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Spring 2025 Course

Criminal Law

Exam Type: One-Day Take-Home

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 doctrinal principles of the criminal law and illustrative crimes are studied, including attempts, conspiracy, and the law of accomplice liability, defenses such as self-defense and insanity, and aspects of the law of homicide and rape. The course also considers some important issues in the administration of the criminal justice system, with special emphasis on the phenomenon of discretion. The rationales for allowing discretion, the proper scope of discretion, and the practical effects of discretion are examined in the context of particular institutional actors, with focus on prosecutorial charging discretion, the practice of plea bargaining, and current debates about sentencing discretion.