Exam Type: In Class
This course considers the basic themes of substantive criminal law, including criminal responsibility, the significance of act, intent, causation, and result, justification and excuse, and the rationales for punishment. General principles of the criminal law and illustrative crimes are studied, including homicide and sexual assault crimes, defenses such a self-defense and insanity, and liability for attempts, conspiracies, and aiding others’ crimes. The course also considers issues in the administration of criminal justice, with special emphasis on the phenomenon of discretion as manifested in prosecutorial charging decisions, plea bargaining, and sentencing. The focus is not directly on policing, criminal procedure more generally, or the law governing prisons, but rather on understanding the criteria by which culpability and punishment are determined in the contemporary American criminal justice system.