LAW 103 — Know Your Rights: The US Constitution, Individual Liberties, and Government Power
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 18—Jun 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: May 1
Instructor(s): Rachel Thomas
Apr 18—Jun 6
In this introductory course, we will read and discuss parts of the Constitution that have taken on greater importance in today’s political climate: our liberties vis-à-vis law enforcement and the government. Along the way, we will explore key questions embedded in the Bill of Rights, including the freedom from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures protected by the Fourth Amendment, the right not to be compelled as a witness against oneself set forth in the Fifth Amendment, and the right to legal counsel and a speedy public jury trial promised in the Sixth Amendment. As we proceed, we will consider the practical applications of these amendments to the Constitution and the ways that the protections of the Constitution are implemented in courtrooms every day. We will debate when a person has the right to remain silent, when an individual is entitled to an attorney, under what circumstances the police can detain or arrest a person, where due process applies, and when the police can search a person’s home, vehicle, or smartphone. We will discuss the interplay between the Constitution and controversial police and government practices that often make headlines. To understand these constitutional principles, we will read the relevant constitutional amendments, as well as excerpts from historical and recent important US Supreme Court cases.
Rachel Thomas, AttorneyRachel Thomas is a criminal attorney and former prosecutor with experience in the district attorneys’ offices of Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. She received a JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she received the Edward J. McFetridge Award for Excellence in Advocacy and the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in legal ethics.
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.