Criminal Practice: Courses

In addition to basic first-year courses in Criminal Law and Constitutional Law, Oregon Law’s Criminal Justice Program curriculum offers specialized upper-level instruction in various related topics.


Children & the Law 

Topics include the constitutional framework for allocating the power to make decisions about children among parents, children, and state agents; control of education; health care decision making, the child welfare system; legal solutions to conflict between adolescents and their parents; and juvenile delinquency and the juvenile justice system.


Constitutional Law I A

Topics include the guarantees of individual rights against the government, especially the freedom of expression and equal protection of the law.


Criminal Investigation 

Examines the regulation of law enforcement investigatory practices – searches and seizures, the eliciting of confessions, and lineups and other identification procedures. Course materials analyze various constitutional and statutory constraints on law enforcement practices.


Domestic Violence Seminar 

Examines the legal system's response to the problem of domestic violence, including criminal avenues of redress. Analyzes issues of gender, power, and violence; the law as an instrument of social change; and the intersection of legal theory and practice.



Covers the structure of the adversary system; role of judge, jury, and attorney in the fact-finding process; sufficiency of evidence; order of proof; presumptions; relevancy; judicial notice; real and documentary evidence; form and elicitation of oral testimony; impeachment and rehabilitation of witnesses; the hearsay rule and its exceptions; privileges. Addresses practical problems in the introduction of evidence and trial tactics and methods.


Federal Jurisdiction

Addresses the role of federal courts in the operation of the federal system. Includes analysis of constitutional and legislative foundations of the judicial power of the United States; jurisdiction; venue; federal and state court relationships; the law applied by federal courts; procedure in the federal district courts; appellate jurisdiction and procedure in courts of appeal and the Supreme Court.


Forensic Science & Criminal Law

Examines various scientific disciplines in criminal investigation, prosecution, and defense. Topics include crime scene investigation, analysis of physical evidence and trace evidence, forensic toxicology, serology, DNA analysis, fingerprint comparison, firearms analysis, document examination, and forensic pathology.


Immigration Law 

Covers statutory, constitutional, and administrative law and policy issues relating to foreign nationals and their relationship with the U.S. government. Topics include laws and procedures governing people who want to enter or remain in this country, temporarily or permanently, for purposes such as work, study, investment, and family reunification. Also covers policies, procedures, grounds, and relief in deportation and exclusion proceedings where the government seeks to remove from the United States aliens who are charged with violating the immigration laws.


Innovations in Criminal Justice 

Examines innovation in the policy, law, science, and practice of criminal justice. Focusing on cutting-edge approaches to recidivism reduction in the federal criminal justice system, discussion will center on the use of therapeutic jurisprudence grounded in evidence-based practice.


International Law 

This course introduces students to the growing field of International Criminal Law and transitional justice. Course materials include a study of specialized international criminal tribunals (ICT-Yugoslavia and ICT-Rwanda) and Special Courts (Sierra Leone), hybrid tribunals (DRC, Liberia), and the establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition to the machinery of punitive judicial processes, the course critically examines the field of transitional justice in countries emerging from brutal periods in their history. Students are exposed to the choices countries face in opting between punitive and restorative justice.


Legal Profession 

Addresses the Model Code of Professional Responsibility, the Code of Judicial Ethics, roles and functions of lawyers in society, organization and functions of the bar, provision of legal service, responsibilities in representing clients, and the future of the legal profession.


Mental Health in Criminal Law 

Addresses mental-health issues that commonly arise in criminal prosecutions. Covers topics in criminal law and procedure relating to mental health, including: insanity and related defenses, competency, commitment, regulation of sex offenders, sentencing mitigation, access to psychiatric experts, addiction, and alternate dispositions. Focuses on the major psychoses and the psychiatric concepts of the sociopath, as well as substance-abuse issues and mental retardation. Explores the use of mental-health experts in criminal proceedings, mental disability, incompetency to stand trial, incompetent pretrial detainees, the involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication, and mental-health issues in death-penalty cases, including the propriety of psychiatric predictions of violent behavior and the significance of risk-assessment instruments and the role of mental-health issues in death-sentence mitigation hearings.



Develops negotiation skills for crafting deals and resolving disputes, including through plea bargaining in criminal cases. Examines analytic frameworks, interpersonal styles, strategic choices, and observation skills specific to negotiation.


Race, Gender, Bias, & the Law 

Examines the various ways that the law deals with bias related to race, gender, and other social categories in light of current social-psychological understanding about how such biases influence perception, judgment, and behavior.


Trial Practice 

Examines and develops courtroom skills for civil and criminal cases. Covers opening statement, direct examination, cross-examination, objections, closing argument, and voir dire of juries.


Tribal Courts & Tribal Law 

Frames tribal justice systems in the federal-tribal-state matrix, including basic concepts of sovereignty and jurisdiction in criminal contexts. Explores the administration of justice in tribal courts, with special emphasis on Oregon tribal courts, and examines how tribal judges incorporate customary law and traditional dispute resolution practices, as well as laws from other jurisdictions, into their own written decisions.


White Collar Crime 

Includes mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, tax fraud, public corruption, and environmental crimes with heavy emphasis on the practical aspects of these topics. Handouts and discussion focus on indictments, plea agreements, and the U.S. sentencing guidelines.