Criminal Procedure II, Criminal Litigation (scroll down)

Criminal Procedure II is truly worth taking.  The class picks up where Crim Pro I leaves off.  In other words, the material covered focuses heavily on the procedural processes of a criminal defendant after issues about his fourth and fifth amendment rights have come into question.  This includes: Preliminary Hearings, Bail Hearings, Jury Selection, Appeals.  There is some overlap with Crim Pro I such as a defendant's 6th Amendment right to counsel, but that's basically it.  

What makes the class truly worth taking is the professor who teaches it.  Brent Newton is awesome.  He definetly rivals Rosenberg's intensity level. This Southerner flies around the room like a baptist preacher, mixing instruction with his own anecdotal stories that are interesting and highly applicable to the material. He really gives his students a real world perspective about the criminal process since he is a federal public defender by day.  He tells you the first day of class, that the only stuff on the exam will be what coems out of his mouth. Thus, if you pay attention to him, you do not have to read. Trust me, its not hard to pay attention. 

He also fully reviews each class from the previous session which helps a lot.  At the end of the course, he provides you with an outline and reviews the ENTIRE course over again (also with the same intensity as his normal class instruction).   This class gets 4 stars.  The only downfall was that it was offered from 6-9 on Monday nights which was grueling.  However, with this type of professor the time moves by quite quickly.  

Criminal Procedure Outline, submitted April 2008 added 04-14-2008

Review submitted by R. Reagan Sahadi, class of '05

Criminal Litigation

This class is fantastic if you have any interest in criminal law.  It is also good practice if you intend to litigate, regardless of what field you are interested in.  The course is substantive (I am not sure how, but it is), and there is no final exam.  You are graded based on your weekly participation in the practice sessions.

The class consists of practice sessions where each person must argue some point of law (assigned the previous week), followed by a fifteen minute lecture on the following week's assignment.  If you are the type of person who needs practice arguing the law to feel comfortable with it, you will certainly get the practice here.  The class is capped at 20 people.  At the beginning of each week you split into two groups.  Brent takes one group and the co-teacher (usually Josh Schaffer) takes the other.  You will argue in front of Brent for half of the classes and the co-teacher for the other half.  This gives you the opportunity to get feedback from two very different personalities.

Speaking of personalities, the professors are one of the key reasons this class works so well.  Brent (he will not let you call him Prof. Newton) is hands down the most dynamic and interesting professor I have encountered at UH (see Reagan Sahadi's discussion of his Crim. Pro. Class).   He genuinely loves teaching, and he is great at it.  If you listen to his feedback, you absolutely will get better at arguing legal issues. 

Josh Schaffer, the co-professor is also fantastic.  He is young, straightforward and energetic about helping students.  He focuses on pointing out differences between what you do in the classroom, and how things work in the "real world."  He will find small things that you do right and wrong in your general presentation style that will make all the difference when you start doing this stuff for real.

The course covers the criminal litigation process from arrest through pretrial motions, the trial, and post conviction pleadings.  While the course is short on legal substance (you can't possibly learn all you need to know about the issues and practice arguing them in a three hour class), you will get a real feel for how to go about handling a criminal case.  I strongly recommend taking this course either at the same time as criminal procedure II, or after completing it.  Your crim pro II foundation will provide you with all the understanding of the issues you will need to excel in the criminal litigation course.

Review submitted by Carole Callaghan, class of '05