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Law & Society

2011-2012 Syllabus

Law & Society is a course that explores the subjects of criminal law, procedures, and criminology. The purpose of the class is to provide students with an understanding of the criminal justice system and its laws, procedures, and issues.

Contact Information:
Name: John Truesdell Education: B.A. Education (Social Studies & Earth/Space Science), University of Michigan. Email: Phone: 269-926-3344 (Please call between 7:00 - 7:50 am or 3:10 - 430pm) Twitter: @MrTruesdellSJHS Room: #217 (Burgundy Hallway)

Twitter Announcements:
In an effort to remind students and parents about class information, news, and updates, I will post important announcements on my twitter feed (@MrTruesdellSJHS) after 3:05pm on a regular basis. These posts will reflect announcements from class to help students keep track of their responsibilities. Law & Society announcements will be tagged #LawSJHS.

Course Objectives:
Students will understand and apply: The major components of the criminal justice system. The major constitutional protections of due process and equal protection as reflected in the criminal justice process. The function citizens play by taking key roles in the criminal justice system. The role of legislative, executive, and judicial public policy making by analyzing and evaluating public opinions. The societal problem of crime in terms of causes, effects, interventions, and its statistical basis.

Truesdell Classroom Policies:

1. RESPECT: Above all else, everyone in classroom #217 will respect themselves, each other, and the learning environment. This class will explore sensitive issues that require students to demonstrate mature behavior. I understand that respect is a two way street, this expectation applies not only to students but to the teacher also. Be Prepared: Entering the classroom ready to learn means bringing the proper supplies each day. On a daily basis, students should bring their journal, a notebook/paper, and a writing utensil. Students will receive 24 hours notification if any additional supplies such as a textbook are required. Extra materials are available in the Student Activity Center but are very limited. Be Responsible: I recognize that most of you will be going to college or entering the real world in a very short time. As a result, I will treat you like young adults. In return, I expect you to demonstrate a high level of self accountability by keeping organized and staying on top of your work. Ask Questions: Expectations and instructions will always be laid out as clearly as possible. However, even the greatest thinkers will sometimes become confused (most likely because of their teachers!). Never be afraid to approach me to ask questions or clarify an explanation. Have a Good Attitude & Have Some Fun: This class is heavily driven by student discussion and participation. That means Im relying on you guys to push this class to become a fun exploration of the criminal justice system.





Absences: Absences are the best way to guarantee that you will not learn anything. Much of what we will do in this class cannot easily be made up. I will adhere to the student handbooks policies regarding attendance. Classroom discussions, guest speakers, and simulations are very difficult to find in a textbook, so make it a top priority to show up for class. Additional information to know: Unexcused absences on test or quiz days will result in a 20% reduction of your test score. All tests and quizzes must be made up within three days of your return (excused or unexcused). Additional delays will result in a reduction of your test/quiz score. (5% per day). Unexcused absences on a test or quiz day will result in an immediate 0 plugged into Powerbook until you come speak to me about making it up. After a student has received more than 10 unexcused absences, they must complete a Law & Society Portfolio in order to be allowed to take the semester exam. This includes: o Speaking to Mr. Truesdell about completing & turning in all missing work at a C level or higher. o Completing all remaining semester work on time and at a minimum of a C+ average. o Performing an Outside Civic Project as determined by Mr. Truesdell

Grading: 100 93% = A 92 90% = A89 87% = B+ 86 83% = B 82 80% = B79 77% = C+ 76 73% = C 72 70% = C69 67% = D+ 66 63% = D 62 60% = D59 00% = F Note: Extra credit will be earned, not given. Opportunities for extra credit will be available at certain points throughout the semester, and will typically require students to become engaged with the community. Students will be notified of these opportunities as they arise.


Course Structure:
Below is a loose roadmap for Law & Society this semester. Changes to units and timing are possible, as I am constantly looking for ways to improve the course. Please check back for adjustments, I will try to notify you as they occur. Unit 1: Introduction to Criminal Justice: The purpose of this unit is to establish a foundational understanding of the criminal justice system. Students will explore an overview of the steps and components of the criminal justice process. Current issues such as terrorism and other relevant topics will be discussed in order to familiarize students with how the various branches of government influence the law. Unit 2: Crime & The Law: This unit focuses on acquiring a basic knowledge of Crime and the effects it has on its victims. The second portion seeks to explore and analyze how the government balances the division of power and freedom when enforcing the Law and protecting Liberty. The final aspect of this unit will summarize due process and police procedure in Michigan. Unit 3: The Police: This unit examines police methods and investigations. The unit will provide students with a basic understanding of how the law is enforced on a daily basis and the limitations of police authority in the State of Michigan. Finally, students will also be educated on students rights in schools. Unit 4: The Courts: This unit will investigate an overview of the criminal case process. Students will learn about the criminal steps involved when a law is broken in the State of Michigan. Topics will include investigation procedure, the arrest, pre-trial and trial procedures in Michigan and finally sentencing and acquittal. Unit 5: Corrections: This unit looks at the purpose of punishment in the U.S and will force students to question whether certain procedures are effective. Students will learn about correctional facilities in the State of Michigan, as well as the alternatives to prison that are utilized. Special focus will be given to the debate around using the death penalty as a crime deterrent and punishment.