Law 720 - Criminal Trial Advocacy

Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Lecturer in Law
B.S. University of Maryland, 1993
J.D. University of Maryland School of Law, 1999
M.B.A IE Business School, 2009
Course Description:

This course will be graded on a P/U/NC basis. Students are allowed to take only one Trial Advocacy related course (Civil, Criminal or Year-long) in their 2nd or 3rd year due to overlap in course content.

This course explores theoretical and practical aspects of the criminal trial process and provides training in the skills needed to represent the prosecution and the defense in criminal trials. Classes consider the principle function of criminal trials--the resolution of disputed questions of fact in determining guilt--and the trial lawyer’s role in presenting persuasive evidence to the judges and jurors who perform that function. Classes focus on the development of specific trial skills in such tasks as fact analysis, conducting direct and cross examinations, making opening statements and closing arguments, using exhibits, and making and responding to evidentiary objections.  In addition, classes address legal issues relating to aspects of criminal trials including jury selection, discovery, the use of informants, and ethical obligations of both the prosecution and defense.  These subjects are presented through a combination of lecture, discussion, demonstration, and simulated role-playing exercises. Simulations are videotaped and critiqued by the instructor. 

Course Learning Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course, students will confidentially understand the fundamentals of opening statements, closing argument, direct examinations and cross examinations from the defense and prosecution perspective. 

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Peter Johnson 20F 720 LEC 1 TR 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM 3.0 No No
  Experiential course enrollment through separate process; deadline July 27, noon. See ENROLL.LAW.UCLA.EDU. Early drop deadline: 5:00 pm on 8/28/2020.
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Fall 2020 LEC 1
Cochran, Donald Q. United States v. Clark  2nd ed.  
ISBN: 9781601564276. National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). REQUIRED $38.00
Bergman, Paul. Trial Advocacy in a Nutshell  6th ed.  
ISBN: 9781683282211. West Academic. OPTIONAL $50.00
Notes: Recommended Reading
Read, D. Shane. Winning at Trial    
ISBN: 9781601560018. National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). OPTIONAL $99.26
Notes: Recommended Reading