Intro to Criminal Justice Spring 2016

CRMJ 254, Sections 002

Syllabus: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Spring 2016

Contact Information


Instructor Name: Brian Gorman, J.D.

Office Location: Liberal Arts–Room 3220

Office Phone: (410) 704-2206

E-mail Address: [email protected]

Office Hours: Tues & Thurs. 11:25AM -12:25PM & 4:50 PM -5:50 PM, or by appointment.

Department Office Phone: (410) 704-2852

Course Classroom: Liberal Arts–Room 3303

Class Meeting Time: Tuesday & Thursday 12:30 PM- 1:45 PM


Course Overview

This course examines the basic concepts of the criminal justice system from policing to the court system and corrections.

Learning Outcomes / Objectives:

 Upon successful completion of this course, engaged students should be able to:

  • Identify the sequence of events in the criminal justice process, the essential elements of criminal law and procedure, and the basic structure of the criminal justice system.
  • Describe the roles of the various actors (offenders and victims, as well as law enforcement, court system, and corrections personnel) within the American criminal justice system and the impact of the use of discretion upon the criminal justice process and its outcomes.
  • Analyze the operations of criminal justice from a sociological standpoint by exploring the extralegal factors that influence the criminal justice process and the disparities that result.
  • Critique the criminal justice process in the context of the contradictory concerns for protecting individual rights and safeguarding community interests.
  • Interpret existing research on the process of justice in the context of the American experience.

 Required Reading Materials

George F. Cole and Christopher E. Smith, The American System of Criminal Justice, 12th Edition (Wadsworth).  See publisher’s website for online version option and pricing.

 Internet news outlets: MSN or Yahoo news. You are responsible for current events concerning criminal justice. Current events are an important component of the class and subject to discussion and testing.


Reading assignments should be completed before each designated class period.


Mid-term exam # 1:   20%     Thursday March 3, 2016.

Mid-term exam # 2:   20%     Thursday April 14, 2016.

Final Exam:                 30%     Thursday May 12, 2016, 8:00 AM

Court paper:                30%     Part I observation, Thursday September 18, 2016.

Part II full 6 pages with analysis Tuesday December 10, 2016.

Class Participation:     Half grade of course up (+), down (-) or no change based on class participation.

Exam/Paper Policies


            Failure to take an exam without an approved excuse results in an “F” for that exam.  Approved excuses include: documented illness or injury such that attendance is not possible, recognized religious holiday/observance, participation in university activities such as athletics so long as advance notice is given, or any other verifiable exigent circumstance beyond the student’s control.  Vacations are not exigent circumstances, no matter how far in advance the trip is booked or costly it may be.  It is the student’s responsibility to plan work, travel and vacation schedules around university obligations.


Court Paper:


All students must provide a six page capstone paper based upon an observation and analysis of a criminal court session.  The final version of the paper will synthesize criminal court observation, Lexis-Nexis research, and criminal justice concepts from the class and text. The paper must be in Times New Roman font, double spaced, and have 1 inch margins.  Otherwise follow Criminology Journal Style (  The paper must cover at least two hours of court observation.  You do not have to observe a trial; you may observe any open Circuit Court criminal court proceeding (your own appearances in court for tickets etc. do not count).  The proceeding should concern strangers to assure objectivity.  That means observations of family members presiding over or trying cases are disqualified as well.  See me if you have conflict issues.

The first draft of the paper is due on Thursday February 18th.  The first draft is limited to 3 pages and consists only of an uninformed court observation.  5 points will be deducted for each class session the paper is late.

 The final draft of the paper is due on the last day of class Tuesday May 12, 2016. It must be at least 6 pages and include analysis integrated with observation, i.e. a synthesis of the criminal court observation, Lexis-Nexis research, and criminal justice concepts from the class and text.  Detailed instructions will be supplied.

Circuit Court address: *Do not observe criminal matters in District Court or Civil matters.*

County Courts Building 401 Bosley Avenue Towson, MD  21204

*Note: It’s best to plan on arriving to court in the morning because many courts wrap up its business for the day in the morning and retire for research and opinion writing in the afternoon.

**I understand that cell phones are allowed in the court building, but this policy could change without notice. MAKE SURE IT IS OFF WHILE IN COURT.** You may take hand written notes, but DO NOT RECORD the proceeding in any way shape or form.

DO NOT DISTURB court personnel for docket numbers and case names etc.

*Dress appropriately to show respect for the court and remember that you may be subject to search and metal detector screening.

Do your best to describe the case from what you are able to see and hear. Observe the proceedings quietly in the public seating area.  When necessary identify yourself as a student with an assignment to observe criminal court.  The Courts have been very welcoming to Towson students.  Kindly follow the rules above so the tradition may continue.

Academic Integrity

Department Statement on Academic Integrity (Updated Spring 2015)

The faculty of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice expects students to demonstrate academic integrity at all times, and takes a strong stand against academic dishonesty of all forms. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in any class. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, any form of cheating or unapproved help on an exam or academic exercise, copying someone else’s written work without citation, presenting fabricated information as legitimate, any unauthorized collaboration among students, or assisting someone to cheat in any way. Penalties for academic dishonesty are determined by the individual faculty member. The minimum penalty in for academic dishonesty in this class is a failing grade for the assignment. Students who are charged with academic dishonesty must remain enrolled in the course and cannot withdraw. Instructors will file a report of academic dishonesty with the Office of the Student Conduct and Civility Education, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and to the Chair’s Office in the department.

For more information on academic integrity, see the TU Student Academic Integrity Policy ( and the College of Liberal Arts’ Academic Integrity and Appeals Information, (

We also encourage students to make use of campus resources to learn more about academic integrity and how to avoid academic dishonesty, such as the resources provided by Cook Library (

 Disability and Support Services

Students who have, or suspect that they may have, a disability should seek services through Disability Support Services. Students must be registered with DSS and receive written authorization to obtain disability-related accommodations. If you need accommodation due to a disability, please visit DSS for guidance. The office is located at 7720 York Road, Ph: 410-704-2638 or 3475.

Class Participation/Attendance

Attendance and participation in class is expected and worth a half grade (+, -, or, no change) on the course grade. Students will be called on to answer questions and participate in class activities. Positive contributions to class combined with regular attendance can result in an increase of a half grade on the course grade, i.e. a “B” would be raised to a “B+”. Detraction from class via disruptions from inappropriate cell phone or laptop usage etc. and/or absences in excess of 4 classes could result in reduction of the course grade by one half grade, i.e. a “B” would be reduced to an “B-”. Otherwise, if there is neither a positive nor negative impact on class from attendance or participation, there will be no change in the course grade.

Public Health Emergency/General Emergency Contingency Plans/Notifications.

In the event of a University-wide emergency course requirements deadlines and grading schemes are subject to changes that may include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, class materials, and/or classmates, a revised attendance policy, and a revised semester calendar and/or grading scheme.  In the case of a University-wide emergency, please refer to the following about changes in this course:

Course web page on Blackboard.

  • E-mail’s from your instructor at [email protected].
  • Instructor’s chosen emergency telephone number: 410-704-2206.
  • For general information about any emergency situation, please refer to the following:
  1. Web Site:
  2. TU Text Alert System:  This is a service designed to alert the Towson University             community via text messages to cell phones when situations arise on campus that                           affect the ability of the campus to function normally.  Sign up:                                                   

Policy on Repeating Course

Students may not repeat this course more than once (make a third attempt at this course) without the prior approval of the Academic Standards Committee. Please call 4-4351 or visit ES 235 for more information.

Final Grades

The grades that can be issued to students in undergraduate courses are: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D+, D, F. Note that there is no A+, C-, or D- grade at the undergraduate level. The breakdown for determining grades is: A = 93-100%, A- = 90-92.9, B+ = 87-89.9, B = 83-86.9, B- = 80-82.9, C+ = 77-79.9, C = 72-76.9, D+ = 67-71.9, D = 62.1-66.9, F = 62 and below.

Course Schedule (Subject to revision)


1/26 & 1/28 Introduction Types of crime.

Chapter 1 Crime & Justice in America: Police, Courts, Corrections Overview


2/2 & 2/4 Drawing the line on criminal behavior.

Chapter 1 Crime & Justice in America: Police, Courts, Corrections Overview

Defining Crime. Models of criminal justice administration.

Chapter 1 Crime & Justicein

 America: Police, Courts,

 Corrections Overview

2/9 & 2/11 Court terminology with emphasis on Maryland.

Chapter 2 Victimization & Criminal Behavior



Chapter 2 Victimization & Criminal Behavior


2/17 & 2/18 Computer Research Class**

 Using Lexus-Nexus to find case law and Legal Codes

*Bring text to next Class*


Theories of crime

Chapter 2


**1st Observation Paper Due




2/23 & 2/25 Briefing a Case. Layers of CJ System, Race and Crime

Chapter 3 The Criminal Justice System


Sources of Law, Criminal Law & Procedure

Chapter 4, Bill of Rights

3/1 & 3/3



Continue Criminal Law & Procedure, Review for


Exam.Chapters 1-4

Exam 1 (Bring #2 pencil)


3/8 & 3/10


Legal Research Class #2

 History of Policing. Chapter 5 police

 pp. 143-52.

History of Policing continued, Domestic Violence & Policing

Chapter 5 Police

3/22 & 3/24


Police Training.

Chapter 6 Police Officers

and Law Enforcement


Police Subculture, Issues in Patrolling.

Chapter 6 Police Officers and Law Enforcement Operations

3/29 & 3/31


Use of Force & Oversight

Chapter 7 Policing: Contemporary Issues and Challenges

Policing and Science, Scientific Evidence

Chapter 7 Policing: Contemporary Issues and Challenges


4/5 & 4/7


Plain View Doctrine

Chapter 8 Police and Constitutional Law

Plain View Doctrine

Chapter 8 Police and Constitutional Law

4/12 & 4/14


Warrantless Searches, Exclusionary Rule, Review for Exam II

Chapters 5-8

Exam #2. Chapters 5-8.
4/19 & 4/21


Role of the Judges & Ethics.

Chapter 9. Courts and Pretrial Process

Role of Prosecutors: Law, Ethics & Tactics

Chapter 10. Prosecution & Defense


4/26 & 4/28


Role of Defense Counsel: Law, Ethics & Tactics

Chapter 10. Prosecution & Defense


The Trial Process and Alternatives to Trial.

Chapter 11 Determination of Guilt: Plea Bargaining and Trials

5/3 & 5/5


Goals of Punishment & Sentencing Options

Chapter 12 Punishment & Sentencing


Goals of Punishment & Sentencing Options

Chapter 12 Punishment & Sentencing




Review for Final

Chapters 9-12

            *Paper Due*



Final **Thursday May 12th 2016**

     8:00 AM