This course will focus on cases as the method of teaching, as common law relies heavily

upon the case law developed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and other courts.  We will examine concepts of protections provided to people under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments, with special discussions also addressing the 14th Amendment, to the Constitution of the United States.

Reading the abbreviated “Nutshell” version of a text will help you as we follow the continuing development of standards used in applying these protections by the courts.  As they have changed over time, and are continuing to change, we will look at some old cases, and will study some of the most recent cases, and discuss the directions that the majority and minority views on the Court are appearing to urge.


History of the Constitutional Protections

            Protections from the Federal Government

            Historical origins of protections of citizens from the State governments

            14th Amendment—history and ramifications

                        Fundamental fairness

                        Total incorporation rejected

                        Selective incorporation

                        Free-standing 14th Amendment rights

Protections during the investigative phase.

4th Amendment Rights

Warrantless searches and seizures

Does the 4th Amendment apply?

What is a search?

What is a seizure?

Arrest (person)

Search incident to arrest



Motor vehicle




Independent magistrate

Probable Cause

Fresh information

Reliable information

Place to be searched

Items sought

Execution of the warrant

Time and manner of search


Scope of the search

                        Electronic surveillance

5th Amendment

Custodial statements and the Miranda rule

The Miranda rule

What is custodial

What is interrogation

What is a waiver


Non-custodial statements


Compelling production


DNA/bodily fluids/fingerprints/ and so forth

Protections during the trial phase

8th Amendment

Right to Bail

5th Amendment Right not to be tried unless Indicted

6th Amendment

Right to Counsel

Stages of the process

Effective assistance of counsel

Right to Speedy Trial

Statutory right vs. Constitutional Right

Right to Trial by Jury or Court

14th Amendment Equal Protection

5th & 14th Amendment Due Process

Public Trial

1st Amendment rights of the press and public vs. 6th Amendment rights


Compulsory Process

5th Amendment Right against self incrimination

Discovery rights

Right to discovery

Criminal Rules

Brady material

Duties under discovery rules

Criminal Rules—Discovery

Criminal Rules—Notice of Alibi

5th Amendment Rights against Double Jeopardy

Successive prosecutions

Federal versus State

Same offense

Collateral estoppel

Allied Offenses of Similar Import

Alternative prosecution


2nd Amendment rights

8th Amendment rights

      Discussion of historical perspectives

Conversations with a trial judge.

A limited part of the course will be designed to allow students an opportunity to discuss in English pretrial and trial issues with a sitting judge.  Students will be given an opportunity ask questions and discuss topics of their choosing.