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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; rationales for punishment; and the significance of act, intent, causation and result, and justification. We will study doctrinal principles of criminal law and illustrative crimes, including homicide, rape, attempt, conspiracy, accomplice liability, and the defense of self-defense. The course also considers important issues in the administration of the criminal justice system, with a 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 a focus on prosecutorial charging discretion, the practice of plea bargaining, and current debates about sentencing discretion.