Course Descriptions

Fall 2016 Criminal Law Class Descriptions

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Agency Externship (John Sansone)

1-3 credit(s), P/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)

The Agency Externship Program provides students the opportunity to gain valuable clinical legal experience for academic credit with a government agency or non-profit organization during the fall, spring or summer semesters. (The externship program does not allow students to receive academic credit for working in a private law firm). Students may enroll in the Agency Externship Course for 1 - 3 units of credit and must complete a minimum of 50 hours per credit (100 hours for 2 credits and 150 hours for 3 credits) of Externship work and activities (e.g., observing a trial).

Academic requirements include: mandatory orientation, journals between student and professor relating to the field placement; a three-five page reflective paper at the end of the semester; an example of work product for professor review; and, satisfactory completion of work experience. The externship is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.

If you have been offered and have accepted a field placement, meet the eligibility requirements, agree to meet the course obligations and want to register for the Externship course, fill out the Field Placement Form. The Office of Career and Professional Development will then confirm your placement and instruct you on registering for the course.

Contact with placement questions. Contact Professor Margaret Dalton, Faculty Director, at with academic questions.

Note: There are limitations on JD concentration eligibility. Please check the JD concentration web pages for more information. Contact Law Student Affairs to find out if your Agency Internship qualifies for a concentration.
Additional Information:JD Concentrations Web Page, Email Law Student Affairs

Corrections & Sentencing (Alex Landon)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)

Covers objectives of sentencing, plea and sentence bargaining, sentencing advocacy, sentencing alternatives, prisoner conditions, prisoners' rights, jail and prison litigation, probation and parole revocation, and extraordinary writs relating to corrections. A research paper will be required.Successful completion of the paper will fulfill the law school’s written work requirement.

Criminal Procedure I (Donald A. Dripps, Hon. Richard Huffman)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)
Prerequisite(s): Criminal Law

This course is limited to pre-trial matters, as effected by the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. Coverage will include arrest, search and seizure, wiretap, lineups, interrogation, and the exclusionary rules.

Note: This is a required course for the Criminal Litigation Concentration (JD).

Death Penalty (John Cotsirilos)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)

This course will involve a written exam at the end of the semester focused to evaluating the student's understanding of case law history and practical application of the California statutory scheme. The course will address the following legal issues: 1) History of the Death Penalty; 2) Present legal parameters for trial of a death penalty case; 3) The law and procedure relating to post-conviction death penalty litigation; 4) Systemic issues such as prosecutorial discretion and budgeting concerns; 5) Policy and ethical dilemmas concerning the Death Penalty, i.e., volunteers, race discrimination, and arbitrariness.

Evidence (Michael Devitt, Kevin Cole)

4 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)

The rules of evidence in judicial tribunals, focusing on the Federal Rules of Evidence and the California Evidence Code are addressed in this course. Also covered are issues relating to: (1) judicial control and administration - functions of judge and jury, judicial notice, burden of proof presumptions, problems of relevancy, circumstantial evidence, and unfair prejudice; and (2) witnesses - competency, privileges, principles of examination and cross-examination, impeachment and support, expert and lay opinion testimony. The hearsay rule and its exceptions, rules relating to writings, real and scientific evidence are also examined.

Note: This is a required course for the Civil Litigation (JD) and Criminal Litigation (JD) concentrations.

Trial Advocacy (Linda L. Lane)

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG)

This is an upper class course focused on the skills of case analysis and oral presentation of those cases to judges and juries on civil or criminal trials. The course also includes developing skills used in the discovery phase of civil cases, especially depositions. The course is specifically designed to expand the skills introduced to the student in Legal Research & Writing. The course methodology combines lectures, demonstrations and individual student performances in small groups with extensive critique and feedback by small group instructors who are experienced practitioners. The course culminates in a mock trial. The course is graded on a 4-tier Pass/Fail basis.

Note: Students may only elect this course or Practicum--Civil to count toward the Civil Litigation Concentration (JD).

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