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 doctrinal principles of criminal law and illustrative crimes are studied, including homicide, rape, and drug offenses, as well as inchoate crimes such as attempt and conspiracy. The course also considers some important 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 on criminal procedure in the conventional sense, but rather on the quintessentially substantive problem of understanding the criteria by which culpability and punishment are actually determined in the contemporary American criminal justice system.