Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
CJA 211
Course Title:
Civil Liability in Criminal Justice
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores the conduct and ethics of criminal justice practitioners that give rise to civil liability. Focuses on aspects of risk management to help prevent legal claims. Prerequisites: CJA 111 and WR 121 or instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course will offer students an opportunity to learn about the law of civil liability and its relevance to the Criminal Justice profession. The course will focus not only on the potential liability of police officers, corrections officers and other criminal justice practitioners for deprivation of civilians° US Constitutional rights under state and federal law, but will also address officers° day to day dealings with civil law issues while performing duties mandated under criminal law. Such areas of civil law with which officers may come into contact include Landlord/Tenant, Domestic Relations, towing procedures, etc.
An important component in the course content will include a study of ethical rules and considerations for dealing with the public. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the application of democratic principles when dealing with members of society. This is important for two purposes: to encourage the equal, fair treatment of all individuals for the sake of a moral society and as a preventive tool for potential liability for deprivation of an individual€™s constitutional rights.

The material in this course will be presented in lecture and discussion format. The instructor may also utilize guest speakers, videos, current events, journal articles, recent court decisions, small group projects and service learning (community based) projects to enhance the educational experience and emphasize ongoing relevance to the lives of the students and their futures. Texts in the areas of Civil Liability and Ethics will be used.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Analyze situations that may create potential liability for criminal justice employees and their agencies.
  • Evaluate ethical situations and trends in risk management.
  • Consider and examine consequences that could be imposed by the federal government on state agencies failing to adhere to constitutional and civil rights laws.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Objective and subjective examinations, written assignments, and projects.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

This course will address topics including, but not limited to,

  • Ethical Issues in Policing (Perjury, Interrogation and Dilemmas)
  • Ethics and the Courts (Prosecution, Defense and Sentencing)
  • Ethical Issues in Corrections (Parole, Probation and Prison)
  • General Tort Liability
  • Title 42 United States Code Section 1983
  • Liability in Law Enforcement
  • Liability in Corrections
  • Liability in other areas of Criminal Justice Practice
  • Personnel Issues
  • Defenses and Lawsuit Prevention Strategies