Practical Problem Paper Assignment The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to develop your college level research, writing, and critical analysis skills in applying what we’ve learned during the year in the area of criminal justice. Both Serial & Making A Murderer explore the state of justice in America today and contain elements that are reflected in many other criminal cases throughout our nation. I want you to have a dialogue about these issues in an open-minded and fact-based way. Your paper therefore must provide sufficient research and may not be based exclusively on your personal opinion.
You may choose one of the following topics:
1. Listen to the Serial Podcast Season 1 (trust me, it really is compelling) ( https://serialpodcast.org). There are 12 episodes each approximately 45-60 minutes long. Here’s what it’s about: on January 13, 1999, a high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared after school in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. Two weeks after that, her former boyfriend and classmate, 17-year-old Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime. He was convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Adnan (the defendant) has always said he had nothing to do with Lee’s death. The podcast explores the police investigations, the attorneys, documents, trial testimony, and conversations with Adnan and witnesses to try and discover the truth behind the murder. The podcast spurred the courts to re-evaluate Adnan’s arrest and in February 2016, he has a “postconviction relief” hearing to determine what should be done.
2. OR 2. Watch the Netflix original documentary, Making a Murderer (another riveting option!). There are 10 episodes each approximately 60 minutes long. Here’s what it’s about: Steven Avery is a Wisconsin man who served 18 years in prison for a wrongful sexual assault conviction in 1985. After his exoneration in 2003 and within 2 years of his release, in the midst of his lawsuit against the police department for his original conviction, he’s arrested for the sexual assault and murder of a woman. The movie explores the police investigation, possible bias, police and attorneys’ behaviors and ethics, the media, and a whole slew of other controversies. You may use our class discussions, your own critical thinking, or our text to help you in identifying items for discussion in your paper. Below are some issues that arose when I was thinking about the topic – you can use them or not. I’ve listed them solely to get your “juices flowing.”
CONFESSIONS, INTERROGATION OF MINORS, and/or DEVELOPMENTALLY CHALLENGED ,WITNESS TESTIMONY BIAS, USE OF MEDIA, DUTY OF ATTORNEY TO CLIENT, MISCONDUCT & ETHICS, FORENSICS, EVIDENCE, PRISONS & JAILS, CAUSES OF CRIME, PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE, JUVENILE JUSTICE, STANDARD OF PROOF, SEARCHES & SEIZURES, POLICE DISCRETION
Practical Problem Paper Topic After watching/listening to your chosen story to completion (I binged them both – great fun!), your paper must meet the following requirements:
1. Be FIVE (5) PAGES, double-spaced, 12-point font with 1" margins and APA formatted, including intext citations.
2. COVER PAGE with name, date, and topic (cover sheet does NOT count as any of the required length)
3. Contain FIVE (5) full pages of text (cover page and reference page NOT included in the total page count)
4. Be written from an objective standpoint
5. Include the following sections: Introduction, Analysis/Research, Discussion, and Conclusion a. Your Introduction must address which three + (3+) issues you will be discussing, provide a brief background of the issue, and provide a thesis statement regarding your analysis. b. Your Analysis must contain the bulk of your research. Identify at least three (3+) things that our justice system (which may include police, attorneys, courts, or prisons) did incorrectly in your chosen case. You must identify what they should have done, citing the current rules and/or scholarly information (for example, if you’re discussing interrogation of juveniles, are there rules that must be followed? If so, cite and explore them when you’re discussing the issue). Additionally, explore the impact that the mistakes/errors had on the outcome in the situation. c. Your Discussion must evaluate the research you have presented above.
6. The paper must include at least 4 sources (including at least 2 scholarly journal articles) as references.
7. The paper must contain a REFERENCE page (your reference page does NOT count as any of the 5 pages).
Your research for this assignment will need to go beyond the traditional Google search. You will need to use credible sources for your research. Wikipedia is not a credible source and should never be cited.. A suggested list of professional journal articles and other related criminal justice and social science resources include (but are not limited to)(see MC Library webpage at: http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/library/fulltextremote.htm)
1. Scholarly or Professional Journals (Criminology, Sociology, Crime and Delinquency, Criminology & Public Policy, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Journal of Criminal Justice, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, law review articles, etc.)
2. The Bureau of Justice Statistics ( http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/)
3. United States Sentencing Commission ( http://www.ussc.gov/ )
4. National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
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