Political Science 317

The Judicial Process, fall, 2008


Paula J. Lundberg, Instructor†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Office:Zulauf 107††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Plundberg1066@aol.com††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Office Hours:TW 4:30-6:30

Telephone 815.753.1014†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Class: DU 461, 6:30-9:10


Text:Lawrence Baum, American Courts, Process and Policy, sixth ed.


Course Overview

This course begins with a general survey of the American Court system and then moves to a detailed analysis of the structure and capabilities of the federal and state courts.The players (lawyers and judges) in the court system are next on the agenda and the last topics we will cover are the actual procedures of the courts with regard to criminal and civil cases through the appellate process.


Course Goals

For anyone anticipating a career which will involve contacts with the court system (lawyer, law enforcement, probation officer, etc.) this course will be extremely helpful.I would expect that by the time of the final that the student will have a working knowledge of the differences between the scope and jurisdiction of state and federal courts, the procedures used to choose judges in the state and federal courts and the process by which civil and criminal cases are initiated and move through the judicial system

Course Requirements

Your grade in this course will be based on class participation, two in-class tests, the final and an additional project (outside book report or court watching report).

The project can be completed by either spending a day in court observing and completing a 4-5 page write-up of the experience or by reading an outside book (approved by the instructor) and writing a 4-5 page book report.More information about these options will be provided in class. Project due date is November 11, 2008. Project may be turned in early, but no work will be accepted after the start of class on November 11.


The final grade will be calculated using the following formula.


Test I Ė 20%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Grading Scale

Test II- 20%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 90-100= A

Final Ė 30%†††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††80-89=B

Project- 20%††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 70-79=C

Class Particpation-10%†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 60-69=D

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Below 60=F


I will give everyone who votes on November 4 (bring in receipt from polling place) 5 points of extra credit.This is the only extra credit available in this class.

Attendance will be taken and more than one unexcused absence will affect the class participation portion of the grade.All absences after the first one will be looked at as unexcused unless believable evidence is presented to prove the contrary.What constitutes believable evidence is at the instructorís discretion. See paragraph below in Other Information. A seating chart will be made the second class meeting

The two in-class tests will be objective in nature (fill-in the blank, matching and multiple choice).The final will be cumulative and will follow the same format.


Other Information

This is an upper level class so I am sure that I donít need to remind anyone about how to behave in a college class or about the consequences of cheating.I started out my working career as a public defender in Cook County and I have heard just about every excuse ever proffered for poor performance so please donít try it on me.If you have a genuine problem, come and see me or talk to me before or after class.I absolutely abhor giving make-up exams so if you know in advance you cannot be at the exam, talk to me ahead of time and I will be happy to accommodate you.


Course Material and Dates


August 26:†† Course introduction

September 2:†† Text:pp. 1-40, Court Overview and Org. of Fed. Ct. System

September 9: Text: pp. 40-51 State Court Systems, Focus on IL State Courts

September 16:Text: pp. 54-79 Lawyers!

September 23: Text pp. 79-99 Lawyers contíd and Judicial Selection

September 30:Text pp.99-114 Judicial Selection contíd FIRST EXAM

October 7:Text pp. 114-146 Judicial Selection concluded and Judges

October 14:Text pp. 150-173 Criminal Trials

October 21:Text pp.173-193 Criminal Trials contíd

October 28:Text: pp. 200-222 Civil Trials

November 4: Text pp.222-237 Civil Trials contíd ELECTION DAY

November 11: Text pp. 243-252 Appellate Process SECOND EXAM & PROJECT DUE

November 18: Text pp. 252-279 Appellate Process concluded

November 25: Text pp. 284-300 The Impact of Appellate Decisions

December 2:Text pp.300-312 The Impact of Appellate Decisions concluded and review for final

December 9:Final Exam 6:00 p.m



Statements Concerning Students with Disabilities

Under Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building.CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors.It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

Department of Political Science Web Site

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities.Web address is http://polisci.niu.edu


Undergraduate Writing Awards

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science classes or directed studies.Authors do not have to be Political Science majors or have a particular class standing.Winners are expected to attend the Departmentís spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00.Papers, which can be submitted by the student or by a faculty member, must be supplied in triplicate to a dept. secretary by February 28.All copies should have two cover pages-one with the studentís name and one without the studentís name.Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.Papers completed in the spring semester, however, are eligible for the following yearís competition even if the student has graduated.