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College of Law

Criminal Law

Course Number: 6140
Professor: Michael R. Smith
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semester Offered: Spring
Required: Yes
Prerequisites: None
Recommended Courses: None

Course Overview: After a brief overview of the sources of criminal law and the purposes of criminal punishment, this course will consider the constituent parts of criminal conduct, including act (or omission), culpable mental state, result, and causation. These general principles then will be brought to bear on a specific area of the criminal law: homicide. The course also will consider common defenses to criminal charges, including self-defense, necessity, duress, insanity, and intoxication. Finally, the course will consider liability for attempted crimes and for crimes committed by others. Throughout the course, students will be required to consider the constitutional limits of the criminal law and the relationship of substantive principles to practice.

Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format: Roughly two-thirds of the class sessions will be devoted to traditional Socratic dialogue, in which students will be called upon to analyze real and hypothetical cases and statutes. The remaining class sessions will be devoted to problems, in which the class as a whole will develop an appropriate response to a detailed problem of the sort that lawyers confront in the practice of criminal law.
Written Assignments: None, apart from final exam.
Type of Exam: Combination of essay and short-answer questions.
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Final exam; classroom participation.
Other Comments:

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