Criminal Law Research Paper Topics
This page presents a comprehensive collection of criminal law research paper topics tailored for students studying law and tasked with writing research papers. Within this resource, readers will find an abstract overview of the content, followed by an extensive list of criminal law research paper topics divided into ten distinct categories, each containing ten topics. Additionally, an article exploring the nuances of criminal law and its range of research paper topics is provided to offer students valuable insights and inspire their academic pursuits. Furthermore, readers will discover valuable guidance on how to choose appropriate criminal law research paper topics, with ten practical tips to ensure a compelling and relevant focus for their research. Moreover, the page outlines the essential elements for effectively writing a criminal law research paper and provides ten useful tips to aid students throughout the writing process. The subsequent section introduces iResearchNet’s custom writing services, offering expert assistance for students seeking to order a custom criminal law research paper on any subject.
100 Criminal Law Research Paper Topics
Criminal law is a multifaceted field that delves into various aspects of society, from the fundamental principles of justice to the intricacies of criminal proceedings. To aid law students in their research endeavors, we present a comprehensive list of criminal law research paper topics, thoughtfully organized into ten distinct categories, each encompassing ten topics. This diverse collection covers a wide spectrum of criminal law subjects, allowing students to explore different dimensions and hone their expertise in specific areas.
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Criminal Law Fundamentals
- The Concept of Criminal Liability: A Comparative Analysis
- The Evolution of Criminal Law: From Ancient Codes to Modern Statutes
- Criminal Intent and Actus Reus: Evaluating the Elements of a Crime
- The Role of Mens Rea in Criminal Law: Intent vs. Recklessness
- Causation in Criminal Law: Establishing a Link between Action and Consequence
- Criminal Defenses: Justifications, Excuses, and Necessity
- The Principle of Double Jeopardy: Protection against Multiple Prosecutions
- The Presumption of Innocence: Ensuring Fair Trials and Due Process
- Criminal Sanctions: An Analysis of Punishment and Deterrence
- Criminal Responsibility of Legal Entities: Corporate Liability in Criminal Law
Types of Crimes
- Homicide Offenses: Murder, Manslaughter, and Their Degrees
- Robbery and Burglary: Assessing Theft Crimes and Their Variations
- Assault and Battery: Differentiating Between Physical and Verbal Assault
- Fraud and White-Collar Crimes: Examining Financial Deception in Business
- Drug Offenses: Analyzing Drug Trafficking, Possession, and Legalization
- Cybercrimes: The Rise of Digital Offenses and Cybersecurity Challenges
- Hate Crimes and Discrimination: Addressing Bias-Motivated Offenses
- Human Trafficking: Unraveling the Complexities of Modern-Day Slavery
- Environmental Crimes: Criminal Liability for Ecological Violations
- Organized Crime: Studying Criminal Syndicates and Their Impact on Society
Criminal Justice System Reforms
- Bail Reform: Rethinking Pretrial Detention and Bail Practices
- Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Evaluating the Controversial Sentencing Approach
- Alternatives to Incarceration: Assessing Probation, Parole, and Community Service
- Restorative Justice: Balancing Punishment and Rehabilitation
- Wrongful Convictions: Analyzing Causes and Remedies for Miscarriages of Justice
- Mental Health and Criminal Justice: Diversion Programs and Treatment Courts
- Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Challenges and Solutions
- Police Accountability and Use of Force: Balancing Law Enforcement Powers
- Drug Decriminalization: Exploring the Effects of Drug Policy Reforms
- Technology and Criminal Justice: Examining the Use of AI, Surveillance, and Body Cameras
International Criminal Law
- The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction: Prosecuting International Crimes
- War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: The Role of International Tribunals
- The International Criminal Court: Challenges and Achievements
- Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing: Addressing Mass Atrocities in International Law
- Terrorism and International Law: Defining and Combating Transnational Threats
- Extraterritorial Application of Criminal Law: Crossing Borders in Criminal Prosecutions
- Immunity and State Responsibility: Navigating Legal Implications for States and Leaders
- International Extradition: Procedures and Challenges in Transferring Offenders
- Transnational Organized Crime: Networks, Prosecutions, and Challenges
- The Impact of Human Rights Law on International Criminal Justice
Technology’s Impact on Criminal Law
- Digital Evidence and E-Discovery: Challenges in Handling Technological Data
- Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity: Analyzing Legal Responses to Digital Offenses
- Online Privacy and Surveillance: Balancing National Security and Individual Rights
- The Role of Social Media in Criminal Investigations: Admissibility and Authentication
- Internet Freedom and Censorship: Addressing Legal and Ethical Dilemmas
- Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Law: Unraveling the Legal Landscape of Virtual Currency
- AI and Criminal Justice: The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Law Enforcement
- Digital Copyright Infringement: Legal Perspectives on Piracy and Intellectual Property
- Online Defamation and Hate Speech: Exploring Legal Liability in the Digital Sphere
- The Right to be Forgotten: Balancing Privacy and Freedom of Information Online
Juvenile Justice and Youth Offenders
- Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Programs: Assessing Effectiveness and Challenges
- The Evolution of Juvenile Courts: From Parens Patriae to Due Process
- Juvenile Waiver to Adult Court: Determining Transfer Criteria and Implications
- Restorative Justice for Juveniles: Building Accountability and Empathy
- Juvenile Gangs and Crime: Understanding the Root Causes and Solutions
- Youth Mental Health and Criminal Behavior: Intervention and Rehabilitation
- Educational Rights of Juvenile Offenders: Ensuring Access to Quality Education
- Juvenile Detention Centers: Reforms and Alternatives for Incarcerated Youth
- The Impact of Socioeconomic Factors on Juvenile Crime Rates
- The Role of Family in Juvenile Delinquency: Family Structure and Influence on Behavior
Criminal Sentencing and Punishment
- Sentencing Guidelines: Balancing Judicial Discretion and Consistency
- The Death Penalty: Ethical, Legal, and Practical Perspectives
- Life Imprisonment: Examining Long-Term Incarceration and Parole Eligibility
- Capital Punishment and Innocence: Addressing Wrongful Executions
- Mandatory Sentences for Nonviolent Offenders: Assessing Efficacy and Fairness
- Alternatives to Incarceration: Diversion Programs and Community-Based Sentencing
- Sentencing Disparities: The Impact of Race, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status
- Rehabilitation Programs in Prisons: Assessing Effectiveness and Recidivism Rates
- The Role of Victim Impact Statements in Sentencing: Balancing Justice and Empathy
- Restorative Justice Sentencing: Building Community Engagement and Healing
Criminal Procedure and Evidence
- The Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure Laws in Criminal Investigations
- Exclusionary Rule: Analyzing the Consequences of Illegally Obtained Evidence
- Eyewitness Testimony: Reliability, Identification, and Challenges in Court
- Confessions and Interrogations: The Admissibility of Self-Incriminating Statements
- Expert Witnesses: Their Role and Admissibility in Criminal Trials
- Hearsay Rule: Evaluating Exceptions and Limitations in the Admission of Statements
- DNA Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Advancements and Challenges
- Criminal Procedure in the Digital Age: Electronic Surveillance and Privacy Concerns
- Plea Bargaining: Weighing Benefits and Concerns for the Accused and the Justice System
- Criminal Appeals: The Process and Grounds for Challenging Convictions
Criminal Law and Ethics
- Ethical Dilemmas in Criminal Defense: Balancing Advocacy and Conscience
- Prosecutor’s Ethics: Obligations and Conflicts of Interest in Pursuit of Justice
- The Role of Ethics in Law Enforcement: Upholding Integrity and Accountability
- Criminal Law and Mental Health Ethics: The Treatment of Mentally Ill Offenders
- The Ethical Implications of Capital Punishment: A Moral and Legal Debate
- Whistleblowers and Criminal Law: Legal Protections and Social Impact
- Corporate Crime and Ethical Responsibilities: Balancing Business Interests and Accountability
- The Ethics of Plea Bargaining: Ensuring Fairness and Transparency
- Legal Ethics in the Digital Age: Navigating Online Communication and Social Media
- The Role of Ethics in Criminal Sentencing: Weighing Punishment and Rehabilitation
Comparative Criminal Law
- Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: Analyzing Different Legal Approaches
- Criminal Law in Civil Law Countries: Contrasting Inquisitorial and Adversarial Systems
- Common Law vs. Civil Law Traditions: Divergent Approaches to Criminal Law
- Criminal Law in Sharia Jurisdictions: Exploring Islamic Legal Principles and Punishments
- The Influence of International Law on National Criminal Justice Systems
- Legal Traditions in Colonial and Post-Colonial Countries: Impact on Criminal Law
- Criminal Law Reforms in Transitional Democracies: Challenges and Progress
- Indigenous Legal Systems and Criminal Justice: Preserving Culture and Rights
- Comparative Corporate Criminal Liability: Aligning Business Practices Globally
- Criminal Law and Human Rights: Balancing Sovereignty and International Obligations
This comprehensive list of criminal law research paper topics provides an extensive and diverse range of subjects for law students to explore and investigate. From foundational principles to contemporary issues, the field of criminal law offers numerous avenues for in-depth research and analysis. As students embark on their research endeavors, they can delve into various categories, each presenting unique challenges and opportunities to contribute to the advancement of criminal law scholarship. Whether one’s interest lies in criminal justice reform, international law, ethical dilemmas, or comparative legal systems, this list aims to inspire students in their pursuit of knowledge and excellence in the realm of criminal law research.
Criminal Law: Exploring the Range of Research Paper Topics
Criminal law is a dynamic and complex field that plays a pivotal role in maintaining societal order and upholding justice. As an integral part of the legal system, criminal law governs how individuals who violate the law are investigated, prosecuted, and punished. It encompasses a vast array of topics, each offering unique opportunities for research and analysis. This section aims to explore the diverse range of research paper topics within criminal law, providing students with insights into the multifaceted nature of this discipline and inspiring them to embark on meaningful and impactful research endeavors.
The Evolution of Criminal Law: From Ancient Codes to Modern Systems
A captivating topic within criminal law research is the historical development of legal codes and systems throughout civilizations. Researchers can delve into ancient codes, such as Hammurabi’s Code in Mesopotamia or the Twelve Tables in ancient Rome, and explore how they shaped the foundations of contemporary criminal law. Comparing historical legal principles with modern criminal justice systems can shed light on the evolution of societal norms and the progression of legal thought.
Criminal Responsibility: From Mens Rea to Strict Liability
Understanding the concept of criminal responsibility is fundamental in criminal law. Researchers can delve into the various mental states that form the basis of criminal liability, ranging from intent (mens rea) to negligence and even strict liability. Analyzing landmark cases and legislative changes can provide insights into how the legal system navigates the complexities of holding individuals accountable for their actions.
Criminal Law and Technology: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities
In the digital age, technological advancements present new challenges and opportunities for criminal law. Topics in this area could explore the implications of cybercrime, the use of artificial intelligence in law enforcement, or the legal considerations surrounding digital evidence. Researchers may also delve into the ethics of surveillance technologies and their impact on privacy rights.
Criminal Law and the Constitution: Analyzing Constitutional Protections
The interaction between criminal law and constitutional protections is an intriguing area of research. Researchers can explore how the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments of the United States Constitution, for instance, safeguard individuals’ rights during criminal investigations and trials. Comparing constitutional protections in different jurisdictions can also provide valuable insights into the balance between law enforcement powers and individual liberties.
Criminal Sentencing: Balancing Punishment and Rehabilitation
Sentencing is a critical aspect of criminal law, where the court determines the appropriate punishment for offenders. Research topics in this area could delve into the principles of proportionality, rehabilitation, and deterrence. Analyzing sentencing guidelines and exploring alternatives to incarceration, such as restorative justice programs, can offer valuable insights into the goals and challenges of criminal sentencing.
White-Collar Crime: Investigating Corporate Misconduct
White-collar crime, involving non-violent offenses committed by individuals in business and government, presents unique challenges in the criminal justice system. Research topics in this area could explore the complexities of prosecuting corporate executives, the effectiveness of regulatory measures, and the impact of white-collar crime on society and the economy.
Juvenile Justice: Balancing Rehabilitation and Accountability
The juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitating young offenders rather than imposing harsh punishments. Research in this area could examine the history and development of juvenile justice, the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs, and the ethical considerations surrounding the treatment of juvenile offenders.
International Criminal Law: Seeking Accountability for Atrocity Crimes
International criminal law aims to hold individuals accountable for the most serious crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Research topics in this area could explore the evolution of international criminal tribunals, the challenges of prosecuting individuals in absentia, and the impact of international criminal law on promoting global justice and accountability.
Criminal Law and Mental Health: Addressing the Insanity Defense
The insanity defense is a contentious and complex topic in criminal law. Researchers can explore the historical development of the insanity defense, its application in high-profile cases, and the ethical considerations surrounding mental health assessments in criminal proceedings.
Criminal Law and Law Enforcement: Examining Police Practices
The relationship between criminal law and law enforcement is critical in ensuring the fair and just administration of justice. Research topics in this area could investigate issues of police misconduct, the use of force by law enforcement, and the impact of body-worn cameras on accountability and transparency.
Criminal law encompasses a wide range of topics, each offering unique insights into the complexities of the legal system and its impact on society. From historical developments to contemporary challenges, researchers in this field have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of criminal justice, legal reform, and the protection of individual rights. By exploring the diverse range of research paper topics within criminal law, students can gain a deeper understanding of this dynamic discipline and engage in meaningful research that addresses pressing issues in the pursuit of justice and the rule of law.
How to Choose Criminal Law Research Paper Topics
Selecting an appropriate research paper topic is a crucial first step in the journey of conducting meaningful and impactful research in the field of criminal law. With the vast array of issues and complexities within criminal law, it can be challenging for students to identify a topic that is both engaging and academically relevant. This section provides valuable insights and practical tips to help students navigate the process of choosing criminal law research paper topics that align with their interests, academic goals, and the ever-evolving legal landscape.
- Identify Your Interests and Passion : Passion and genuine interest in a subject can significantly impact the quality and motivation behind your research. Take some time to reflect on your personal interests within criminal law. Are you drawn to topics related to white-collar crime, human rights, or criminal sentencing? Identifying your passions will make the research process more enjoyable and increase the likelihood of producing a compelling paper.
- Stay Updated on Current Legal Issues : Criminal law is a dynamic field influenced by ongoing legal developments and societal changes. Stay updated on recent court decisions, legislative reforms, and emerging legal issues. Reading legal journals, attending seminars, and following reputable legal news outlets will provide you with insights into the latest debates and controversies within criminal law, inspiring potential research paper topics.
- Consult with Professors and Peers : Reach out to your professors, academic advisors, or fellow students to discuss potential research paper topics. They may offer valuable suggestions, recommend relevant literature, or share their experiences in tackling similar research inquiries. Collaborating with peers can also provide a supportive environment for brainstorming and refining research ideas.
- Consider Timeliness and Relevance : Choosing a topic that is timely and relevant is essential for making an impact with your research. Consider current societal concerns, legal reforms, or high-profile criminal cases that have generated public interest. Addressing contemporary issues will not only enhance the significance of your research but also contribute to ongoing legal discussions.
- Narrow Down Broad Topics : Criminal law covers a wide range of subjects, such as criminal procedure, substantive criminal law, criminology, and more. While broad topics can be intriguing, they may lack the depth required for a comprehensive research paper. Narrow down your focus by selecting a specific aspect or area within criminal law. For instance, instead of exploring “Criminal Sentencing,” you could delve into “The Impact of Restorative Justice Programs on Criminal Sentencing Outcomes.”
- Analyze Available Resources : Ensure that sufficient resources, such as academic articles, books, and case law, are available on your chosen topic. Conduct a preliminary literature review to ascertain the availability of credible sources that will support your research and analysis. Access to relevant resources is crucial for building a strong and well-supported argument.
- Assess the Feasibility of Research : Before finalizing your research topic, consider the feasibility of conducting the research within your available time and resources. Complex topics may require extensive research and data collection, while more straightforward topics may lack depth. Strike a balance between ambitious research goals and practicality.
- Brainstorm Research Questions : Formulate specific research questions that will guide your investigation and analysis. Well-crafted research questions will direct your research efforts and provide a clear focus for your paper. Consider the legal implications, ethical considerations, and potential policy implications of your research questions.
- Consider a Comparative Approach : Comparative research allows you to analyze criminal law issues across different jurisdictions or legal systems. A comparative approach can offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of certain legal practices and identify potential areas for legal reform.
- Seek Inspiration from Legal Literature : Review published legal literature and academic papers to gain inspiration for your research paper topics. Analyze the approaches taken by other researchers, identify gaps in existing literature, and explore areas where your contribution can make a significant impact.
Choosing a criminal law research paper topic is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. By identifying your interests, staying updated on current legal issues, and seeking inspiration from legal literature, you can select a topic that is intellectually stimulating and academically rewarding. Careful consideration of timeliness, relevance, and feasibility will ensure that your research contributes meaningfully to the field of criminal law and addresses pertinent legal challenges. Embrace the opportunity to explore diverse aspects of criminal law, and embark on a journey that not only expands your legal knowledge but also shapes the future of criminal justice.
How to Write a Criminal Law Research Paper
Writing a criminal law research paper requires a systematic and disciplined approach to effectively address complex legal issues and present well-structured arguments. This section provides valuable guidance on the various stages of writing a criminal law research paper, from formulating a strong thesis statement to presenting a coherent and compelling conclusion. Following these essential steps will help you create a well-researched and impactful paper that showcases your understanding of criminal law and its intricacies.
- Understand the Assignment Requirements : Before delving into the research and writing process, thoroughly review the assignment guidelines provided by your instructor. Pay close attention to the scope, formatting style, word count, and any specific requirements for citations and references. Understanding the assignment parameters will help you stay focused and ensure that your research paper meets the necessary criteria.
- Conduct In-Depth Research : Criminal law research papers demand thorough research to support your arguments and analysis. Utilize various resources, including academic journals, law reviews, books, and reputable online databases. Take detailed notes and organize your research to streamline the writing process. Keep track of the sources you use to facilitate proper citation and to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
- Develop a Strong Thesis Statement : A well-crafted thesis statement is the foundation of your research paper. It should be concise, specific, and clearly state the main argument you intend to make. Your thesis should guide the entire paper and provide a roadmap for your readers to understand the scope and purpose of your research.
- Outline Your Paper : Creating an outline is a critical step in organizing your ideas and arguments. Divide your research paper into distinct sections, such as introduction, literature review, methodology (if applicable), main body, analysis, and conclusion. Each section should have a clear purpose and flow logically from one to the next.
- Craft a Compelling Introduction : The introduction sets the tone for your research paper and should capture the reader’s attention. Begin with a hook or engaging statement to pique interest. Provide essential background information on the topic and its significance. End the introduction with a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines your main argument.
- Conduct a Thorough Literature Review : Incorporate a comprehensive literature review that showcases your understanding of existing research on the chosen topic. Analyze and critically evaluate the key findings of relevant studies, highlighting any gaps or areas where your research adds value. A well-structured literature review strengthens the credibility of your research and demonstrates your knowledge of the subject matter.
- Organize Your Main Body : Divide the main body of your research paper into subsections, each focusing on a specific aspect of your argument. Present evidence and examples to support your points, and use logical transitions to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs. Avoid presenting irrelevant information that can distract readers from your central thesis.
- Analyze and Interpret Legal Principles : In the context of criminal law research, your analysis plays a pivotal role in establishing the coherence and persuasiveness of your argument. Analyze relevant legal principles, statutes, and case law to support your thesis. Consider counterarguments and address them effectively to strengthen your position.
- Use Clear and Precise Language : Criminal law research papers demand clarity and precision in language. Avoid excessive jargon and ensure that your writing is accessible to readers from various backgrounds. Clearly define any technical terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your audience.
- Craft a Convincing Conclusion : In the conclusion, restate your thesis and summarize the key points of your research paper. Avoid introducing new information at this stage. Instead, emphasize the significance of your findings and suggest potential avenues for future research. Leave readers with a lasting impression of your work and its relevance to the field of criminal law.
Writing a criminal law research paper requires dedication, meticulous research, and thoughtful analysis. By following these essential steps, you can produce a well-structured and persuasive paper that contributes meaningfully to the understanding of criminal law issues. Remember to adhere to proper citation guidelines, proofread your work carefully, and seek feedback from peers or professors to refine your research paper further. Embrace the opportunity to explore and analyze criminal law topics, and let your passion for justice shine through your research and writing.
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- Define a crime.
This textbook introduces you to our legal system in the United States, the basic elements of a crime, the specific elements of commonly encountered crimes, and most criminal defenses. Criminal law always involves the government and government action, so you will also review the pertinent sections of the United States Constitution and its principles as they apply to criminal law. By the end of the book, you will be comfortable with the legal framework that governs the careers of criminal justice professionals.
Definition of a Crime
Let’s begin at the beginning by defining a crime . The most basic definition of a crime is “an act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it, or omitted in violation of a law ordering it” (Yourdictionary.com, 2010). You learn about criminal act and omission to act in Chapter 4 “The Elements of a Crime” . For now, it is important to understand that criminal act, omission to act, and criminal intent are elements or parts of every crime. Illegality is also an element of every crime. Generally, the government must enact a criminal law specifying a crime and its elements before it can punish an individual for criminal behavior. Criminal laws are the primary focus of this book. As you slowly start to build your knowledge and understanding of criminal law, you will notice some unique characteristics of the United States’ legal system.
Laws differ significantly from state to state. Throughout the United States, each state and the federal government criminalize different behaviors. Although this plethora of laws makes American legal studies more complicated for teachers and students, the size, cultural makeup, and geographic variety of our country demand this type of legal system.
Laws in a democratic society, unlike laws of nature, are created by people and are founded in religious, cultural, and historical value systems. People from varying backgrounds live in different regions of this country. Thus you will see that different people enact distinct laws that best suit their needs. This book is intended for use in all states. However, the bulk of any criminal law overview is an examination of different crimes and their elements. To be accurate and representative, this book focuses on general principles that many states follow and provides frequent references to specific state laws for illustrative purposes. Always check the most current version of your state’s law because it may vary from the law presented in this book.
Laws are not static . As society changes, so do the laws that govern behavior. Evolving value systems naturally lead to new laws and regulations supporting modern beliefs. Although a certain stability is essential to the enforcement of rules, occasionally the rules must change.
Try to maintain an open mind when reviewing the different and often contradictory laws set forth in this book. Law is not exact, like science or math. Also try to become comfortable with the gray area, rather than viewing situations as black or white.
- A crime is an act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it or omitted in violation of a law ordering it. In general, the criminal law must be enacted before the crime is committed.
Answer the following question. Check your answer using the answer key at the end of the chapter.
- Read Gonzales v. Oregon , 546 U.S. 243 (2006). Did the US Supreme Court preserve Oregon’s right to legalize physician-assisted suicide? The case is available at this link: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04-623.ZS.html .
Yourdictionary.com, “Definition of Crime,” accessed August 15, 2010, http://www.yourdictionary.com/crime .
Criminal Law Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Criminal Practice and Procedures – PLST 230
CG • Section 8WK • 01/03/2020 to 06/11/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023
This course will introduce the general principles, sources, and purpose of criminal law, including the following doctrinal issues that apply to crimes in general: the act requirement, the mens rea requirement, causation, liability for attempted crimes, accomplice liability, defenses, and criminal code interpretation. The course will also introduce the limitations imposed on law enforcement activities by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The course generally considers the criminal justice process from investigation through arrest and initial court appearance.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog .
For anyone who desires to work in the paralegal field, knowledge of criminal law and procedure is vital. Whether the goal is to work for a prosecutor or a criminal defense firm, students must understand the principles of criminal law and procedure, including Constitutional guarantees. Likewise, students seeking to enter this field must gain the necessary skills required in a law office, including law office management, client interaction, and preparation of memos, briefs, and other documents.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations.
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations , the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in three Discussions. The student will post his or her original thread of 300 words or more. The student must reply to at least two peers’ threads in 150 words or more.
News Article Review Assignments (2)
The student will have two News Article Review Assignments which will involve submitting a brief essay discussing a current news article. News articles used for this assignment should come from the newspaper, a news program, or some other reputable news source (either traditional or online). Each essay should be no less than one page and no more than two full pages double-spaced with 12-point font and one-inch margins. Full citations for the articles should be provided as endnotes, and, if possible, the article itself should be included with the submission (articles do not count towards the total number of pages). Submissions over two pages will receive a reduction in points.
Elements of Crime Assignment
The student will be given a factual scenario and a criminal law statute. The student will break the criminal law statute into distinct elements and apply the criminal law statute to the factual scenario.
The student will take seven Mindtap quizzes over the textbook readings throughout the term. Each will be 22 questions. They will be open-book/open-notes, and the student will have 60 minutes to complete the quiz. These will be due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module.
Criminal Law Memorandum of Law Assignment
The student will complete a memorandum of law based on the provided scenario. The memorandum of law will provide objective analysis of the scenario.
Criminal Law Statute Assignment
The student will be given a set of facts and a criminal law statute. The student will apply the given set of facts to the criminal law statute and determine if the facts would support a criminal law charge or not.
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Elements of Crime
To establish criminal liability it is necessary to understand elements of a crime. Crimes can be broken down into elements, which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal elements are set forth in criminal statutes or cases in jurisdictions that allow for common-law crimes.
Center For the Study of Law and Society Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program
Fundamentals of Criminal Law
This is a pre-print of chapter one from AP Simester, Fundamentals of Criminal Law: Responsibility, Culpability, and Wrongdoing (Oxford University Press, 2021) global.oup.com/academic/product/fundamentals-of-criminal-law-9780198853145 This chapter provides a theoretical overview of criminal law, claiming that it has multiple functions. Among other things, the criminal law operates to prevent certain kinds of wrongs, and to punish them when they occur. Those functions are compatible; but they are often thought to be in tension. Whether preventive, interrogative, or punitive, all parts of the criminal justice system need justification. The chapter then briefly introduces at five foundational principles for criminal law: culpability, legitimate enactment, moral responsibility, wrongdoing, and ascriptive responsibility. Culpability is served by moral responsibility, and it is entwined with wrongdoing: but the latter principles, and the doctrines they govern, are independently significant. The principle of ascriptive responsibility, on the other hand, is related more closely to wrongdoing and legitimate enactment than to culpability per se. Its primary function is to moderate the state’s generic prohibition by identifying those defendants who fall within its scope. As such, it is primarily a criminalization principle.
Michelle Madden Dempsey
This short essay critiques Larry Alexander and Kim Ferzan’s argument against negligence liability, focusing in particular on the authors’ characterization of the object of criminal responsibility (i.e., that for which an actor is held criminally responsible) and the impact this (mis)characterization has on our intuitions regarding negligence liability.
Criminal Law Forum
Criminal law is the branch of law which defines certain types of behaviour as being criminal, and allows those types of behaviour to be punished in some way by the state.
Law and philosophy
Pardon Recipients Seek to Sell Trump on His Own Sentencing Law
The Republican front-runner has a history of making racist statements, but some advisers think highlighting his signature law could help increase support among Black voters and potentially swing the election.
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By Maggie Haberman
In early July, former President Donald J. Trump received a somewhat unlikely visitor at his golf club and estate in Bedminster, N.J.: Michael Harris, the founder of Death Row Records, who had been imprisoned for drug trafficking and attempted murder, came to meet privately with the man who had pardoned him.
Mr. Harris was connected to the former president by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka Trump, who had helped push him as a pardon candidate, according to two people familiar with the process. The couple were staying at Mr. Trump’s club at Bedminster when the meeting took place, and Mr. Kushner joined, two people briefed on the matter said.
But their lunch served another purpose for some people close to Mr. Trump: Mr. Harris is the type of high-profile Black celebrity that some Trump associates hope will next year highlight the former president’s signature criminal justice reform law, the First Step Act, which was one of Mr. Kushner’s key priorities during his time as an adviser in the White House.
Although Mr. Harris is not a beneficiary of the sentencing law, having received his pardon on Mr. Trump’s last full day in office after serving decades in prison as part of a series of clemency grants, he has nonetheless become an evangelist for it.
Mr. Trump, who has shown gains among Black voters in some recent polls , is hoping to win a slightly larger margin than he has in the past, with the potential to swing key states. He has been indicted four times, a fact that his advisers and allies insist — without offering any evidence — will somehow be helpful with Black voters because he asserts that he’s a victim of overzealous prosecution. (He has also repeatedly called the three Black prosecutors investigating him “racist.”)
But some of his closest allies who have been trying to impress on him the value of boasting his own record on the issue insist that he has absorbed their message, though it is unclear whether that’s true or more of a projection of their own wishes.
Mr. Harris declined to discuss what took place in their meeting, but he expressed gratitude toward the Trump administration in a statement and praised the sentencing law. “The passing of the First Step Act and similar initiatives surrounding” criminal justice reform “has provided much needed relief for so many deserving individuals and families,” he said.
An aide to Mr. Kushner and a spokesman for Mr. Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
Not everyone around the former president believes that he should highlight the First Step Act, which Mr. Trump himself soured on soon after signing it. Mr. Trump, who is often influenced by what he thinks his core voters want, felt affirmed in that view after a number of hard-core Republicans began to criticize it in 2021 and 2022 amid a rise in crime. Some of his conservative associates, who see the bill as problematic with Republicans, said privately that they were unhappy that he had met with Mr. Harris.
While the issue poses a potential challenge for Mr. Trump’s team, the discussions also underscore a broader challenge for President Biden’s team heading into 2024: how to pin down an opponent who has a four-year record as well as decades’ worth of statements on almost every issue that are contradictory.
Mr. Trump has a long history of making racist statements, including attacking a judge’s Mexican heritage ; calling for the death penalty for the teenagers who were arrested and later coerced into giving confessions in a case of brutal rape in Central Park in 1989; telling a group of congresswomen of color — almost all of whom were born in the United States — to go back to their countries; and, perhaps most famously, insisting that the first Black president might not have been born in the United States.
He has also grown increasingly violent in his rhetoric about crime in America, saying that he admires the freedom that despots have to execute drug dealers and that shoplifters should be shot on the spot.
At the same time, he has made clear that he viewed the law, which, among other things, sought to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes, as something that should have won him support from Black voters.
“Did it for African Americans,” he wrote to this reporter for a book in 2022 when asked about his repeated expressions of regret about the law. “Nobody else could have gotten it done. Got zero credit.”
But the Democratic coalition of Black, Latino and younger voters has frayed since Mr. Biden’s victory, with Mr. Trump picking up support from those groups. And one difficulty in holding Mr. Trump to account is that he often has a contradictory set of words and actions that different people can latch onto.
And the bipartisan First Step Act, which Mr. Trump signed in December 2018, is one part of his record that some of his allies believe they can use in 2024 to downplay his strongman rhetoric and actions around race and violence.
“Trump was both bloodthirsty in his rhetoric but signed the First Step Act, which was significant sentencing reform,” said Michael Waldman, the president and chief executive of the Brennan Center for Justice, who also served in the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency. “Whether he truly believed in it or not, he did it.”
While Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, attacked Mr. Trump over the law, calling it a “jailbreak” bill despite voting for an early version of it, his criticisms didn’t dent Mr. Trump’s support. And Republican criticisms of the law have become more muted as the party has coalesced around him.
Both praising the legislation and making racist statements would be in keeping with Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, which was a mix of demagoguing immigrants and small-time criminals, using law-and-order rhetoric, and accusing Hillary Clinton of racism against Black men.
It is also far from the only issue on which Mr. Trump has decades of action and statements he can point to that allow different people to read what they want into his behavior, and will happily play to whatever audience he’s in front of.
Other than Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, no person is more responsible than Mr. Trump, who gave the Supreme Court its 6-3 conservative majority, for overturning the landmark decision that recognized abortion rights as constitutionally protected. Yet, Mr. Trump called a six-week abortion ban signed by Mr. DeSantis a “terrible mistake,” and has refused to be specific about a national ban. That has alarmed Democrats, who worry he will try to appear moderate on the issue in a general election race against Mr. Biden.
More recently, some of Mr. Biden’s allies watched angrily as the Spanish-language network Univision, which Mr. Trump has attacked in the past but now has new ownership, gave the former president a relatively soft interview, one that Mr. Kushner arranged, and minimized pushback from Mr. Biden’s team.
It remains to be seen how willing Mr. Trump will be, if at all, to speak about the criminal justice law, or whether Mr. Harris might be asked to speak publicly.
The same week that Mr. Harris met with Mr. Trump, the former president received a call from Alice Johnson, whose life sentence on charges related to cocaine possession and money laundering was commuted after a meeting between Mr. Trump and the celebrity Kim Kardashian. Ms. Johnson was the person who recommended to Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump that Mr. Harris be granted clemency.
“My whole conversation was just encouragement” about the criminal justice reform bill, said Ms. Johnson, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2020 and was pardoned by Mr. Trump a short time later. She said no one had asked her to call him or engage in politics for him next year. But, she added, “he actually is proud of that piece of legislation.”
Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and the author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. More about Maggie Haberman
The Run-Up to the 2024 Election
For the president, who turned 81 on Nov. 20, another birthday may bring more liability than revelry , offering one more reminder of his age to an already skeptical electorate.
Biden isn’t the first incumbent to face grim polling a year out from Election Day. The Bush and Obama re-election campaigns could show him a way forward .
The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal of a state judge’s ruling allowing the former president to remain on the state’s primary ballot, in a battle over his eligibility to run for president again.
Trump rose to power with political campaigns that largely attacked external targets. But now he is leveling his most vicious language at domestic political opponents , raising fears among autocracy experts.
Nikki Haley: Could the former governor of South Carolina really beat Trump in the Republican primary? Big donors are daring to dream .
Ron DeSantis: The chief executive of the Florida governor’s super PAC stepped down as internal disputes among DeSantis supporters intensified.
Vivek Ramaswamy: The political newcomer is spending like there’s no tomorrow in Iowa, buying meals for voters willing to hear him out — but not necessarily winning them over .
Law change proposed to cut knife crime in schools
Posted: November 23, 2023 | Last updated: November 23, 2023
A "prevalence" of knife crime in Jersey schools has prompted a proposed amendment to legislation.
Deputy Helen Miles, the Home Affairs Minister, has proposed a series of changes to the Public Order Law.
The States of Jersey Police said in the proposal that since 2020, there had been 1,052 reports of a crime involving a knife - 6% took place in schools, averaging about 20 offences a year.
If approved, the proposed draft Crime (Public Order) Law would replace the current Firearms (Jersey) Law 2000 - carrying an offensive weapon in a public place without lawful excuse - to include schools.
The new law would also be extended to include carrying "a blade or sharply pointed" weapon as an offence, in line with laws in the UK and Guernsey.
"The extension of this offence into school premises seeks to satisfy the legitimate aim of protecting children, and the public generally, from harm and is proportionate for this purpose," the report said.
Follow BBC Jersey on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook . Send your story ideas to [email protected] .
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Australia passes laws to handle migrant convicts who can’t be held indefinitely or deported
Australian Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles presents the emergency Migration Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. High-risk migrants will face up to five years in prison for breaching their visa conditions under emergency laws that have been introduced to Parliament in response to a landmark High Court ruling that they can’t be held in detention indefinitely. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Migrants with criminal records face up to five years in prison for breaching their visa conditions under emergency legislation passed by the Australian Parliament on Thursday.
The new legislation was in response to a High Court ruling that foreigners can’t be detained indefinitely as an alternative to deportation.
The government said it has released 84 people — most of whom have convictions for crimes including murder and rape — since the court ruled last week that indefinite detention of migrants is unconstitutional.
The decision reversed a High Court ruling from 2004 that had allowed stateless people to be held in migrant centers for any length of time in cases where there were no prospects of deporting them from Australia.
The decision also undercuts Australia’s harsh policies toward asylum-seekers who arrive by boat and criminals who are deported despite long years living in Australia. Boats carrying smuggled people have virtually stopped arriving in the decade since Australia banished their passengers to remote Pacific island detention camps.
The legislation requires the freed migrants to wear electronic tracking bracelets and comply with curfews. Failure to comply with those visa conditions could be a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
Human rights lawyers argued that the measures could be challenged in court as punitive and excessive.
“Any new conditions must meet some basic tests. They must be necessary, they must be reasonable, proportionate, they must not be punitive or deprive people unnecessarily of their liberty,” said David Manne, a lawyer who represents several of the released migrants.
“We shouldn’t readily be handing to the government extraordinary powers to impose severe restrictions on our lives without proper scrutiny. It’s hard to see how there has been proper scrutiny given how urgently this has all been introduced,” Manne added.
The minor Greens party opposed what they described as “anti-refugee laws.”
“These are draconian laws that provide the minister with powers never before seen in Australia and the Greens will not be supporting them,” Greens immigration spokesperson Sen. Nick McKim said.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said further legislation would be considered once the High Court’s seven judges publish the reasoning for their decision.
All the released migrants previously had their visas canceled or had been refused visas because of their criminal records or other evidence of poor character. They were ordered into indefinite detention because they had no reasonable prospects of being deported to a country that would accept them.
They include Afghans, a nationality that Australia has stopped deporting since the Taliban seized power in their homeland. They also include Iranians, because Iran will only repatriate its citizens who return voluntarily.
The test case was brought by a member of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, identified in court as NZYQ, who was convicted of raping a 10-year-old boy in Sydney in 2015 and sentenced to five years in prison. A people smuggler brought NZYQ to Australia by boat in 2012 and he raped the child four months after he was released from an initial period of migrant detention. He was put in indefinite detention after prison.
Japan redefines rape and raises age of consent in landmark move
- Published 16 June
Japan has passed laws that redefine rape and raise the age of consent in a landmark overhaul of sex crime laws.
The definition of rape was broadened to "non-consensual sexual intercourse" from "forcible sexual intercourse", aligning Japanese law's definition with other countries.
The legal age of consent, previously at only 13, has been raised to 16 years.
Previous laws did not protect those coerced into having sex and deterred reporting of such attacks, critics say.
They have also led to inconsistent court decisions, fuelling calls for change.
The new laws were passed by the upper house of the Diet - Japan's parliament - on Friday. They explicitly outline eight scenarios where it is difficult for a victim to "form, express, or fulfil an intention not to consent" to sexual intercourse.
These include situations where the victim is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs; or subject to violence or threats; or is "frightened or astonished". Another scenario appears to describe an abuse of power, where the victim is "worried" of the consequences of refusal.
This is only the first time Japan has changed its age of consent since its enactment in 1907.
The women fighting Japan’s sexual violence stigma
Catching the men who sell subway groping videos
Previously, Japan had one of the lowest age of consent among developed nations. However, a person who has had sex with a minor aged 13 to 15 will be punished only if the person is five or more years older than the minor.
Meanwhile, the statute of limitations or legal window for reporting rape will be extended to 15 years from 10 years, to give survivors more time to come forward.
The changes also ban "photo voyeurism" which includes upskirting and secret filming of sexual acts, among other things.
It follows multiple rape acquittals in 2019 that caused national outcry and helped spur a nationwide Flower Demo campaign against sexual violence. On the 11th day of every month since April 2019, activists have gathered throughout Japan to demand justice and show solidarity with sexual assault survivors.
But some activists have told the BBC that these legal reforms address only one part of the problem.
"Distorted ideas" about sex and consent that have pervaded for generations must be addressed, says Kazuko Ito, vice-president of the Tokyo-based Human Rights Now.
Survivors of sexual assault who go public also often receive threats and nasty comments online.
Even if the reforms are enacted, survivors must feel empowered to report their attacks, activists say.
In Japan, survivors of sexual violence are often reluctant to come forward because of stigma and shame. A 2021 survey by the government showed that only about 6 per cent of women and men reported an assault half of the women polled felt they couldn't do so because of "embarrassment".
"Nationwide learning and educational effort is essential for this norm to be embedded in the society. This is only way to prevent actual sexual violence along with ending culture of impunity," Ms Ito says.
Japan should also offer more financial and psychological help for sexual assault survivors, lawyer and rights advocate Sakura Kamitani told the BBC.
Attackers too should receive support to prevent recidivism, she added.
The fight for consent in Japan
Tessa Wong, BBC News
The biggest and most significant change to the laws is the one that redefines rape from "forcible sexual intercourse" to "non-consensual sexual intercourse" - effectively making legal room for consent in a society where the concept is still poorly understood.
Activists argue that Japan's narrow definition has led to even narrower interpretations of the law by prosecutors and judges, setting an impossibly high bar for justice and fostering a culture of scepticism that deters survivors from reporting their attacks.
In a 2014 Tokyo case, for instance, a man had pinned a 15-year-old girl to a wall and had sex with her while she resisted. He was acquitted of rape as the court ruled his actions did not make it "extremely difficult" for her to resist. The teenager was treated as an adult.
"The actual trial processes and decisions vary - some defendants were not convicted even if their acts were proven to be non-consensual, as they did not meet the case of 'assault or intimidation'," says Yuu Tadokoro, a spokesman for Spring, a sexual assault survivor group.
But the reforms address only one part of the problem, say activists, whose call for change stretches well beyond the courtroom.
Sexual assault is still a taboo subject in Japan and has gained national attention only in recent years in the wake of high-profile cases such as Shiori Ito's court battle, former member of the Self Defence Force and sexual assault survivor Rina Gonoi's public statements, and the Johnny Kitagawa expose.
Read more of our story on why Japan finally reformed its sex assault laws.
- Sexual violence
- #MeToo campaign
- Published 11 June
- Published 7 June
Why is Japan redefining rape?
- Published 6 June
Japan to ban upskirting in stronger sex crime laws
- Published 2 May
Japan’s J-pop predator - exposed for abuse but still revered
- Published 6 March
Japan aims to raise age of consent from 13
- Published 20 February
California Increases Law Enforcement Operations Heading Into Holiday Shopping Season To Combat Organized Retail Crime
Published: Nov 22, 2023
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Heading into the busy holiday shopping season, California launches organized retail crime crackdown.
SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is increasing statewide efforts to combat organized retail crime as the annual holiday shopping season begins. As part of the Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan , the CHP is increasing its law enforcement presence in key retail districts across California and its Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) is increasing enforcement efforts through proactive and confidential law enforcement operations with allied agencies through the holidays — keeping more shoppers, merchants, and retail districts safe.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “When criminals run out of stores with stolen goods, they need to be arrested and escorted directly into jail cells. Leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in law enforcement investments, the California Highway Patrol — working with allied agencies — is increasing enforcement efforts and conducting and supporting covert and confidential takedowns to stop these criminals in their tracks during the holiday season, and year-round.”
“The men and women of the California Highway Patrol are working around the clock to keep shoppers, merchants, and retail districts safe this holiday season — and year-round,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee . “Much of our task force’s success can be attributed to the strong working relationships we have with our law enforcement partners throughout the state and the rapport we have cultivated with the retail industry. Working together with our partners, and utilizing the CHP’s extensive statewide resources, we are cracking down and stopping unacceptable criminal activity.”
Some of the $350,000 worth of evidence that CHP seized in a single recent investigation
The additional law enforcement presence across California is an effort to keep shoppers and merchants safe while catching retail criminals in the act. To help reduce the amount of retail crime that occurs during the holiday shopping season, the CHP’s ORCTF regional teams in Southern California, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento will be collaborating with retailers, loss prevention, and local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, several proactive and confidential law enforcement operations are planned with allied agencies throughout the state and investigators are aggressively investigating and taking down known boosters and fencing operations linked to organized retail crime.
Since the inception of the ORCTF in 2019, the CHP has been involved in nearly 2,200 investigations that have led to the arrests of more than 1,500 suspects and the recovery of nearly 420,000 items of stolen retail merchandise valued at more than $33 million. Building on these successful efforts, Governor Newsom announced earlier this year that the state awarded the largest-ever single investment to combat organized retail crime in California history — sending over $267 million to 55 cities and counties to increase arrests and prosecutions for organized retail crime.
Public safety funding in California is at an all-time high. Building on investments to improve officer retention and well-being and the Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan – which focuses on strengthening local law enforcement response, ensuring perpetrators are held accountable, and getting guns and drugs off our streets – California’s 2023-24 budget includes more than $800 million in funding to support multiple programs to improve public safety and crack down on retail crime.
A virtual media briefing highlighting the CHP’s increased holiday enforcement efforts, along with efforts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is available for viewing and download here .