CRIJ 1306
Court Systems and Practices
Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information
    1. This course is a study of the court system as it applies to the structures, procedures, practices and sources of law in American courts, using federal and Texas statutes and case law.
    2. Prerequisites: None
  2. Student Learning Outcomes
    1. Describe the American judicial systems (civil, criminal, and juvenile), their jurisdiction, development and structure.
    2. Analyze the function and dynamics of the courtroom work group.
    3. Identify judicial processes from pretrial to appeal.
    4. Describe the significant Constitutional Amendments, doctrines, and other sources of law in the American judicial system.
  3. Online Testing Requirements
    1. The midterm and final exam must be proctored by an approved testing organization. (Ask your instructor for more details.)
    2. Students are not allowed to use their book or notes of any kind while taking their proctored tests and exams.
  4. Course Requirements
    1. Exams – there are two major exams, one at midterm and the other at finals, each with 100 multiple choice questions covering eight chapters of the text apiece
    2. Writing assignments – There is a 1500 word writing assignment due before the end of the course based on topics offered by the instructor and chosen by the student.
    3. Collaborative exercises – There are eleven discussion forum assignments designed for the students to interact with one another on topics chosen and posed by the instructor in a discussion format.
    4. Reading quizzes – There are 15 chapter reading quizzes in true or false format to test student comprehension of the text material
  5. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Required Book: Courts and Criminal Justice in America, Siegel, 1st Ed., (ISBN-10: 013174576X, ISBN-13: 9780131745766)
    2. Other Policies, Procedures and important dates. Please refer to the WTC Catalog for the following:
    3. Campus Calendar
    4. Final exam schedule
    5. How to drop a class
    6. Withdrawal information
    7. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    8. Students with disabilities
  6. Course Organization and Tentative Schedule*
Week One Ch1: Legal Foundations; reading quiz 1; discussion forum 1
Week Two Ch2: Who Controls the Courts?; reading quiz 2; forum 2
Week Three Ch3: Federal Courts; reading quiz 3; forum 3
Week Four Ch 4. State Courts; reading quiz 4; forum 4
Week Five Ch 5. Juvenile Courts; reading quiz 5; forum 5
Week Six Ch 6. Specialized Courts; reading quiz 6; forum 6
Week Seven Ch 7. Judges; reading quiz 7; forum 7
Week Eight Ch 8. Prosecutors; reading quiz 8; forum 8
Week Nine Ch 9. Defense Attorneys; reading quiz 9; Midterm Exam
Week Ten Ch 10. Defendants and Victims: Their Roles and Rights; reading quiz  10; forum 9
Week Eleven Ch 11.  Arrest and Beyond; reading quiz 11; forum 10
Week Twelve Ch 12.  Plea Bargaining and Guilty Pleas; reading quiz 12; forum 11
Week Thirteen Ch 13.  The Jury and the Trial; reading quiz 13; forum 12
Week Fourteen Ch 14  Differential Treatment and Wrongful Convictions; reading quiz 14; Research Paper Due
Week Fifteen Dead Week
Week Sixteen Final Exam

*The above schedule, policies, procedures, and assignments in this course are subject to change.


Last Modified/Reviewed: May 9, 2019