Each year state-governors’ investigators review the files of convicted criminals and where justified make recommendations for gubernatorial pardon or clemency.
Write and submit a research paper which will review a controversial criminal case.
Use endnotes not footnotes to cite sources. Do not put the author’s name in the body of the paper – use a number only. For each source cited simply cite with a number in square brackets (e.g.  ). At the end of the paper simply list the sources in the order cited. If a source is cited more than once maintain the original number. (This method is easier to write and easier to read).
Assignments must be typed double-spaced;
Pages should have 1 inch margins on the top and bottom and 1.25 inch margins on the sides;
The print should be in New Times Roman or Arial size 12 font;
Pages should be numbered.
You are required to write and submit a research paper which will review a controversial criminal case. Each year state-governors’ investigators review the files of convicted criminals and where justified make recommendations for gubernatorial pardon or clemency. You will approach this assignment as if you are the investigator reviewing the case to determine if clemency should be granted or not.
The paper will be between 8 and 12 pages in length with at least 10 peer-reviewed sources. To produce a highly scored paper you should begin work on your paper at the onset of this semester. It is unlikely you will earn an acceptable score if you attempt to start writing late into the term.
Important considerations are provided below to assist you in keeping on track as you are conducting research and writing your paper:
This is not a social justice course but a physical evidence course. The fairness of the trial is not relevant but rather guilt or innocence as determined by physical evidence.
The impact on society is not relevant. Like most other crimes it should be viewed through the lens of its own era but avoid spending too much time on background information. Your job is simply to research and evaluate.
Eyewitness statements and suspect’s alibis can be discussed briefly in context. But polygraph exams and behavioral science are not relevant to this course. Students should try to verify or refute testimony with physical evidence.
The impact on the individuals involved (while devastating to them) is also not directly relevant to this course.
A minimum of ten sources are required. Since critical thinking and analysis is required at least one of the sources must present an argument that opposes the others. You are required to examine the arguments on both (or more) sides. In the end you will present evidence that supports one argument and refutes the other(s).
Your paper should include discussion of mistakes made by the investigators crime scene analysts or prosecutors but this is not the focus of your investigation. Your assignment is not to determine what went wrong but whether the defendant is guilty or innocent based on the information still available.
You are required to examine the arguments on both (or more) sides. In the end you will present evidence that supports one argument and refutes the other(s).
Internet sources are allowed but it is recommended that not all of them be from the internet. Wikipedia and TrueCrimeLibrary are not to be used as official sources.
Cases where clemency or pardons are sought are often emotionally charged. Your assignment is to get past the rhetoric to find the reliable evidence.
Nicole Brown-Simpson/Ron Goldman
Marilyn Sheppard murder
World Trade Center Collapse