 questions answered. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Define opinion evidence, expert witness, and nonexpert witness.
2. Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence defines the conditions under which expert testimony is admissible. What is the general rule relating to the use of expert testimony?
3. May a witness qualify as an expert when the expert does not have a degree or license? May the special knowledge necessary to qualify as an expert be derived from experience? May the fact that the expert does not have a degree or license be brought out at the trial? Explain your answers to each of the questions.
4. When an expert witness takes the stand, may the expert’s opinions be challenged in the cross-examination process? What is the process for challenging these opinions?
5. When an expert gives an opinion regarding handwriting, must the expert state that he or she is positive that the samples are identical? Does requiring a suspect to give a handwriting specimen violate the Fifth Amendment?
6. Why do most courts exclude expert testimony explaining the results of polygraph examinations?
7. A nonexpert, or lay witness, may state a relevant opinion if three requirements are met. What are the three requirements? May a witness give an explanation regarding the defendant’s guilt? Explain your answer.
8. A nonexpert witness is asked, “What was the appearance of the man at the time, with reference to his being rational or irrational?” Will an answer be allowed over the objection of the other party? Explain.
9. Define hearsay under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Define the following terms as they are used in relation to the admission of hearsay evidence: statement and declarant. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, what statements are specifically listed as “statements which are not hearsay?”
10. What reasons are advanced as to why hearsay evidence should not be admitted? What is the rationale for allowing some hearsay evidence to be admitted as exceptions to the hearsay rule?
11. Explain the business records exception to the hearsay rule. What is the rationale for the exception?
12. Under what conditions may evidence relating to testimony given at a former trial be admitted into court? When is a witness unavailable as that term relates to this hearsay exception?
13. What is a dying declaration? Must a declarant actually state that he or she is aware of imminent death before the statement is admissible? In what types of cases is a dying declaration admissible?
14. Why are declarations against the interests of the declarant admissible as exceptions to the hearsay rule? Give some examples
Week 7 –
• Chapters 15-16
• PowerPoint slides for Chapters 15-16 (in the Content area)
Key Topics: Search and Seizure / Self-Incrimination Exclusionary Rules; Scientific tests and evidentiary implications.
• Online 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. CT Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. CT Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer any 5 of the following questions. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT Sunday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. Define the exclusionary rule. What is its purpose? What is the “derivative evidence” rule? What is the good faith exception?
2. State four exceptions to the Constitutional requirement of obtaining a warrant for a search and seizure. Explain the rationale for each exception you select.
3. What is the rationale for authorizing the seizure of objects from an impounded car? Explain your answer.
4. Define and explain plain view as an exception to the warrant requirement.
5. Why is a confession inadmissible if it is not freely and voluntarily given? Define free and voluntary and give case examples.
6. What degree of proof is required of the prosecution to show that a confession is voluntary? Discuss. What factors are considered?
7. What are the warnings required by the United States Supreme Court as stated in Miranda v. Arizona? At what stage are the warnings required for a confession or admission to be admissible?
8. What provisions of the Bill of Rights protect a person’s right to counsel in criminal cases? At what point in the judicial process does the right to counsel attach? If a confession is obtained after counsel is requested by the accused, is it admissible evidence for any purpose?
9. Discuss and explain the rules relating to the right to have counsel present at a lineup.
Quizzes and Exams
• Quiz 2: Please complete Quiz 2, which covers Chapters 10-14, by midnight Sunday. The quiz will open on Friday at 6:00 a.m. CT. This is an open-book exam and is not proctored. There are 20 multiple-choice questions. You will have 40 minutes to complete the exam from the time you begin the exam. Remember, however, that the exam will terminate at midnight, CT on Sunday. If you start the exam less than 40 minutes before midnight on Sunday, you will not be given the full 40 minutes to complete the exam.
• Course evaluations will open on Monday and remain open until 5 pm Wednesday of the Week 8. You will be able to access the link from your CougarTrack page. 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.
Week 8 –
• Repeat the reading list for Week 7
• Online 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. Please post your initial answer by 8:00 p.m. Wednesday and your follow-up post by 8:00 p.m. Friday.
• Nuts-and-Bolts of Evidence: Please answer ALL 5 of the following questions. Please submit your answers to the correct Dropbox folder by 8:00 p.m. CT on Saturday. Please number your answers to correspond to the number of the applicable question.
1. How does the Frye test differ from the Federal Rules of Evidence (Daubert) test? What was the decision in the Daubert case? How did Daubert change prior practice in federal courts?
2. In addition to blood, what other substances are used to determine alcohol content in DUI cases? What other tests may be performed in determining if a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. What conditions must be met before the evidence will be admissible in court?
3. Is testimony regarding fingerprint comparisons for identification purposes authorized in a criminal case? How can one qualify as a fingerprint expert? Are the police required to take fingerprints at the scene of a crime? Must the officer give the Miranda warnings before taking fingerprints in order for the fingerprint evidence to be admissible? Explain your answers.
4. How does one qualify as a witness to testify about the results of ballistics experiments? Give examples of some of the subjects of ballistics expert testimony.
5. Describe the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test. How is this test used in criminal cases? Has the test been approved by state courts and by federal courts? Do the courts generally acknowledge the validity of the scientific principles of DNA testing? Explain your answers.
Quizzes and Exams
• Final Exam: Please complete the Final Exam, which covers the last four weeks of the course including Chapters 10-16, by midnight Saturday. The exam will open on Thursday at 6:00 a.m. CT. This is an open-book exam and is not proctored. There are 50 multiple-choice questions. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam from the time you begin the exam. Remember, however, that the exam will terminate at midnight, CT on Saturday. If you start the exam less than 90 minutes before midnight on Saturday, you will not be given the full 40 minutes to complete the exam.
• Course evaluations are available and will remain open until 5 pm Wednesday. You will be able to access the link from your CougarTrack page.
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.
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 may reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.), or you may use the citation format recommended by the instructor in the “Additional Resources” section of the syllabus . 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 in the considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.
Unless prior authorization of the instructor is granted, recycled student materials from other courses, regardless of the institution to which they were initially submitted, are prohibited and will result in a substantial reduction in grade or no credit whatsoever for the assignment.
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.
Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz. Please note that there is a plagiarism tutorial quiz (ungraded) in the “Quizzes” section of the course. I strongly encourage you to take the plagiarism quiz in order to reinforce the concept of plagiarism and to help you to avoid falling into the plagiarism traps that will result in significant reductions in your grade or may result in a grade of “F” in the course or dismissal from the college.
See also the “Examples of Proper Citation” section at the end of this syllabus for additional guidance.
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.
Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the Coordinator for Disability Services at (573) 875-7626. Until the student has been cleared through the disability services 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 before enrolling in the course. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible.
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 for a week will be counted as having submitted a course assignment during that week of the session. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for Week 8, when the week and the course will end on Saturday at midnight). The course and system deadlines are all based on the Central Time Zone.
All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring e-mail from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar e-mail account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other e-mail providers.
Students should use e-mail 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.
Late Discussion posts will receive no credit. Additionally, if either the initial or the follow-up threads are not posted by the syllabus deadline, the student may not receive any credit for the weekly discussion, because the participation in the weekly discussion is considered incomplete unless both the initial and follow-up threads are posted by the syllabus deadlines. 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 situations, 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.
You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. Course evaluations will open on Monday of Week 7 and remain open until 5 pm Wednesday of Week 8. You will be able to access the link from CougarTrack page. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.
Orientation for New Students
This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The Student Manual 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.
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.
800-231-2391 ex. 4357
Examples of Proper Citation
When answering a Nuts-and-Bolts question, if your answer is based on material in the class text, you may say “According to the text,” or “(text).” If the information is derived directly from a Federal Rule of Evidence, then you need only cite the rule number and subsection, e.g., (Fed.R.Evid 404 (b)).
To illustrate, the following examples were taken from p. 151 of your text, section B – Public Policy.
The first sentence is, “Some presumptions of law are sanctioned by the courts and legislatures for public policy purposes.” Please note the following correct ways to cite the material, depending upon whether or not your use is verbatim or paraphrased:
a. Verbatim: If you were to use that sentence or any substantive portion of it verbatim, the verbatim language must be in quotes and your citation must state the source and page number. The material and citation would look like this:
“Some presumptions of law are sanctioned by the courts and legislatures for public policy purposes”(Class text, 151).
b. Paraphrasing: If you paraphrase the sentence as follows: The state and federal legislatures and the courts often allow presumptions to be considered by the jury because of public policy, then no quotes are needed because you put the text in your own words. However, the sentence is not your own creative idea, so you must cite the source. In this case, you may cite the source as (class text) without the page number. Therefore, your paraphrased sentence with citation will look as follows:
The state and federal legislatures and the courts often allow presumptions to be considered by the jury because of public policy (Class text).
OR, another way to state this is as follows:
According to the text, the state and federal legislatures and the courts often allow presumptions to be considered by the jury because of public policy.
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