Crime and punishment are constantly in the news, and lay observers of the American system of criminal justice are often puzzled by its procedures and outcomes. What exactly is the criminal law trying to do? Why does it
seem so difficult to convict criminals? What are the governing principles of American criminal justice, and how are they actually applied in the courts? This First-Year-Initiative course is intended to address these
through a close analysis of cases and related materials concerned with the substantive criminal law, and at the same time to introduce students to the legal method itself and the close case analysis characteristic of
argument. It is thus not a course in law and economics, or law and philosophy, or law and government, but a course in law itself, much as it is taught to law students. Topics include the legal definition of criminal
causation, the mental element of crime, basic principles of justification, criminal responsibility and mental abnormality, and the law of homicide. Readings consist entirely of judicial opinions and related materials,
in class we will analyze these readings in detail to expose their logic and consider their practical implications. These readings are dense and intensive, and students will be asked in class to address difficult issues
defend their answers against rigorous critical questioning. Course requirements include active participation in class discussion, several short, graded written assignments, a mid-term examination and a final
The text for the course is Bonnie, Coughlin, Jeffries and Low, CRIMINAL LAW, Foundation Press, 1997, and supplementary materials to be distributed in class.
Economics 129 may not be used as a substitute for Economics 101 or 110, and may not be counted toward the economics major.
COURSE FORMAT: Lecture/Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: NONE Grading Mode: Graded
Prerequisites: NONE Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459