Selected Problems in American Criminal Law|
Spring 2011 not offered
Crime and punishment are constantly in the news, and lay observers of the American system of criminal justice are often puzzled by its procedures and outcomes. What exactly is the criminal law trying to do? Why does it seem so difficult to convict criminals? What are the governing principles of American criminal justice, and how are they actually applied in the courts? This First-Year-Initiative course is intended to address these questions through a close analysis of cases and related materials concerned with the substantive criminal law and, at the same time, to introduce students to the legal method itself and the close-case-analysis characteristic of legal argument. It is thus not a course in law and economics, or law and philosophy, or law and government, but a course in law itself, much as it is taught to law students. Topics include the legal definition of criminal acts, causation, the mental element of crime, basic principles of justification, criminal responsibility and mental abnormality, and the law of homicide. Readings consist entirely of judicial opinions and related materials, and in class we will analyze these readings in detail to expose their logic and consider their practical implications. These readings are dense and intensive, and students will be asked in class to address difficult issues and defend their answers against rigorous critical questioning.
Ethical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Bonnie, Coughlin, Jeffries and Low, CRIMINAL LAW, Foundation Press, latest edition, and supplementary materials to be distributed in class.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Course requirements include active participation in class discussion, two graded essay assignments, two graded problems in legal reasoning, and a final examination.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
ECON129 may not be used as a substitute for ECON101 or ECON110, and may not be counted toward the Economics major.
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