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Spring 2021 Course

Criminal Law 5

Exam Type: Please refer to the Spring 2021 Exam Schedule

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 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 understanding the criteria by which culpability and punishment are determined in the contemporary American criminal justice system.