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Criminal Law

The Basics

Frank A. Schubert

Publication Date - 01 November 2002

ISBN: 9780195330212

370 pages
7 x 10 inches

"The writing is lucid, the material challenging, and the case selection encourages students to develop analytical and logical thinking."--W. Richard Janikowski, The University of Memphis


Frank A. Schubert's Criminal Law: The Basics introduces students to the fundamentals of substantive criminal law. It emphasizes two underlying themes. First, the common law heritage that has so influenced criminal law in this country. And, second, the critical role that federalism plays in American criminal law. The first six chapters focus on fundamental topics. In the final two chapters, students apply the concepts they have learned as they discover the elements of many substantive criminal offenses. Coverage includes:

* The common law tradition.
* Criminal and civil law.
* Federalism and the Supremacy Clause.
* Concurrence.
* Federal criminal law.
* The purposes of punishment.
* Procedural considerations.
* Constitutional limitations on the definition and punishment of criminal offenses (Bills of Attainder), sub-stantive due process (precision, privacy, morality), procedural due process ("Megan's Law"), and equal protection, ex post facto laws, and cruel and unusual punishment.
* The criminal act (act or status, voluntariness, omissions, the use of presumptions, double jeopardy considerations).
* Criminal intent (from the Common Law and Model Penal Code perspectives, including a discussion off the important role of resumptions and proof of criminal intent).
* Strict liability.
* Causation (factual, proximate, and independent, intervening causes).
* Complicity (common law and modern approaches).
* Vicarious liability (traditional approach and modern efforts to make parents criminally liable for the acts of their children).
* Inchoate crime (solicitation, attempt, and conspiracy).
* Criminal defenses (lack of capacity, self defense and defense of others and property, mistakes of fact and law, entrapment, alibi, necessity and duress).
* Substantive crimes against persons (homicide offenses, assault and battery, rape and sexual assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment).
* Crimes against property (including both traditional larceny and related offenses, plus modern consolidated theft approaches, including robbery, extortion, and forgery).

This student-friendly text focuses on the most important aspects of each topic and omits information that is not essential in an introductory course. Schubert relies primarily on carefully edited, highly readable appellate opinions coupled with brief, textual exposition to explain relevant principles--leading students to understand the "what" as well as the "why." Case statutes are often included so that students understand that the legislature, not the courts, primarily defines what is criminal and determines sentencing options.

A unique feature is the supplemental material on the book's comprehensive dedicated Website, which includes cases, text, statutes, dissenting/concurring opinions, and references to relevant online law review articles. The Website will be updated regularly. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a decision on a relevant topic, that case or its summary will be posted along with appropriate links. "How to brief a case" tips and a sample brief may also be found on the Website. A comprehensive Instructor's Manual is also available.


"The writing is lucid, the material challenging, and the case selection encourages students to develop analytical and logical thinking. Schubert has done an outstanding job of selecting cases that illustrate the principles of substantive criminal law and reveal the underlying reasoning upon which these principles have been developed. Moreover, the questions that follow many of the case excerpts are well designed to direct student attention to issues, and possible future problems, that are raised by the case. The discussion questions are also extremely well done, often using hypothetical fact situations to engage students and encourage them to attempt to apply legal theory learned from the text and case readings to new fact situations." --W. Richard Janikowski, The University of Memphis

Table of Contents

    Each chapter concludes with Discussion Questions.
    A Note to Students
    Chapter 1: Introduction to Criminal Law
    Criminal Law
    The Common Law Tradition
    Holland v. State of Florida
    Deciding What Conduct Is
    Deemed Criminal
    Common Law and Criminal Codes
    Criminal and Civil Law
    Katko v. Briney
    Classification of Offenses--Felonies and Misdemeanors
    Federal Form of Government
    Federal Criminal Law
    Direct Federal Interests
    Indirect Federal Interests
    The Purposes of Punishment
    Gregg v. Georgia
    Procedural Considerations
    Jury Trials vs. Bench Trials
    The Order of Trial
    Jury Selection
    Challenges to the Panel
    Opening Statements
    The Presentation of the Prosecution's
    Case in Chief
    The Presentation of the Defendant's Case
    Case in Chief
    The Presentation of the Prosecution's
    Rebuttal Case
    The Defense Motion for Acquittal
    Closing Arguments
    Jury Instructions
    The Jury's Verdict
    Motions After Verdict
    The Supremacy Clause
    Chapter 2: Constitutional Limitations on the Definition and Punishment of Criminal Offenses
    Prohibitions Against Bills of Attainder
    Due Process
    Substantive Due Process
    City of Chicago v. Jesus Morales et al.
    The Right to Privacy
    Griswold v. Connecticut
    Criminalizing Conduct Deemed Immoral
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Bonadio
    Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Wasson
    Procedural Due Process
    "Megan's Law"
    State v. Bani
    Equal Protection
    Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia
    Prohibitions Against Ex Post Facto Laws
    Cruel and Unusual Punishment
    Barbaric Punishments
    Gregg v. Georgia
    Disproportionate Punishments
    Harmelin v. Michigan
    Atkins v. Commonwealth Virginia
    Chapter 3: General Principles of Criminal Liability
    The Criminal Act/Actus Reus
    Criminal Act or Status?
    Robinson v. California
    State of Arizona v. Miguel Angel Lara
    Criminal Liability in the Absence of an Act (Omissions)
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Barry Kellam
    Is Possession an Act?
    Byrd v. Texas
    Presumptions and Actus Reus
    Ulster County Court v. Allen
    Double Jeopardy Considerations
    Brown v. Ohio
    Criminal Intent/Mens Rea
    Mala in Se Offenses
    Mala Prohibita Offenses
    Defining Criminal Intent
    The Traditional Common Law Approach
    State v. Gordon
    The Doctrine of Transferred Intent
    People v. Scott
    The Model Penal Code Approach
    Furr v. State
    Presumptions and Criminal Intent
    Sandstrom v. Montana
    Strict Liability
    The People v. Juan J. Coria
    Factual Causation
    Proximate Causation
    Commonwealth v. Berggren
    Independent Intervening Cause
    People v. Saavedra-Rodriguez
    Chapter 4: Complicity and Vicarious Liability
    Complicity Under the Common Law
    People v. Norris
    Proving Complicity
    State v. Mobbley
    Oregon v. Allred
    Vicarious Liability
    United States v. Park
    Parental Liability for Failure to Supervise Child
    Corporate Criminality
    State of Iowa v. Casey's General Stores, Inc.
    Due Process Considerations
    State of Iowa v. Hy-Vee, Inc.
    Chapter 5: Inchoate Crimes
    Actus Reus
    Mens Rea
    Robert J. Santora v. Commonwealth of Virginia
    Actus Reus
    U.S. v. Pedro Hernandez-Franco
    Mens Rea
    State v. Frank Reed Norlund
    Eric R. Cooke v. Commonwealth of Virginia
    Impossibility as a Defense
    Actus Reus
    Mens Rea
    State of Connecticut v. Victor Torres
    Chapter 6: Criminal Defenses
    Affirmative Defenses
    Self-Defense and Defense of Others
    Colorado v. Steven Silva
    Defense of Property and Habitation
    Colorado v. Mark Janes
    Necessity (Choice of Evils)
    Bodner v. State
    Excuse Defenses
    State of Hawaii v. Tony Souza
    State of Colorado v. Robin V. Tally
    State v. David Barrett
    Mistake of Fact
    United States v. Lloyd D. Cook
    Mistake of Law
    Kipp v. State of Delaware
    Wisconsin v. James L. Schuman
    Other Defenses
    Pennsylvania v. Kolenda
    Good Character Defense
    Chapter 7: Crimes Against Persons
    First Degree Murder
    State v. Roy J. Townsend
    Second Degree Murder
    State of Nebraska v. Tyler J. Keup
    Felony Murder
    People v. Lisl E. Auman
    Voluntary Manslaughter
    Involuntary Manslaughter
    State v. Kenneth Wood
    Negligent Manslaughter
    Traditional Crimes of Assault and Battery
    Contemporary Assault Statutes
    Hopkins v. the State
    Rape and Sexual Assault
    Legislative Reforms
    State v. Douglas Goodwin
    Rape Shield Laws
    State of Oregon v. Paul T. Beeler
    Statutory Rape
    Tony Elozar v. State
    False Imprisonment
    Robert Lovett v. State
    Chapter 8: Crimes Against Property and Habitation
    Edward A. Brame v. Virginia
    Maine v. John R. Moon
    Larceny by False Pretenses (Theft by Deceit)
    Darrell S. Lewis v. Virginia
    Consolidated Theft
    Utah v. John J. Bush
    Tennessee v. David L. Owens
    United States v. Charles G. Stephens, Sr.
    Ohio v. Willis Miller
    Burglary, Arson, and Trespass to Land
    People v. Michael Davis
    State v. Harry Lollis
    Trespass to Land/Dwellings
    State of Tennessee v. Joseph Vella
    Discussion Questions
    Case Index

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