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Fall 2020
7305 WRS: Hot Topics in Criminal Law & Procedure - THOMPSON- 17067

Professor(s): Sandra Thompson (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 

Time: 1:00p-2:30p  TTH  Location:  

Course Outline: The seminar in “Hot Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure” will meet to discuss readings on some of the most pressing issues in the field. We will discuss readings that include law review articles, case law, and other types of materials. Topics may include forensic science, wrongful convictions, race in criminal justice, and best practices for bail hearings, mental health and criminal justice, and electronic surveillance, among other topics. Several guest speakers will lead class discussions. In addition, there is an optional field trip to a local area prison. The course is graded based on class preparation and participation and the writing of a 35-page seminar paper. A law librarian and a member of the Lawyering Skills and Strategies program will meet with the class to provide guidance on researching and writing the seminar paper.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus REVISED 10/01/2020

Course Notes: DistanceEd  The instructor for this course has expressed a preference to operate the course as distance education. This means no physical classroom is assigned for this course. This also most likely means synchronous internet videoconferencing class sessions during the day(s) and time(s) when the course is scheduled to meet. However, other, more flexible modalities are possible, such as not using some of the scheduled class sessions to meet but instead supplementing with asynchronous distance education techniques. More details should be made available from the instructor via their syllabus or via other means as the start of the semester nears.


This class is intended as advanced training in criminal law and procedure for students who are planning to practice criminal law. Please do not register for this class if you do not plan to practice criminal law.


First Day Assignments: Zoom meeting information can be found on Blackboard

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: Yes

Experiential Course Type: No

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA 306:

Pass-Fail Student Election: Unavailable (Instructor Preference)

Course Materials (7/20/2020 10:06:18 AM)

Book(s) Required

Course Materials: (1) Plain English for Lawyers. (2) Sally E. Hadden, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas. (3) Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents (Brook Thomas, ed.) (4) Gilbert King, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America (5) Brandon Garrett, Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong