The Portfolio Project requires that you conduct observations in a courtroom and compare these observations with library research on a related topic, compiling everything you learn in one final paper. There are several components to this project and four preliminary deliverables. Please read through them carefully.
Select online court coverage to analyze
Observe your chosen court coverage for a minimum of 2 hours
Present a formal outline of your research paper
Submit a list of sources
Submit a formal research paper, detailing your observations
Select Online Court Coverage
OJ Simpson’s murder trial
Observe Chosen Court
You should have spent a minimum of two hours observing criminal court proceedings that you will use to prepare your Court Report, . For the Court Report, prepare a well-written 2-3 page paper, about your court observation experience. Provide the details of the proceedings of the court you visited (court name, date, judge, type of proceedings) and the name(s) of cases(s) you observed. Describe the proceedings that took place, what you learned, and what (if anything) was surprising to you. In addition, pick one aspect of the court proceeding (such as arraignments, sentencing, role of court personnel, the attorneys’ ethical responsibilities, etc.) that you will study further for your final Portfolio Project.
The Final Paper
In the final paper, synthesize observed data from your court experience with research gleaned from at least five reliable, academic sources on the area of criminal justice you selected earlier in the term (arraignments, jury trials, sentencing, etc.). Compare and contrast what you personally observed in court with one or more normative positions argued or implied in your library research regarding how that particular area of criminal justice should function.
Specifically, your final paper should include:
Your revised Court Report
An analysis of the area of criminal justice you observed and researched. First, describe the area of criminal justice. Then, analyze the components of that area of criminal justice, including relevant laws and policies, ethical obligations of involved legal professionals, and the ways in which societal variables such as race, class, gender, and level of educational attainment affect proceedings in that area of criminal justice. Use your research to corroborate your discussion.
A comparison and contrast between the realities of what you observed and what your library research taught you. Describe what the law and ethics dictate should take place in this area of criminal justice (such as an explanation of charges during an arraignment), and discuss how what you observed did and/or did not conform to these expectations.
An evaluation of the conformities and the nonconformities you described in number 2 to arrive at a conclusion about what you observed versus the ideal in our criminal justice system, including suggestions for how the system could improve or, at least, better mirror the considerations of the law and of ethics.