347 Schaeffer Hall
Spring 2020 Office Hours
Tue & Th: 4:45-6:15
Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Posted updated Prelaw FAQ
Posted two new books in What I'm Reading
Posted updates with 2018 election data to all 11 papers in the Iowa Voting Series
New book, Supreme Court Agenda Setting: The Vinson Court, published for Kindle devices and computers with Kindle reader.
(paid links, here and elsewhere)
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In this course we will examine various aspects of the criminal justice system in the United States. We will begin with the fundamentals of crime, law, and punishment and continue through various aspects of the process including such topics as the structure of the criminal justice system, elements of crimes, criminal responsibility and defenses, law enforcement and criminal procedure, the pretrial process, the criminal trial, sentencing and punishment, and concluding with a look at appeals and post-conviction relief.
There will be one primary text for the course (required) and several secondary texts (some recommended, some required). There will also be a required course pack primarily containing various Supreme Court opinions and additional materials will be on reserve at the main library.
The format of the course will primarily be a combination of lecture and discussion. Grades will be based on two multiple choice tests and a 10-page paper.
All students in the course will need to have an active email account registered with the university.
Some information for the course:
Books and materials: Spring 2020, five books: a main text (eighth edition of Scheb and Scheb, but the seventh or sixth editions are okay), two reference books (older editions of Gifis are okay, as are other law dictionaries), and two highly recommended books. The main text and two reference books were ordered through Iowa Book or are available via the internet. I'll discuss this more the first day of class.
Textbook companion website (7th edition) (select chapter and then Case Briefs on left)
Textbook companion website (6th edition) (select chapter and then Case Studies on left)
Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law & Procedure, 8th edition
Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law & Procedure, 7th edition
Gifis, Barron's Law Dictionary, 6th edition
Gifis, Law Dictionary, 4th edition
Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, 4th edition
Bugliosi, Helter Skelter
Taylor and Johnson, Until Proven Innocent
Below are some additional recommended books with a comment or two about each.
Wambaugh, The Onion Field. This is a true crime story. At some point I plan to provide notes for it as I did for Helter Skelter and Until Proven Innocent. One of the things that makes this story interesting is how the killing of a cop resulted in a long and intricate court case.
Katz, Justice Overruled: Unmasking the Criminal Justice System
Rothwax, Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice
Scheindlin, Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining
These are books by three judges discussing problems they experienced with the criminal justice system. Katz worked on the Charles Manson murder case along with Bugliosi. Scheindlin is "Judge Judy," but what makes her book particularly interesting is that she discusses the juvenile justice system, which we don't deal with in this course.
Bugliosi, Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder. Another true crime story by Bugliosi.
Adler, The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom. Although it deals with a civil trial, it discusses some interesting aspects of jury trials.
van Geel, Understanding Supreme Court Opinions. We'll be reading some Supreme Court opinions in the second half of the course and one particular chapter in this book explains how to read them.