Criminal Law Comprehensive Paper

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Acomprehensive paper where you combine the information and knowledge you gained from your courtroom observation and your research regarding procedural rights.

After you have completed your courtroom observation, you will conduct research to learn more about the specific crime that was the basis of the criminal proceeding you observed. You will also research case law to identify the defendant’s procedural rights.

Your Module 05 comprehensive paper should include the following information:

  1. All information from your Module 03 Courtroom Proceeding submission related to your courtroom observation, including defendant’s name, type of proceeding, date and location of proceeding (city, state, name of courthouse), name of all participants (judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, any witnesses)
    • The crime/specific criminal law that the defendant allegedly violated? (This will be important for the next part of the assignment.)
    • Discussion of how were the defendant’s constitutional rights protected during the proceeding:

      Examples:

      • Defendant’s right to notice of charges
      • Right to counsel (Sixth Amendment)
      • Privilege against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment)
      • Right to confront witnesses (Sixth Amendment)
      • Right to present evidence (Sixth Amendment)
      • Right to a jury trial (Sixth Amendment)
      • Exclusion of illegally obtained evidence (Fourth Amendment)
    • Outcome of the proceeding? (guilty plea, set for trial, conviction, sentence)
    • Your reflection and overall thoughts about the proceeding.
      • Was it more/less formal than you expected?
      • What student learned from the experience
      • How experience helped student learn more about criminal law and procedure
  2. Information related to your state’s criminal statutes and identify the statute (wording) that is the basis of the criminal charges in the court proceeding you observed.
    Hint: You can find Florida state statutes and other information at FindLaw.com
    • Include the specific wording of the crime charged
  • What is the level of the crime? (misdemeanor, felony)
  • What is the possible punishment for crime charged? (jail, prison)
  • Does Florida have mandatory, determinate, indeterminate or guideline sentencing options for this specific offense?
  1. Discussion of defendant’s constitutional rights in a criminal case and the source of those rights. Think back to the constitutional rights the defendant had in the court proceeding you observed.

    Examples:

    1. Right to counsel (Sixth Amendment)
    2. Privilege against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment)
    3. Right to confront witnesses (Sixth Amendment)
    4. Right to present evidence (Sixth Amendment)
    5. Right to a jury trial (Sixth Amendment)
    6. Exclusion of illegally obtained evidence (Fourth Amendment)
  2. Research and identify a minimum of two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that help establish or clarify the rights of a suspect/defendant in a criminal case. Example: Miranda v. Arizona, regarding a suspect’s protection against self-incrimination during custodial interrogation.
  3. Using what you found during your research, summarize the Supreme Court case and the importance of the Court’s decision. Your case summary should include the following information:
    • Case name
    • Legal issue in the case
    • Facts
    • Name of Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion
    • Supreme Court’s Decision/outcome of the case
    • Supreme Court’s analysis and reasoning
      • What impact did the Court’s decision have on procedural rights of suspects or authority of law enforcement officers to obtain evidence in a criminal case?
      • Why is the case is important in helping to establish, protect of clarify a suspect’s/defendant’s procedural rights in a criminal case?
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