Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Courses

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.

Big Problems

Spring 2019, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert H. Topel, and Kevin M. Murphy

The Big Problems course will use multidisciplinary approaches to try to understand and tackle the most important problems facing our country or the world. The first 8 weeks will be taught by the instructors and outside experts, focusing on problems such as the Zika virus, Syrian migration to Europe, cybersecurity, nuclear waste storage, opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and policing and race relations. Students will work in teams of 2 business and 2 law students to develop feasible policy or private sector solutions to a problem of their choosing and make a presentation in the last 2 weeks. Presentations will be made to instructors, outside experts and fellow students. Class participation may be considered in final grading. Final grade will be based on a major paper (20-25 pages).

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert H. Topel, and Kevin M. Murphy

Capital Punishment

Winter 2020, John Rappaport

This seminar will deal with the law of capital punishment in the United States, focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court's pertinent Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. Although philosophical and public policy questions will undoubtedly arise, the doctrine will remain the seminar's central concern. Grades will be based on a combination of class participation, a short (~15 pages) final research paper, and discussion questions to be submitted before class meetings. Students who wish to earn SRP credit must write a 20-25 page research paper.

Civil Gideon and Access to Justice

Spring 2020, Atenuke Adediran

This seminar explores access to justice and right to counsel debates in the criminal and civil contexts, starting with the landmark Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright. Topics include, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, whether Gideon's promise is being fulfilled in criminal cases, the costs and benefits of having a civil Gideon regime, funding for civil legal services organizations, empirical research on the impact of lawyers on case outcomes and client experiences, pro bono legal services, and the role of race and class in access to justice. Readings will include cases, law review and social science articles. Final grades will be based on a series of short response papers and class participation.

Previously: 

  • Spring 2019, Atenuke Adediran

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States, 1865-Present

Winter 2020, Jane Dailey

This class examines the history of the African American Freedom Struggle  in the United States from emancipation to the present.  Although the course will move chronologically, our emphasis will be thematic, covering such topics as voting rights and political participation, sex and marriage rights, criminal justice reform, the role of courts, and the relationship between law and social movements. A series of research papers will be required for this class (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.

Civil Rights Practicum

Spring 2019, Aziz Huq

In this practicum, students will engage in a range of research and analysis under the supervision of Prof. Huq, in relation to a number of active civil rights cases or other matters. Initial projects will include work on hate-crimes regulation. The aim is to cultivate experience in litigation and advocacy-related tasks in a real world setting, albeit without the structured format of a clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019, Aziz Huq

The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View

Autumn 2019, Emily Buss

In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School and the Laboratory Schools on students' constitutional rights in school. Each class will focus on a different case and related doctrine, and will engage the high school students in a discussion of a scenario that asks them to apply the doctrine to new facts. Topics will include student speech and religious exercise, drug testing and locker searches, procedural rights in the context of disciplinary actions, and race and gender discrimination, among others. Before each class students will read an edited version of a Supreme Court case and will prepare to discuss a case study. After each class the high school students will write a brief reflection piece. Each law student will be paired with two high school students, and will interact with those students in and out of class. Law students will check in with the high school students to assist with class preparation, and will review and comment on the students' reflection pieces. During class, law students will help facilitate the small group discussions. Law students will also submit brief weekly reports of their students' class participation and their out-of-class interactions. At some point in or after the quarter (the timing will be at the law students' discretion, within the time frame permitted under the Law School's paper policy), Law Student's will write a paper that discusses one of the topics we have covered, and that particularly draws on the high school students' perspective, shared in and out of class, to develop a theme relevant to the doctrine in question. Students interested in applying for this class should send a note of interest to Professor Buss ebussdos@uchicago.edu.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Emily Buss
  • Autumn 2018, Emily Buss

Corporate Criminal Prosecutions and Investigations

Winter 2020, Andrew S. Boutros

The criminal investigation and prosecution of large-scale corporate fraud and corruption are among the hottest areas of focus for prosecutors and the criminal defense bar. This seminar is designed for students interested in learning about the various aspects of uncovering, investigating, defending, prosecuting, and resolving corporate criminal matters, including those arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The seminar will address legal and practical issues and concerns from the perspective of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and in-house counsel. Among other topics, students will learn about: (i) foundational principles of corporate criminal liability; (ii) the whistleblower frameworks under the Dodd-Frank Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act; (iii) conducting internal investigations as well as government investigative techniques and tools; (iv) strategic considerations for the prosecutor and defense lawyer in white collar criminal investigations; (v) prosecutorial and SEC charging policies, including creating incentives to encourage voluntary disclosure and cooperation; (vi) pre-trial diversion, including deferred and non-prosecution agreements; (vii) compliance monitors and the monitorship process; (viii) the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; and (ix) proposals for corporate criminal reform. The seminar will introduce students to this multi-faceted area of the law, and expose students to real-world considerations involved in advising corporate clients and their officers, directors, and employees. This is a three-credit class. The student's grade will be based on a major paper (20-25 pages) and class participation. Papers are eligible to satisfy the writing project (WP) requirement and will be due approximately four weeks after final exams for the Winter quarter.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Andrew S. Boutros
  • Winter 2019, Andrew S. Boutros

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic

Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

The Project provides law and social work students the supervised opportunity to represent children and young adults accused of crime in juvenile and criminal court. Representation includes addressing the social, psychological and educational needs of our clients and their families. In addition to direct representation, students are involved in policy reform and public education including work with coalitions on issues of juvenile life without parole, youth violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of conviction. Students will participate in case selection and litigation strategies. Students will be expected to do legal research and writing including drafting motions and memoranda on various legal issues, i.e. evidentiary questions, sentencing, etc. and brief writing. Additionally, students will do pre-trial investigation and fact development including interviewing clients and witnesses. 3L students who have taken a trial practice course will have the opportunity to argue motions and second chair hearings and trials. Policy work will include general research on issues, drafting statement and position papers and attendance at meetings. Co-requisite: Evidence must be taken at some point that the student is in the clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Winter 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Autumn 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Winter 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Autumn 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Winter 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process

Spring 2019, John Rappaport

This course focuses on the law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final examination.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, John Rappaport
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019, Richard McAdams

Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail

Spring 2019, Alison Siegler

Criminal Procedure II surveys the criminal process after a case comes into court, from the formal filing of charges through the pretrial process, the trial, and beyond. Criminal Procedure I is NOT a prerequisite, and no knowledge of Criminal Procedure I is needed for this course. While Criminal Procedure I examines the rules that govern police investigations, this course examines the constitutional and procedural rules that govern at the next chronological stage, as the case moves from the arrest through the court process. Topics include: pretrial release and detention, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, the charging instrument, joinder and severance, discovery, selected trial issues (including confrontation rights), plea bargaining and negotiation, and sentencing. We also examine prosecutorial discretion and ethical issues surrounding the representation of criminal defendants. Guest speakers typically include two U.S. District Court judges, a federal magistrate judge, and a current or former Assistant U.S. Attorney. The final grade is based on an eight-hour take-home examination. Class participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler

Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law

Winter 2019, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder

This seminar covers a series of current issues in criminal and national security law, often comparing and contrasting the two approaches, with a particular focus on challenges arising from acts of terrorism and other national security prosecutions (including a focus on substantive terrorism offenses, espionage offenses as well as the leaking of classified information), a discussion of criminal and intelligence investigative tools (comparing Title III electronic surveillance with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ), application of constitutional principles to terrorism investigations and prosecutions (particularly the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the application of Miranda, Quarles and Corley decisions and certain state bar rules in that context), the President's war powers and congressional oversight (including discussions of drone strikes, law of war detention, and Presidential and Congressional authority to use military force), and in other select areas, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, and economic sanctions, and national security leaks. Each class will focus on a different topic, with advance reading assigned around each topic, and grading on the basis of two short reflection papers (3-5 pages each) and a final paper preferably written in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (20-25 pages, including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in criminal and national security law. Guest speakers will help facilitate discussion on certain -requisites: Criminal Law

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder

Cybercrime

Spring 2019, Sean Driscoll and William Ridgeway

This seminar will explore the legal issues raised by cybercrime. Topics will include: computer hacking and other computer crimes, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties in cyberspace, the law of electronic surveillance, the freedom of speech online, technological tools used to combat cybercrime, and international cybercrime.Students are required to participate in class sessions, prepare short response papers, and write a paper on an approved topic. Grading in the course will be based on classroom participation (25%), discussion papers (35%), and the final paper (20-25 pages) (40%).

Exoneration Project Clinic

Spring 2020, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russell Ainsworth

The Exoneration Project is a post-conviction clinical project that represents people convicted of crimes of which they are innocent. Students working in our project assist in every aspect of representation including selecting cases, advising clients, investigating and developing evidence, drafting pleadings, making oral arguments, examining witnesses at evidentiary hearings, and working on all aspects of appellate litigation. Through participation in our project, students explore issues of error and inequality in the criminal justice system, including police and prosecutorial misconduct, the use of faulty scientific evidence, coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel. The Exoneration Project is an intensive, rigorous experience designed for students who are committed to providing the best possible representation to deserving clients. Second-year students wishing to enroll in the Project are encouraged to take Evidence in their second year. Third-year students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Students are also strongly encouraged but not required to take Criminal Procedure I, and Criminal Procedure II. Students selected for this project will receive credit for the work they do in accordance with the credit rules for all other clinical programs.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Winter 2018, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Spring 2018, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2018, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl A. Leonard
  • Winter 2019, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl A. Leonard
  • Spring 2019, Tara E. Thompson, David B. Owens, and Joshua Tepfer
  • Autumn 2019, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Winter 2020, Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russell Ainsworth

Federal Criminal Justice Clinic

Spring 2020, Alison Siegler, Erica Kristine Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller

The Federal Criminal Justice Clinic zealously represents indigent defendants charged with federal crimes and gives students a unique opportunity to practice in federal court. The FCJC is the first legal clinic in the country to exclusively represent indigent clients charged with federal felonies. We enter our federal district court cases at the time of arrest, take them to trial or guilty plea and sentencing, and then carry them through appeal and beyond. As part of our broader mission to promote fairness in the criminal justice system, we also take Seventh Circuit appeals and write amicus briefs and petitions for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. FCJC students may have an opportunity to interview clients and witnesses; meet with clients at the jail and out on bond; conduct and participate in bond hearings, preliminary hearings, arraignments, evidentiary hearings, plea hearings, sentencing hearings, and trials; research, write, and argue motions and briefs; negotiate with prosecutors; and participate in case investigations. Students involved in appellate litigation write briefs to the Seventh Circuit and the Supreme Court and may conduct oral argument in the Seventh Circuit. The seminar component includes skills exercises, simulations, lectures, case rounds, and discussions. The pre-requisites/co-requisites are Evidence and Criminal Procedure I; these courses may be taken at any time during 2L or 3L year. It is strongly recommended that students interested in joining the FCJC take Prof. Siegler's Criminal Procedure course in Spring 2019 and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop at the beginning of 3L year. The FCJC is a year-long clinic and is typically only open to 3Ls. Any slots that remain after bidding closes will be opened to 2Ls. Students who want to learn more about the FCJC may contact Professor Siegler or Professor Zunkel for more information.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Alison Siegler, Erica K. Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller
  • Winter 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica K. Zunkel, and James R. DuBray
  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica K. Zunkel, and James R. DuBray
  • Autumn 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica K. Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller
  • Winter 2019, Alison Siegler, Erica K. Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller
  • Spring 2019, Alison Siegler
  • Autumn 2019, Alison Siegler, Erica Kristine Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller
  • Winter 2020, Alison Siegler, Erica Kristine Zunkel, and Judith P. Miller

Federal Criminal Justice Practice and Issues

Winter 2020, Michael Doss

This practice-oriented course integrates instruction on federal pretrial criminal procedures and issues with student practice exercises overseen by the instructor. The course will cover federal criminal practice from investigation up to trial, utilizing examples from recent federal criminal investigations and cases. The course will provide opportunities for student performance to develop professional skills and understanding. In particular, the course will provide instruction on (i) federal investigations and related issues (including Grand Jury proceedings, witness immunity, and search warrants); (ii) corporate internal investigations; (iii) federal charging decisions; (iv) initial appearances following arrest and accompanying bail/detention hearings (v) discovery under the federal criminal rules; (vi) pretrial motions and practice; and (vii) plea agreements and hearings. Students will engage in periodic practice simulations related to the pretrial stages of a federal criminal case. For example, students will conduct mock witness interviews in the context of a corporate internal investigation, present motions and arguments seeking, and objecting to, pretrial detention, and present motions and argument seeking to exclude or admit evidence. The course thus will provide opportunities for oral and written advocacy focusing on federal criminal pretrial practice. Each class session will also include discussion of practical and strategic issues facing both the defense and the prosecution under real-world circumstances at each pretrial stage. A student's grade will be based on class participation and written and oral performance in the simulated practice exercises.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Michael Doss
  • Winter 2019, Michael Doss

Federal Habeas Corpus

Spring 2020, Adam K. Mortara

We will cover the history of the Great Writ and the evolution of the scope of federal habeas corpus review and relief; the Suspension Clause; habeas review in capital cases including stays of execution; alternatives to habeas review; state post-conviction proceedings; and jurisdictional issues in both the trial and appellate courts. There will be an emphasis on habeas review under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which will be particularly helpful for students taking federal judicial clerkships. Students' grades are based on in-class participation, an exam, and optional papers (10-12 pages, if the 3 credit option is chosen).

Previously:

  • Winter 2019, Adam K. Mortara

Greenberg Seminar: "Just" Mercy? The Criminal Legal System in the Crosshairs

Spring 2020, Erica Kristine Zunkel and Alison Siegler

"Mass incarceration is the result of small, distinct steps, each of whose significance becomes apparent over time, and only when considered in light of later events." 
 -James Forman
 
 "If the function of the modern punishment system is to preserve racial and economic hierarchy through brutality and control, then its bureaucracy is performing well." 
 -Alec Karakatsanis
 
 Today, there is widespread recognition that the criminal legal system is anything but just, and that its horrors are overwhelmingly borne by the poor and communities of color. This seminar will explore a variety of origin stories and critiques of the system through a new canon. 
 
We will meet five times over the course of the year, and each class will be structured around one or more of the following books: Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy, James Forman's Locking Up Our Own, Emily Bazelon's Charged, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, John Pfaff's Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform, and excerpts from Alec Karakatsanis' Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System. We will use these texts to examine the genesis of our current punishment empire, the abounding racial and socioeconomic disparities, and various proposed solutions to the mass incarceration crisis.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2019, Erica Kristine Zunkel and Alison Siegler
  • Winter 2020, Erica Kristine Zunkel and Alison Siegler

Greenberg Seminar: Legal Issues in Game of Thrones

Spring 2020, David A. Weisbach and Joan E. Neal

This Greenberg seminar considers legal issues raised in the Game of Thrones TV series. Among other issues, we will consider the implicit criminal law, contract law, and constitutional law (e.g., the rules of succession) in the Game of Thrones, as well as how norms substitute for law when central legal enforcement is unavailable. We will also consider the role of counselors (akin in some sense to lawyers) in the Game of Thrones society. Students should have watched the complete series before the first class session.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2019, David A. Weisbach and Joan E. Neal
  • Winter 2020, David A. Weisbach and Joan E. Neal

Greenberg Seminars: Protest, Surveillance and Speech: Black Mirror and Other Dystopias

Spring 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli

The pace at which new technology and social media evolve and reshape our lives, altering our social and legal landscape, raises new and old fears and possibilities. This course will explore the role of surveillance and control through works of science fiction and dystopias. We will consider the role of surveillance in facilitating state and public control in pursuit of better (and perfect) governance. We will also consider evolving methods and strategies for dissent and public speech.  In what ways is state and social control helpful and necessary? When does it become problematic? When and under what circumstances do states to tolerate and facilitate dissent? Do we need a new concept of privacy in the modern age or do we need to protect what is being lost?

Previously:

  • Autumn 2019, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli
  • Winter 2020, Claudia Maria Flores and Nino Guruli

Hate Crime Law

Spring 2019, Juan Carlos Linares

This seminar will provide students with an overview of hate crime.  The course will explore the emergence of modern hate crime laws in the United States and the legal controversies surrounding them.  We will examine the challenges of data collection and the impact of data on policy analysis.  Law enforcement and hate crime prosecution will be reviewed.  The course will also consider the limits of the legal system to effectively address hate crime through conventional methods and discuss alternative options.  Grading will be based on class participation and a final research paper of 20-25 pages.

Human Trafficking and the link to Public Corruption

Winter 2020, Virginia Mary Kendall

This course provides a comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of human trafficking both domestically and internationally.  In the year of the 20th anniversary of the Palermo Protocol, the course will look back on how far individual states have come in their efforts to fulfill their obligations under the Protocol.  By reviewing the challenges to criminal prosecution first, the course will explore alternative paths to eradicating this transnational human rights crime that impacts over 40 million individuals annually.  Reviewing the array of supply chain laws domestically and internationally first and then exploring industry-wide practices, students will learn to examine solutions from an array of laws that reach beyond merely criminal prosecution.  Recognizing that public corruption plays a significant and powerful role in aiding the crime to continue with little societal repercussions, the course will explore ways in which the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the TVPRA have mechanisms to enforce these violations that provide billions of dollars to the traffickers.   Taught by federal district court judge, Hon. Virginia M. Kendall. This class requires a final  paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Immigrants' Rights Clinic

Spring 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett

The Immigrants' Rights Clinic provides legal representation to immigrant communities in Chicago, including individual representation of immigrants in removal proceedings, immigration-related complex federal litigation, and policy and community education projects on behalf of community-based organizations. Students will interview clients, develop claims and defenses, draft complaints, engage in motion practice and settlement discussions, appear in federal, state, and administrative courts, and brief and argue appeals. In the policy and community education projects, students may develop and conduct community presentations, draft and advocate for legislation at the state and local levels, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. Current projects include a first-in-the-nation challenge to immigration detention authority under the PATRIOT Act, a civil rights lawsuit against state troopers for cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and a class action challenge to new naturalization standards for immigrants with intellectual disabilities. As this is the first year of the clinic's operation, students will also have the opportunity to help develop the clinic's docket. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. Students who enroll in Winter Term will be required to enroll in Spring Term as well. Students with questions may contact Professor Hallett at nhallett@uchicago.edu to learn more.

Immigration Law

Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton

This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy.

Previously: 

  • Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres

The Law of Public Corruption

Winter 2019, Sharon R. Fairley

Recent high-profile prosecutions reflect the threat that public corruption represents to national security and the integrity of our political processes.  Although the quid pro quo of a bribery scheme is a familiar form of public corruption, other forms are less obvious and more difficult to proscribe.  When does a campaign contribution cross the line from free speech to graft?  Is a legislator who weighs the interests of the wealthy over the disadvantaged corrupt?  How do we be sure that an industry titan who has recently passed through the "revolving door" into a government role will promote the public interest over those of her former employer?  This course will focus on the legal infrastructure in place to deter, detect, and prosecute public corruption.  We will explore key topics such as campaign finance reform, patronage, and fraud schemes.  We will also seek to understand how courts give shape and grounding to the anti-corruption principles embedded within the Constitution and promulgated in federal and state law.  Grading will be based on an 8-hour take-home exam.

The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing

Autumn 2019, Sharon R. Fairley

In the wake of several highly publicized incidents of police brutality, the American public is engaged in substantive debate over modern policing strategies and tactics and how best to achieve public safety while respecting the rights and dignity of all citizens.  This course will provide an overview of the public safety challenges facing large, urban police organizations.  With the legal framework as a foundation, students will discuss the policy and political considerations relevant to key policing strategies.  Starting with readings that provide the historical perspective on policing, each week will focus on a distinct policing strategy or policy challenge, including topics such as crisis intervention, national security, and gun violence.  Some classes may include invited guest speakers. Students may qualify to earn three credits by taking the exam and writing a 10-12 page paper, or by writing a major 20-25 page paper only (which may also count for SRP credit if approved). Students who take the exam but do not write papers will earn 2 credits.

Life (and Death) in the Law

Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write two response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

Military Law

Winter 2020, Adam Benjamin Spencer

This course is designed principally to provide a broad overview of the legal issues that confront the U.S. military and its servicemembers. The course will touch on military justice, administrative law, operational law, servicemembers' rights, and fiscal law (time permitting). This course is useful for anyone interested in serving as a lawyer in the military, working in the military law area as a civilian attorney, or working in the military or national security area in a policy-oriented position. It is also useful for any future public policymaker or official to have a basic understanding of the legal framework for the activities of our military here and abroad.

Money and Criminal Justice

Spring 2019, John Rappaport

This seminar explores the pervasive role of money in the criminal justice system. Potential topics include indigent defense funding, "for-profit policing," the "prison-industrial complex," liability insurance, private prisons and police, federal grants, and bail. Readings will be interdisciplinary. Grades will be based on class participation and reaction papers and/or online posts.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, John Rappaport

Pretrial Litigation:  Strategy and Advocacy

Winter 2020, Barry E. Fields

This seminar will focus on litigation skills and strategies that are instrumental in the day-to-day life of any litigator. Indeed, a lawyer will use many of the same strategies and skills in both the pretrial and trial phases of litigation. Students will learn how to evaluate and develop fact and legal theories; develop themes; draft pleadings and discovery; take and defend depositions; draft pretrial motions; and use various tactics to prepare a case for trial. The seminar will use a variety of learning methodologies, including lectures, demonstrations, and participation in mock exercises. Evidence is a prerequisite, but can be taken concurrently. The student's grade will based on class participation, including participation in mock exercises, and written work product (research papers totaling 20-25 pages.

Previously:

  • Winter 2019, Barry E. Fields

Prison Law

Spring 2019, Emma Kaufman

Courses on criminal law and procedure typically end with conviction. This framework obscures the vast body of law on prisons-and the roughly 2 million people inside them. Why and when do courts send people to prison? How does imprisonment affect constitutional rights? What is the proper relationship between prisons and federal courts? These questions will guide this seminar as we examine the history of prison litigation, the current state of the American prison system, and landmark cases in prison law. Topics covered include mass incarceration, solitary confinement, the treatment of race and citizenship inside prisons, legal limitations on lawsuits against prison officials, and the use of structural injunctions and consent decrees. Students will leave the course fluent in prison law doctrine and equipped to debate the state's legal duties to people behind bars. A series of short research papers will be required.

Prosecution and Defense Clinic

Spring 2020, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour

The Prosecution and Defense Clinic provides students with an opportunity to learn about the criminal justice system through: (1) a 2-quarter seminar taught by a former Assistant United States Attorney and a career defense lawyer; and, (2) a clinical placement in either a prosecutor's office or public defender's office.  The course will familiarize students with the legal procedures and issues which arise in a typical criminal case as well as ethical and other social justice issues encountered by all criminal justice attorneys and courts.  The clinic provides students with a unique combination of substantive criminal law and procedure, ethics, trial practice, and hands-on experience through a clinical placement.Each student in the clinic will be responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened externship program with a federal or state prosecutor or defender office for the winter and spring quarters.  Examples include the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois or the Public Defender's office in any northern Illinois county.  Students will comply with the clinical placement's requirements regarding hours and assignments, and may be expected to research substantive criminal law issues, draft affirmative and responsive pleadings and memos, interview witnesses and clients, assist lawyers with court hearings and where permitted (and with an appropriate 711 license), appear in court under the supervision of practicing attorneys.Other components of each student's grade are: seminar classroom participation; trial practice exercises; journal entries; and, a 10-page practice paper or research paper.  There is no final exam (in either quarter) and students will earn up to seven credits for the course, depending on the placement.  Because of the practical component, the class size will be limited to twelve 2L or 3L students.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour
  • Spring 2018, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour
  • Winter 2020, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour

Psychological Dimensions of Crim Punishment (Operationalizing Theories & Methods of Psych in Crim)

Spring 2020

This two-week seminar will introduce law students to how tools of socio-cognitive psychology can be used to uncover empirical insights into the workings of criminal law and its decision-makers, including judges and jurors. We will discuss empirical scholarship that combines doctrinal analysis with theories and methodologies of psychology to identify where and why the legal system's expectations and assumptions about how criminal laws and procedures operate are at odds with the socio-cognitive realities of human decision-making. We will also consider potential legal and psychological routes through which policy makers and practitioners can address these disconnects in order to improve the accuracy and fairness of the criminal justice system. More broadly, we will discuss both the possibilities and limitations of what the theories and methods of psychology can offer to the study and practice of criminal law.  At the end of the course, students will propose their own experimental designs in this regard. No prior experience in psychology is needed.This is a short class that meets 6 times: April 7/8/9/14/15/16 from 6:10-7:55 p.m.

The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General

Spring 2020, Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan

All 50 States and the District of Columbia have an Attorney General, each of whom enjoys broad discretion over a range of legal issues.  This seminar will address the institutional role of these officials, including their status within their respective state systems and their relationship to the federal government.  The course will also address a host of critical and often controversial areas-including civil rights, criminal justice, consumer fraud, and environmental regulation-where state Attorneys General have come to play a leading role on the local and national stage.  Students will be graded based on class participation and a final paper of 20-25 pages.

Previously:

  • Spring 2019, Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan