this assignment asks you to go and observe an in-person criminal court session. You will get much more from your experience attending in person, so I suggest you still try to attend a court hearing if possible. But for those unable to attend in person, here are recordings of a real criminal trial.
1- Click here (Links to an external site.) for some background of the case. It will provide you context to what you are watching in the Andrea Sneiderman Trial.
2- Click here (Links to an external site.) for the list of videos for that trial. This is a lengthy trial than extends several days. You are not required to watch every video.
Instead, pick a part of the trial of interest to you. Some students are interested in examining witnesses; others are interested in the attorney opening and closing arguments.
So for example, the closing arguments here show each of:
– Defense attorney mocks the state’s case, two of its witnesses and the police investigation into the shooting of the victim. The video ishere (Links to an external site.).
– Prosecutor points the finger directly at the defendant. “You’re a liar!” James said, approaching Sneiderman, who avoided eye contact. “You are a liar!” The video ishere (Links to an external site.)
So click on the video that shows the part of the video that interests you. Just make sure to watch enough of the trial for you to meaningfully answer the assignment questions here.
To give you a good overview of the overall trial, you can watch pieces (approx. 20mins) of a few videos. Your paper would then be a compare and contrast of the different stages. Or you can watch one video to detail your observation of one stage.
3- As you watch the videos, take brief notes. But you should not need much case detail, as the key to this assignment is not to summarize or teach me about the case.
Instead, your paper must show you actively observed the hearing, meaningfully reflected on what you saw regarding the court process and interactions, and explained it to me in enough detail so I could understand what you watched.
please answer this in the paper:
- Write a Report summarizing your observation
This is not a writing exam. You are, instead, graded on the substance and quality of your observation. In 1 1/2 – 2 pages, your paper must address each of:
- 1- The name of each case you watched with the court number. (the case’s name is also posted on the outside of the courtroom door.)
- 2- Describe what you observed in the courtroom. This should include but is not limited to:
- a- Describe the environment. Was it chaotic? Calm? Fast paced? Organized?
- b- Approximately how many people were in the courtroom during the hearing?
- c- List the persons you saw in the courtroom. (identify more than just the attorneys and judge)
- d- Describe what each person was doing during the hearing? Who actively participated in the hearing? Describe if and how the person’s role changed?
- 3- Summarize what you learned about the case
- a – What type of case is it? Reentry? Trial?
- b- What was the crime?
- c- What does the defendant want to happen? What did the attorney argue?
- d- What does the Prosecutor want to happen? What did the attorney argue?
- e- Does anyone else make a request to the judge (e.g., victim, probation, etc.)? If so, summarize the request?
- f- What did the judge decide? What reason did the judge give?
- 4- Describe the courtroom after the judge’s decision
- a- What was the environment (e.g., tense? Calm? etc.)
- b- Describe the reaction of the people in the courtroom?
- 5- Do you think the judge made the right decision? Explain why.
- 6- Finally, what were your overall comments/observation? Explain why.
- a- What specifically went well?
- b – What specifically was bad?
- c- What was the hardest thing to watch happen?
- d- What made no sense to you?
If you cannot anwer each of these questions by watching one hearing or trial, you must watch an additional hearing or trial to get more detail.