Course Syllabus


CJS 120: PA Criminal Law

Online Classroom: 3 credits

  Fall II 2017: Oct 18 – Dec 08


Robert M. Eskra, Esq.


(570) 504-7941


Healey, Room 237


Office Hours

Online through Chat or by phone at a mutually convenient scheduled time.





Schmalleger, Criminal Law Today, 6th Edition. Pearson. 2017.



This course includes a study of the laws, both criminal and civil that law enforcement officials deal with on a daily basis. This includes study and understanding of defined requirements constituting the commission of a criminal act An examination of the fundamental nature of law, its contemporary role and function, and it’s evolving changes in today’s complex society will be presented.. Particular emphasis will be placed on criminal laws in Pennsylvania. Insights into the relevance of today’s laws as they relate to various social issues and reflect the legal perspectives of other jurisdictions will be presented. Additionally, related legal terms and concepts including but not limited to criminal liability, inchoate crimes, defenses, excuses, property crimes as well as personal crimes and offenses against public morality and the Administration of Justice, the victims of crimes, punishment, and sentencing will be presented. 


  1. Describe the fundamental nature of laws
  2. Illustrate the role and function of law in today’s society
  3. Define the difference between property crimes and personal crimes
  4. Determine the legal perspective of other jurisdictions as they relate to the laws to social Issues
  5. Describe legal terms related to Pa Criminal Law

Online Course Attendance Policy:

Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online courses as well.

Attendance is defined by participating in an academic activity within the online classroom, which includes posting in a graded discussion forum or submitting a written assignment. Postings not related to the aforementioned activities will not count for attendance purposes.

 # of Days Required for Discussion in an Online Course

Maximum # of Weeks Allowed without Discussion


Twice on any four days in a week (8 total)




 You are required to engage in discussion at least TWICE on FOUR days throughout the week for a total of EIGHT posts in all, minimum.

  • You should respond to the initial DQs posted AND respond to your classmates.
  • Responses MUST be substantive. See the document titled Good Discussions in your Handouts and Links.
  • Responses that do not move the conversation forward by providing information to which others can respond and build upon will NOT be counted toward your weekly score.
  • Students who miss one week of discussion will be DROPPED from the course.
  • Students who do not log on to the course within the drop/add period for the course will be DROPPED from the course.

 Online Course Discussion Policy

In order to understand, remember, and benefit from what we learn in class, discussion and interaction are critical. Responses such as, “I like what you said.” “I agree.” Or “Good thinking.” are NOT acceptable. Also, you should NOT simply repeat what someone else has already said.

You MUST post no less than 8 times per week – twice on any four days.

Good Discussions in Handouts and Links will help you, but you should also use this rubric to gain all possible points for your contributions and, more importantly, to get the most out of our class discussion!


Online Classroom Discussion and Interaction Rubric


What Should I Do?

Points Available

Did I do This?


Points Earned

Answer both Discussion Questions directly demonstrating a clear understanding of the material, support your response with research or reading, and promote conversation (2 posts)





Respond to at least two classmates’ posts (2 posts)





Continue both conversations with at least one additional reply to each peer (2 posts)





Respond to at least one of the teacher’s secondary questions, conversing with a classmate who responds to the same question (2 posts)





Be sure all responses are detailed and clear and are posted twice on four separate days.





Be sure that all responses relate to the course reading and notes, your own everyday life, or to both





Provides the class with a response that is non-generic and inspiring – meaning that they learn from what you have contributed and can continue the conversation





Use proper grammar, spelling, and netiquette










Withdrawal Policy:

A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Student Affairs Office or from your Center Director, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student stops attending a course for which he/she is registered after the published census date (end of drop/add) without having officially withdrawn from the course, the student will be assigned an AW (penalty-grade failure) for the class. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.

Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy.

Instructor Policies:

Participation – As adults and college students you are all expected to be polite and courteous to your classmates. The subjects we intend to discuss may sometimes range into the controversial, I expect everyone to respect opposing viewpoints and engage in constructive discourse that is free from derogatory remarks or insults. Craft your arguments using logic and facts.

Final Grades – All grades will be considered final and are non-negotiable. I will only change a grade if a clerical error is brought to my attention. To that affect, you should keep a record of every grade that you receive in class so as to ensure that your final grade is accurate.


Participation in Class Discussion – 30%


Exam 1 and 2 – 20%


Historical Reasons Essay – 10%


What is an Attempt Group Work Assignment – 10%


Self Defense Debate – 10%


Attorney Analysis Roleplay – 10%


Design a Punishment Class Collaboration – 10%


Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Quality Points


96 – 100



90 – 95



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66



0 – 59



Due Dates and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will not be accepted. Technical difficulties are NOT a justification for lateness.

Academic Integrity:

Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated either in the online or traditional classrooms. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well.

 The following are among the forms of dishonesty, in a classroom of any type, for which sanctions may be applied:

  • Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted;
  • Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers;
  • Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination;
  • Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently;
  • Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment;
  • Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else;
  • Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved;
  • Stealing examinations or assignments;
  • Supplying or selling examinations or assignments;
  • Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted;
  • Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results;
  • Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.
  • Misrepresenting identity in an online course

 Disability Statement

Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution. Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs. Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab. If you feel that you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Ms. Christine Kiehart in the academic development office to discuss your options. Please note that disability services do not include exemption from participation requirements in courses considered part of the School of Distance Education, including online and hybrid courses.

Lackawanna College Notice of Nondiscrimination

Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices, based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership, or any other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State Law including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and with Federal Law including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Lackawanna College is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from unlawful sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender based harassment. 


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Lackawanna College will not tolerate any forms of sexual misconduct including but not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence and gender-based harassment by employees, students or third parties. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. The College also prohibits retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. This policy applies to admissions, employment, treatment and access to all programs and activities that take place either on or off the campus at Lackawanna College. 


Lackawanna College will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and will take action reasonably designed to resolve the complaint in an equitable manner, end a hostile environment if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and, when appropriate, take steps to remedy its effects on individuals and the college community.

Lackawanna College complies with Title IX and all other federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Reports or inquiries regarding nondiscrimination should be made to:

Title IX Coordinator/ Executive Director of the Student Wellness Program, Marsha Pigga, Angeli Hall, Room 102, 501 Vine Street, Scranton PA, 18509 (570) 955-1466/ (570) 677-7589,

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action inquiries: Georgia Egan, Affirmative Action Officer/Director of Continuing Education, Angeli Hall, Room 300C, Vine Street, Scranton PA (570) 961-7815, or Tony Ferrese, Affirmative Action Officer/Seeley Hall Residence Director, Seeley Hall, First Floor, North Washington Avenue, Scranton PA, (570) 504-1760,

Additional information regarding Title IX requirements and how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights: Office of Civil Rights at, 800-421-3481. Philadelphia Office: Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education, The Wanamaker Building,100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 Telephone: 215-656-8541, Email:   

 Portfolio and Coursework:

Lackawanna College will empower you to experience learning by inspiring your critical thinking, assessing your talents and skills, motivating you toward a career choice, and encouraging you to make a difference. In evidence of this learning, the College requires a graduation portfolio containing Career Documents, including a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a career exploration; Core Coursework, including a research paper from College Writing; three sample papers or projects from Major Coursework; and a Lackawanna College Reflection Paper.

Course Schedule:





Objective Met

Related Assignment, Assessment, or Learning Activity






The Nature and History of Criminal Law




All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 1 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the About You forum posts and syllabus quizzes.

Complete the Week 1 Assignments


Criminal Liability and the Essence of Crime

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 2 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 2 Assignments





Expanding the Concept of Crime

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 3 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 3 Assignments


Extending Criminal Liability; Inchoate Offenses and Parties to Crime

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 4 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 4 Assignments


Justifications as Defenses

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 5 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 5 Assignments



Defenses: Excuses and Insanity

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 6 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 6 Assignments


Crimes Against Persons: Homicide

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 7 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 7 Assignments


Punishment and Sentencing

All course objectives

Read/Watch the Week 8 Handouts and Links.

Answer the discussion questions and complete additional participation.

Complete the Week 8 Assignments


Exam 1 – Week 2

Historical Reasons Essay – Week 3


What is an Attempt Group Work – Week 4


Self Defense Debate – Week 5


Exam 2 – Week 6

Attorney Analysis Roleplay – Week 7


Design a Punishment Collaboration – Week 8