View Available Courses

About This Course

This intensive course deals with the constitutional dimensions of criminal law and procedure. Students will leave the course with an appreciation of how the U.S. Constitution focuses on the rights of the accused and the impact upon our law enforcement system.

Course Objectives:

Participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

  • Identify the criminal procedure provisions of the Constitution
  • Discuss the application of the Bill of Rights guarantees to the states
  • Examine the principles of Constitutional interpretation
  • Explain the concepts of Arrest, Search and Seizure
  • Identify the major issues involving the Fourth Amendment
  • Explain the meaning of protected areas and interests
  • Explain the meaning of “Probable Cause” and related issues
  • Summarize the issuance and execution of search warrants
  • Identify the parameters of warrantless searches and seizures of persons
  • Determine the issues involved in warrantless searches and seizures of automobiles
  • Recall the parameters of “Stop and Frisk” and other brief detention
  • Explain consent searches
  • Discuss the application of the Fourth Amendment to wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping and other surveillance
  • Summarize the constitutionality of Title III of the Crime Control Act
  • Examine the use of secret agents
  • Define the meaning of “entrapment”
  • Explain the “voluntariness-totality of the circumstances” test for confessions
  • Discuss the right to counsel and related issues
  • Describe the privilege against self-incrimination
  • Identify the provisions of the Miranda Rule, what warnings are required, and what constitutes waiver
  • Examine the privilege against self-incrimination as it applies to lineups
  • Explain the right to counsel and confrontation in lineups
  • Explain the right to counsel and confrontation in other identification procedures
  • Discuss due process concerns and identification procedures
  • Summarize the Exclusionary Rules
  • Explain the Good Faith exception to the Exclusionary Rules
  • Discuss the Sixth Amendment right to counsel
  • Define waiver of counsel
  • Explain the meaning of effective assistance of counsel
  • Identify the basic elements of the privilege against self-incrimination
  • Summarize the issues involved in compelling witness testimony
  • Summarize the issues involved in compelling the production of documents
  • Discuss due process and other issues regarding bail and pre-trial release
  • Explain the presumption of innocence
  • Summarize plea bargaining
  • Discuss the right to a speedy trial and impartial jury
  • Identify post-trial procedures
  • Explain the meaning of harmless error
  • Define double jeopardy

Expectations

This is an accelerated course. Students will be expected to spend an average of about 8 hours per week reading and completing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this online course. This course is the equivalent of 45 clock hours of study. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

  • Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Limitations in a Nutshell, most recent edition, Israel and LaFave, Nutshell Series, and may be purchased from The Center for Legal Studies Online Store.

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

  • Oran’s Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition, by Daniel Oran. Clifton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 800-522-7737, or visit our Online Store to order.

Reading Assignments for Lesson Topics:

Lesson One: The Constitution and Civil Liberties

  • Read Chapters 1 & 2 in Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Limitations (Nutshell)

Lesson Two: Arrest, Probable Cause, Search and Seizure, Warrants, Warrantless Search and Seizure, and Consent Searches

  • Read Chapter 2 in Nutshell

Lesson Three: Surveillance, Police Interrogation, Miranda Warnings, and Confessions

  • Read Chapters 3 & 4 in Nutshell

Lesson Four: Lineups, Right to Counsel, Waiver of Counsel, Exclusionary Rule, and the Good Faith Exception

  • Read Chapters 5, 6, & 7 in Nutshell

Lesson Five: Privilege against Self-incrimination, Compelling Witness Testimony, and Compelling Production of Documents

  • Read Chapter 8 in Nutshell

Lesson Six: Bail, Right to Speedy Trial, Trial by Jury, Plea Bargaining, Harmless Error, and Appeals

  • Read Chapter 9 in Nutshell

Writing Assignments:

For each lesson you will submit a 50-point short answer/essay assignment covering the topics in that lesson’s reading.

Exams:

You will complete two exams. Each is worth 100 points. The Mid-term exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Three Assignments; the Final exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Six Assignments.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

You will also post your responses to six class participation assignments each worth 10 points. These assignments are referred to as Bulletin Board Submissions.

All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Materials.

Grading

Your grade will be based on your completion of six writing assignment assignments, two exams, and class participation/Bulletin Board Submissions. The exams and writing assignments can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block. You will have the opportunity to engage in “class participation” by using the Bulletin Board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Also, participating in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six writing assignments comprise 40% of your grade.
  • The two exams comprise 40% of your grade.
  • Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 20% of your grade.

Withdrawal Policy

Students may drop the course with a full tuition refund less a non-refundable $15 administrative fee if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at [email protected] by the Wednesday before class begins. Students may drop the course with a 50% tuition refund if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at [email protected] anytime from the Thursday before the course begins until the first Thursday of class. After the first Thursday of class, no refunds will be issued.