Court Observation

Students are required to observe and report on CRIMINAL court proceedings. This assignment is intended to give the student an opportunity to see the practical application of concepts learned in class lecture and assigned readings.

You can attend/observe court ONLINE due to covid.

Online Court Observation Resources: (Links to an external site.) — this is the link to the live and previously recorded California Supreme Court oral arguments

There are centrally located courts at both the federal and state level here in Sacramento. You should begin the visitation component of this project IMMEDIATELY.

Do NOT observe civil proceedings – only criminal proceedings will satisfy the requirement for the project.

For all observations you MUST INCLUDE:

The judge’s name, address, date, start/end time of visit, and department # of the court; if some of this information is not available due to watching the proceedings online, simply note as much of it as possible.

A summary of the proceedings observed: please include comparisons to the class textbook’s description of the proceedings (the textbook should be one of your references)
A critical comparison from the literature: You must also choose 1 LAW REVIEW / LAW JOURNAL article that relates to criminal judicial process; your paper should compare and contrast some aspect of your observation experiences with what you read about in the article. Law journals typically have the name of a law school in the title (e.g. Yale Law Review, Pacific Law Journal). If you are not sure whether the article you have chosen is from an appropriate source – CHECK WITH PROF. KUBICEK BEFORE USING IT!
Format & Page Limits:

Your papers must each be entirely your own work.

You may conduct your observations in groups or with friends – but the written project must be entirely your own work. The paper must be type written, double-spaced, and use 12 point font with no larger than 1″ page margins. Your paper must be a minimum of 6 pages. There is no maximum number of pages – remember that *quality* is far more important than quantity! USE APA FORMAT FOR CITATION, A FREE ONLINE APA CITATION GUIDE IS AVAILABLE AT:

Submission of Completed Project:

You must submit your completed project NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 11, 2020 in Canvas – you may attach a file or copy/paste a text submission.

CrJ 121 – Structure and Function of the American Courts

Court Observation Project Grading Rubric

Detailed project instructions and requirements are included in the course syllabus and posted in Canvas.

Summary of Court Observations (40 points possible):

Name/Location(s) of the court
If you attend in person, note the department number(s) of the hearings attended
Name of judge(s) who presided over hearings
Description of the hearings attended including the role of defendants, attorneys, judges, bailiffs, court staff and others in attendance
Evaluation and Comparison of Scholarly Readings (40 points possible):

Description of the proceedings from the course text book “The Constitution and Criminal Judicial Process” by Kubicek & Noble.
Discussion of selected, relevant portions of the text in comparison to court observations
Description of the issues raised/addressed in the scholarly article for comparison
Discussion of the scholarly article in comparison to actual observations
Grammar and Citation (20 points possible):

Correct use of Standard English Grammar
Clear organization of writing
Use of American Psychological Association citation format (for a free online APA Guide visit:

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