The purpose of this assignment is to provide the student with an experience in which to observe actual proceedings in a court of law. This may include, but is not limited to, bond court, arraignments, motion hearings, calendar calls or trials.

Requirements: The student must compose a paper that is a minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, using a 12 point Times New Roman font, with a 1 inch margin on all sides.

**Please place the word count at the bottom of the last page of the paper. **

Any paper not conforming to the requirements set forth above will receive a grade of zero.

Each paper must contain the following:

  1. Name & address of the selected courthouse.
  2. Date and time that the student attended court.
  3. Name of the judge presiding during the court event.
  4. Type of proceeding (bond hearing, arraignment, calendar call, trial).
  5. Parties involved in the proceeding(s).
  6. A narrative detailing what transpired during the observation- feel free to write this in the form of a journal entry For example, what did you learn? What did you find interesting? Relate what you observed to the extensive material covered in our class lecture.
  7. Relate the observation to broader themes in the course. The idea here is to relate the material back to topics covered in class such as the courtroom work group, the role of the prosecutor, defense counsel and judge. You might also discuss whether the courtroom seemed to process cases in an assembly line fashion or whether it was a slower, orderly process.
  8. Can you apply any of the legal theory discussed in the reading contextually to the court observation?
  9. Did the process seem “fair?” Why or why not? This point may be analyzed both with respect to fairness to the defendant, as well as any victims present. How you address this is contextual based on the type of court event that you observe (i.e., there may be no victims present).

This should be a fun and exciting experience! Enjoy it and learn as much as you can during your visit to the courthouse.

Recommended Court: Any court of limited or general jurisdiction, criminal divisions.

Please DO NOT observe civil traffic court, as this is of no value for the purposes of this assignment.

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