In this class, we examine aspects of the criminal justice system, focusing on the notion of “crime.” We explore the components of a crime, learn how to interpret and apply criminal statutes, and discover how to establish the elements of crimes. We also delve into important defenses to criminal activity, such as mental disease and justifiable use of force. Throughout this course, we look to examine the social policy behind determining that conduct is criminal and when punishment is appropriate and just. The criminal law raises fascinating issues dealing with race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and mental illness. Students will draft many of the documents prosecutors use to file charges against a person and to prosecute a case: informations, affidavits of probable cause, and jury instructions.
Course is required for 1st year students.