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.
online court coverage to analyze
your chosen court coverage for a minimum of 2 hours
a formal outline of your research paper
a list of sources
a formal research paper, detailing your observations
Select Online Court Coverage
you may observe one of the following criminal court proceedings online.
OJ Simpson’s murder trial
George Zimmerman’s murder trial
Jodi Arias’ murder trial:
Observe Chosen Court
For the Court Report, prepare a well-written 2-3 page paper,
formatted according to CSU-Global and APA guidelines, 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.
submit an outline of your final paper.
List of Sources,
Submit a list of
sources to be used in your final paper. (See requirements for sources
The Final Paper
In the final paper, which is due at the end of Week 8, synthesize observed
data from your court experience with research gleaned from at
least five reliable, academic sources (one must be the textbook for
this class) 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:
revised Court Report
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.
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.
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.
Present your response in an analytical research paper of
10-15 well-written with APA guidelines.