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JOSEPH E. DWORAK
BERLINER COHEN
TEN ALMADEN BOULEVARD, SUITE 1100
SAN JOSE, CA 95113
(408) 286-5800
Section 1 (Green) #22479
Monday and Wednesday
10:30am – 11:45am Sweeny Hall
BBC 130
HTEM/HSPM 107 — SPRING 2019 — COURT PROJECT
1.
Background.
A number of students have expressed an interest in the opportunity do work outside the
classroom in addition to the two mid-term examinations and the final examination. Given the
number of students who have made this request, I have decided to afford you the opportunity to
enhance your class grade with an experimental learning project. This Project subject to the
explanation below accounts for about 15% of your grade.
2.
Project.
We are completing the introductory part of the course including information regarding
procedures and the court system. This project will allow you to experience first hand how the court
system works. We are fortunate in San Jose to have trial courts in the Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Clara, the United States Federal District Court and the United States Bankruptcy
Court within walking distance from SJSU. The addresses for these Courts are located below. There
are two addresses for the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, because it has a civil
division and a criminal division.
Before the end of the semester, at a time and date of your choosing, but during the normal
business hours of the court, please visit a court facility. Typically, the court personnel are very
helpful, and if not, there are calendars placed on the various courtrooms. You can spend as much
time as you like, but generally 45 minutes to 90 minutes should be enough to allow you to observe
what is transpiring in the courtroom that you choose. Depending upon the particular day and the
court’s calendar on that day, you may witness a law and motion calendar, a probate calendar, a trial
calendar, or some other calendar. If you need assistance, you may ask the court personnel about the
proceedings that day. If you do please explain this is class project for SJSU designed to begin to
introduce you to the court system. Generally, the court personnel are helpful provided you are polite
and respectful, and do not disrupt the proceedings. If the court is in session, wait until there is a
recess of some sort before approaching any of the court personnel. Typically, the bailiff is the one
who is most accessible. The best times to attend are typically early in the morning around 8:30AM
before the Judge is on the bench, or first thing in the afternoon around 1PM before the Judge is on
the bench. Typically court personnel arrive first, and are ready to proceed before the entry of the
Judge. At these times you will often be able to speak to them without disrupting the proceedings.
After your observations, you are required to prepare a report which will be due the last week
of class. The report will identify the date of your observation, the court which you attended and the
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name of the Judge. More than one student can attend the same proceeding, but each is required to
prepare their own paper. The observations can be done in small groups, but the writing must be
done individually. What you will be writing about will depend upon the matter the court is
addressing that day. Some days may be very interesting. Others are less so. After your observation,
in a type written format, please describe the parties or the proceedings to the best of your ability.
After you have described the nature of the proceedings, please describe what you learned about the
court and conclude with your thoughts and impressions about your observations and the operations
of the Court. This report need not be lengthy. Depending upon your writing skills, a cogent two
page typewritten summary may suffice, but probably the length should be somewhere between two
to five pages.
Santa Clara Superior Court
Civil/Probate
191 N. First Street
San Jose CA 95113
Santa Clara Superior Court
Criminal
190 W. Hedding Street
San Jose CA 95110
United States Bankruptcy Court
280 S. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
United States District Court
280 S. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
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