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 Course Title:   Constitutional Law Issues in Law Enforcement

 Title Abbreviation:   CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

 Department:    CJ

 Course #:    204

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5

 CIP:    430103

 EPC:    832

 REV:    2017

 Course Description  

Examines the Washington State and U.S. Constitutions as they relate to criminal justice procedures and practices. Overview of the myriad of federal and state court decisions governing law enforcement operations. Explores the applicability of the requirements of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as they apply to the laws of arrest, probable cause, search and seizure, the search of the person, premises, motor vehicles and emergency searches; interrogations, lineups, and other investigative practices.


Prerequisite: CJ& 101 and CJ 111.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 55

Lab: 0

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Vocational Preparatory Required for ATA degree  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the major systems for reporting supreme court cases and will demonstrate an ability, suitable to law enforcement officers, to write a brief account of such cases.
  2. Describe events leading to adoption of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Explain how constitutional questions reach the United States Supreme Court.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the void for vagueness doctrine, public forum, and the content neutrality principle.
  4. Relate the concept of investigative detention to the development and practice of the laws of arrest.
  5. Demonstrate a working knowledge of arrest and search and seizure and apply it to the concept of search incidental to arrest.
  6. Describe the historical aspects of the evolution of wiretapping and eavesdropping. Also relate the importance of governmental electronic surveillance and the general state of the law at a federal and state level.
  7. Develop a study and analysis of the US Constitution with special emphasis on those amendments to the Constitution, which affect the administration of justice.
  8. Study and analysis of the principles and theories which limit the authority and powers of the state and local governments.
  9. Study of the specific guidelines that must be followed by those involved in the criminal justice process.
  10. Itemize in respect to “probable cause” which includes the definition, illustrations, ingredients of probable cause, and the meaning and application of Beck v. Ohio; plus
    • The basis for the methodical build-up of probable cause for the planned arrest as opposed to the immediate confrontation or emergency arrest.
  11. Relate the meaning of the Statute of Limitations to include basic application to felonies, misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, and what is meant by tolling a statute of limitations, how one is tilled, to include the effect of running the Statute of Limitations.
  12. Describe the problems of detentions without arrest, and considerations involved.
  13. Describe the Washington State rules for officer’s power of arrest and the limited data available in the State of Washington on the citizen’s power of arrest.
  14. Relate the applicable rules (and source) for obtaining a search warrant, when must it be executed, when returned, and on what basis must a search warrant be founded.

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

0. Application and Integration

Definition: Applying information from one or more disciplines and/or field experiences in new contexts (Outcome 0.1); developing integrated approaches or responses to personal, academic, professional, and social issues (Outcomes 0.2-0.5).

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
0.3 Identify and evaluate the relationships among different perspectives within a field of study and among different fields of study.

1. Information Literacy

Definition: Recognizing when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
1.2 Access the needed information effectively, efficiently, ethically, and legally.
1.3 Evaluate information and its sources critically.
1.4 Evaluate issues (for example economic, legal, historic, social) surrounding the use of information.

2. Critical Thinking

Definition: The ability to think critically about the nature of knowledge within a discipline and about the ways in which that knowledge is constructed and validated and to be sensitive to the ways these processes often vary among disciplines.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
2.1 Identify and express concepts, terms, and facts related to a specific discipline.
2.2 Analyze issues and develop questions within a discipline.
2.4 Evaluate decisions by analyzing outcomes and the impact of actions.

3. Communication

Definition: Understanding and producing effective written, spoken, visual, and non-verbal communication.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
3.1 Recognize, read, and comprehend academic and/or professional writing.
3.2 Recognize, produce and demonstrate appropriate interpersonal, group, and public speaking skills.

6. Individual Awareness & Responsibility

Definition: Understanding, managing, and taking responsibility for one’s learning and behavior in varied and changing environments.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
6.2 Demonstrate standards of professionalism in manner, appearance, and setting appropriate to the context, including the classroom, workplace, and community.
6.4 Use self-reflection to recognize and define a sense of self-identity in personal, social/gender, and/or cultural/global terms and in relationship to others.

Course Contents

  1. U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Constitutional history. Authority to detain and arrest.
  2. Wiretapping and eavesdropping. Self-incrimination.
  3. Double jeopardy. Speech, press, assembly.
  4. Search and seizure. Interrogation and confessions.
  5. Assistance of council.
  6. Probable cause: Its definition, illustrations, basis for the methodical build-up of probable cause, and Beck v. Ohio.
  7. Statute of Limitations. Problems of detentions without arrest and considerations involved.
  8. Washington State rules for officer’s power of arrest and the limited data available in the State of Washington on the citizen’s power of arrest.
  9. Applicable rules (and source) for obtaining a search warrant, when must it be executed, when returned, and on what basis must a search warrant be founded.