PO440 Senior Project in Legal Studies

for FA 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


PO 440 Senior Project in Legal Studies


FA 2006 HO


Ronald Brecke



Office Location

Mackay 20A

Office Hours

Tuesday, 10 -1; Thursday, 10-1, or by appointment

Daytime Phone




Web Page


Class Days


Class Time

1:50 - 4:40 PM


PO 302, PO 303 and PO 304

Credit Hours


Mauet, Thomas Trial Techniques, 5th ed. 

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
An advanced course in legal studies focusing on the direct application of legal analysis and basic legal research. Students will utilize provided case materials, research the legal issues, prepare trial or appellate briefs, and present the case to either a jury through witnesses and evidence or to a judicial appellate panel through oral argument. PREREQUISITES: PO 302, PO 303 and PO 304. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
The facilitator's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Research a legal question and prepare motions/briefs.
  2. Prepare witnesses for trial.
  3. Experience a trial in front of a jury/judge; or make appellate arguments in front of an appellate judicial body.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Court Reports






DUE, November 8, 2006, IN CLASS

As a method of acquiring knowledge of and comfort in court situations, this course requires that you attend three trials at different levels within the state court system.  Each of these will require a separate report.  Your experience will be limited in that you will not be an actual participant, but your close observation will pay off in a better understanding of the processes involved.


The following are courts available to your for your reports.


Report #1 - Parkville, Riverside or some other small municipality's municipal court.


Report #2 - Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Court


Report #3 - Platte, Jackson, Johnson, Leavenworth, or Clay county Circuit Courts (do not go to associate circuit courts!!).


Except for the small municipal courts, you are expected to attend the court for at least 4 (four) continuous hours and observe a trial of some sort.  You need not see the trial through to its end. 


Be aware of what is going on around you.  Take notes and then write a report telling of your experience.  Your report must include at least the following:


            1. The date and times you attended the court.

            2. A physical description of the courtroom (use a drawing if you wish).

            3. Describe the kind of court you are observing such as the kinds of cases it

                normally handles.

            4. Describe the officers of the court (judge, bailiff, lawyers, court reporter, jury).

            5. Describe the case (s) you observed and its/their disposition if you know it/them.

            6. Describe any other people in the audience.

            7. Did what you observed match your expectations?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

            8. Give a narrative account of what happened in the courtroom while you were



The report must be typed, double-spaced.  For every five errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling you will lose three points.


Course grades will be determined on the following bases:


            90-100=A                                Trial brief                                              10%

            80-89=B                                  Motions                                                10%

            70-79=C                                  3 Court reports                         10%

            60-69=D                                  Performance in Demonstrations 10%

            0-59=F                                                Performance in Mock Trial                   50%

                                                            Participation                                         10%


Those taking part in the grading will include Professor Brecke, Professor Plumb, Mr. Paul Williams, Attorney at Law, Mr. Myles Perry, Assistant Prosecutor for Platte County, The Honorable Robert Larsen, Federal Magistrate; and various observers of the Mock Trial including judges and lawyers, juries, and audience.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late assignments will lose one letter grade a day or any part thereof.  Anything handed in after class on December 6, 2006 will be counted as a zero.  Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Dean that you be dismissed from Park College.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:


1          Attend classes regularly.  Each absence will lower your cumulative grade for the course by 5%.  There are no excused absences.

2.         Students are responsible for material covered in class while they were absent.

3.         Be prepared for class.  If there is a reading assignment, be sure and have it done.  Many classes will require your input, 10% of your final grade will be determined by your participation.

4.         There are several graded assignments for this course.  Each will be explained at the appropriate time.

5.         Late assignments will lose one letter grade a day or any part thereof.  Anything handed in after class on December 6, 2006 will be counted as a zero.  Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Dean that you be dismissed from Park College.

6.         If you have questions or problems come and see me, call me, or email me.

7.         Any student with special needs or who has a disability in the classroom environment should see me immediately after the first class.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Calendar PO 440  (Tentative and subject to change)



23        Anatomy of a Criminal Trial


30        Anatomy of Civil Trial


6          Legal Research


13        Federal rules of evidence


20        Federal rules of evidence


27        Go over Mauet, Brecke


4          Go over Mauet, Brecke




18 NO Class


25        Demonstration of an opening argument


1          Demonstration of a closing argument


8          Demonstration of  direct


15        Demonstration of cross


22        Student demonstrations


29        Student demonstrations



6          Student demonstrations


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:7/26/2006 12:02:12 PM