University of Houston Law Center Logo Give Now  

Printable Version

Fall 2023

7305 WRS: Hot Topics in Criminal Law & Procedure - THOMPSON- 18242

Professor(s): Sandra Thompson (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 

Time: 1:00p-2:30p  MW  Location: 260 

Course Outline: The seminar in “Hot Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure” will meet to discuss readings on some of the most pressing issues in the field. We will discuss readings that include law review articles, case law, and other types of materials. Topics may include forensic science, wrongful convictions, race in criminal justice, and best practices for bail hearings, mental health and criminal justice, and electronic surveillance, among other topics. Several guest speakers will lead class discussions. In addition, there is an optional field trip to a local area prison. The course is graded based on class preparation and participation and the writing of a 35-page seminar paper. A law librarian and a member of the Lawyering Skills and Strategies program will meet with the class to provide guidance on researching and writing the seminar paper.

Course Syllabus: Please login to Canva to see the syllabus.

Course Notes: (Face-to-Face)  The UH registration system instruction mode for this course is listed in parenthesis. After student registration opens, there may be instruction mode changes to this course up through two weeks before the first day of classes for the term, but notice of such changes will be sent to then-registered students. For this instruction mode, instructors and students are expected to normally be physically present in the classroom. If the course has a final examination, it will be in a classroom requiring your physical presence. Other assessment, such as a mid term exam, may also be in a classroom. Whether this instructor will offer “remote presence” (starting a zoom meeting from the podium computer to enable student remote access on an occasional basis) for part or all of the semester is not known, but students should not rely on an expectation that remote presence will be available.


This class is intended as advanced training in criminal law and procedure for students who are planning to practice criminal law. Please do not register for this class if you do not plan to practice criminal law.


First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: Yes

Experiential Course Type: No

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA: No

Pass-Fail Student Election: Unavailable (Instructor Preference)

Course Materials

Book(s) Required

Course Materials: (1) Plain English for Lawyers (6th edition) ISBN: 9781531006990 (2) Sally E. Hadden, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas. ISBN: 9780674012349 (3) Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents (Brook Thomas, ed.) ISBN: 9780312137434 (4) Gilbert King, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America ISBN: 9780061792267 (5) Brandon Garrett, Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong ISBN: 9780674066113

University of Houston Law Center

4170 Martin Luther King Blvd
Houston, TX 77204-6060

713-743-2100 General
713-743-2094 Legal Clinics