Criminal Justice?: Netflix's Making a Murderer

Credits: 2.00
Faculty: I. Bennett Capers, Jocelyn Simonson

Pre-requisites recommended but not required: Evidence, Criminal Procedure I and/or Criminal Procedure II. Co-taught by a former prosecutor and a former defense lawyer, this course will examine the wide ranging legal issues in the highly acclaimed Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer." The ten-part documentary examines Steven Avery?s conviction and 18-year prison sentence for sexual assault and attempted murder, his release after being exonerated through DNA evidence, and then his subsequent arrest and prosecution, together with his nephew, on new kidnapping, sexual assault, and homicide charges. Through clips from the documentary, trial transcripts, and additional readings, this capstone course will reexamine Steven Avery?s two prosecutions, and the prosecution of his nephew, at every stage, exploring a host of issues relating to substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, professional ethics, sentencing, and appellate review. Among other things, students will be required to think critically, argue motions, examine and cross-examine witnesses,and conduct research.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with pass fail option. Students will be graded on class participation, oral arguments, and their written work. Students seeking to satisfy the UCWR will be required to write a 20-25 page appellate brief.