Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3


Practical Law
2012-2013 Syllabus

Practical Law is a course that explores the concept of law, daily applications of students constitutional rights, the criminal justice process, and modern topics in field of criminal law. The purpose of the class is to provide learners with a broad understanding of the law, while familiarizing them with the workings of the legal system. By the end of this course, students will be able to explain how the legal system affects our society on a daily basis, and will be much more prepared to navigate life outside the classroom.

Contact Information:
Name: John Truesdell Education: B.A. Education (Social Studies & Earth/Space Science), University of Michigan. Email: jtruesdell@sjschools.org Phone: 269-926-3344 (Please call between 7:00 - 7:50 am or 3:10 - 430pm) Twitter: @MrTruesdellSJHS Room: #217 (Burgundy Hallway)

Twitter Announcements:
In an effort to remind students about class information, news, and updates, I may post important announcements on my twitter feed (@MrTruesdellSJHS) after 3:05pm on a regular basis. These posts will simply mirror in class announcements and act as reminders to help students keep track of their responsibilities.

Course Objectives:
Students will understand and apply: The need/purpose for laws in our society and the specific functions and limitations new potential laws must consider. The major social, economic, political protections offered through the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. The major components, duties, roles, and processes of the criminal justice system. The function citizens play by taking key roles in the criminal justice system. The basic purpose of civil law in our society, and how it differs from criminal law.

Truesdell Classroom Policies:

1. RESPECT: Above all else, everyone in classroom #217 will respect themselves, each other, and the learning environment. This class will explore sensitive issues that require students to demonstrate mature behavior. I understand that respect is a two way street. This expectation applies not only to students but to the teacher as well. Be Prepared: Entering the classroom ready to learn means bringing the proper supplies each day. On a daily basis, students should bring a binder, paper, and a writing utensil. Students will receive 24 hour notification if any additional supplies such as a textbook are required. Extra materials are available in the Student Activity Center but are very limited. Be Responsible: I recognize that most of you will be going to college or entering the real world in a very short time. As a result, I will treat you like young adults. In return, I expect you to demonstrate a high level of self accountability by keeping organized and staying on top of your work. Ask Questions: Expectations and instructions will always be laid out as clearly as possible. However, even the greatest thinkers will sometimes become confused (most likely because of their teachers!). Never be afraid to approach me to ask questions or clarify an explanation. Have a Good Attitude & Have Some Fun: This class is heavily driven by student discussion and participation. That means Im relying on you guys to push this class to become a fun exploration of the criminal justice system.





Late Work:
Work should be turned in on time. Unexcused late work will be accepted within 24 hours of the original due date for credit.

Plagiarism is defined in the Webster dictionary as, The practice of taking someone elses work or ideas and passing them off as ones own. Simple Rule: DO NOT copy, steal, or use information from another source without the proper citation. Plagiarism will be dealt with as outlined in the student handbook.

Absences are the best way to guarantee that you will not learn anything. Much of what we will do in this class cannot easily be made up. I will adhere to the student handbooks policies regarding attendance. Classroom discussions, guest speakers, and simulations are very difficult to find in a textbook, so make it a top priority to show up for class. Additional information to know: Unexcused absences on test or quiz days will result in a 25% reduction of your test score. All tests and quizzes must be made up within three days of your return (excused or unexcused). Additional delays will result in a reduction of your test/quiz score. (10% per day). Unexcused absences on a test or quiz day will result in an immediate 0 plugged into Powerbook until you come speak to me about making it up. After a student has received more than 10 unexcused absences, they must complete a Law & Society Portfolio in order to be allowed to take the semester exam. This includes: o Speaking to Mr. Truesdell about completing & turning in all missing work at a C level or higher. o Completing all remaining semester work on time and at a minimum of a C average. o Performing an Outside Civic Project as determined by Mr. Truesdell

100 93% = A 92 90% = A89 87% = B+ 86 83% = B 82 80% = B79 77% = C+ 76 73% = C 72 70% = C69 67% = D+ 66 63% = D 62 60% = D59 00% = F

Note: Extra credit will be earned, not given. Opportunities for extra credit will be available at certain points throughout the semester, and will typically require students to become engaged with the community. Students will be notified of these opportunities as they arise.


Course Structure:
Below is a loose roadmap for Law & Society this semester. Changes to units and timing are possible, as I am constantly looking for ways to improve the course. Unit 1: The Concept of the Law: The purpose of this unit is for students to understand why society has deemed it necessary to have laws. Students will create their own laws in order to recognize and identify the need for different types of laws. In addition, students will learn about the need to classify and limit specific types of laws. Unit 2: Constitutional Applications in Society: In this unit students will analyze passages of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, in order to understand how this important legal document affects our live on a daily basis. Students will learn about key topics such as Eminent Domain, Double Jeopardy, Search & Seizure, Self Incrimination, Freedom of Speech, and much more! Unit 3: The Criminal Justice Process: This unit seeks to teach students the key steps involved in the criminal justice process. From arrest to sentencing, students will be able to explain and understand the key processes, people, and procedures involved in the criminal justice process. This unit will include a field trip to the Berrien County Courthouse and Jail (Hopefully!). Unit 4: Mock Trial: This unit will utilize and apply many of the key concepts and ideas from Unit 3. Students will be assigned roles as prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses, and defendants in order to prepare and act out a simulated criminal court case. The trial will be performed as an in class performance assessment in front of a live jury. To the winner goes free pizza! Unit 5: Civil Law: The remaining few weeks of the semester seeks to familiarize and introduce students to the VAST field of civil law, with an emphasis on Torts. Students will survey, discuss, and debate different topics in the field of civil law (Such as should you be able to sue McDonalds for hot coffee??) in order to become more aware of the function civil law plays in our society.