Fall 2014
5397 Texas Criminal Appellate Procedure - WICOFF- 25379

Professor(s): Bob Wicoff (ADJUNCT)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 

Time: 9:00a-10:30a  TTHLocation: 113  BLB

Course Outline: This upper-level class will focus on state criminal appellate procedure, with emphasis placed on the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure and, where applicable to state appellate practice, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The general approach of this course will be twofold: 1) to examine case law interpretation of the procedural rules that govern post-judgment criminal procedure in Texas, from motions for new trial through state post-conviction writs of habeas corpus; and 2) to discuss the most common substantive issues which arise in appellate proceedings in state courts, including claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, evidence sufficiency law, appellate review of jury charge error, Brady violations and actual innocence claims.
Throughout this course, practical and strategic aspects of appellate practice will regularly be discussed. In addition to reading assigned cases, students will be required to read an appellate transcript of an appeal that has been handled by the Harris County Public Defender’s Office appellate division, thereby seeing how the subject matter of the course applies, step-by-step, to an actual appeal. The students will also be invited to watch the oral argument that is held in the case. The aim is to provide students with an appropriate mix of theory and practice. So, for example, you will not only learn the rules regarding appeals, but will be provided with an appellate record that illustrates much of what you learn. Additionally, you will not only have that record as an illustration of what is being discussed in class, but you will be taught how to read that record if you were charged with handling the appeal.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus updated 7/30/14

Appeals that we will be following this semester

Course Notes:   The primary reading material in the course will be written material provided by the instructor regarding Texas criminal appellate practice. In addition to being responsible for reading this general review, students will also be responsible for reading assigned cases within such material that the instructor will designate as mandatory reading. It will be necessary to obtain a copy of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. Professor Secrest’s Texas Criminal Codes plus contains those rules with annotations. Either the 2012-2013 or 2013-2014 edition would be fine, but purchase of such text is optional. All that students are required to have is a copy of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, which may be accessed online at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/rules/traphome.asp.
In addition to the reading materials listed above, students will regularly be required to read new opinions issued by the Court of Criminal Appeals and various courts of appeals, as specifically assigned by the professor. Each class will conclude with one or two students presenting a recent case that has been assigned to him or her from the CCA or court of appeals “hand-downs.” Cases will be assigned which either deal with important issues of criminal appellate procedure or which serve as an illustration of how post-conviction procedure works in Texas state courts.
A CD containing a complete appellate record from a case handled by the Harris County Public Defender’s Office Appellate Division will be distributed to the students at the first class. This record will be used to illustrate the topics that are discussed in each class. Excerpts from other appellate records will also be distributed to the class as needed. These records will enable students to become familiar with actual examples of the procedures discussed in class.

Adjunct Professor Bob Wicoff is Chief of the Appellate Division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. His professional bio can be found here: http://harriscountypublicdefender.org/about/staff/bob-wicoff/

Prerequisites:  

First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule: 12/09 9am-11am      

This course will have:
Exam:
Paper:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Course Materials (4/1/2014 11:11:39 AM)

No book required for this course

Per professor - (1) It is necessary to obtain a copy of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. Professor Secrest’s Texas Criminal Codes plus contains those rules with annotations. Either the 2012-2013 or 2013-2014 edition but purchase of this text is optional. (2) All that students are required to have is a copy of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, which may be accessed online at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/rules/traphome.asp