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Introduction to the U. S. criminal law

Informacje ogólne

Kod przedmiotu: WP-MON-U2-IUSCL Kod Erasmus / ISCED: (brak danych) / (brak danych)
Nazwa przedmiotu: Introduction to the U. S. criminal law
Jednostka: Wydział Prawa i Administracji
Punkty ECTS i inne: 4.00 (zmienne w czasie)
zobacz reguły punktacji
Język prowadzenia: angielski
Poziom przedmiotu:


Symbol/Symbole kierunkowe efektów uczenia się:

wpisz symbol/symbole efektów kształcenia

Skrócony opis:

This course provides a study of the general principles, sources and purpose of criminal law, including the act requirement and mens rea requirement of the particular offense of criminal homicide. The course also focuses on the methods and tools used during murder investigations, including crime scene management and defenses used by defense counsel at trial.

The course will cover substantive U.S. criminal laws and compare and contrast the scope and structure of these crimes, how they are handled differently, in the criminal justice systems both in the U.S. and Poland. Criminal homicide in many forms affects both the U.S. and Poland. Throughout the course, students will explore the scope and structure of state crimes of homicide and prosecution and defense strategies in state cases, including decision making before and after trials.

Pełny opis:

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Professor Melanie Reid

• Email: melanie.reid@lmunet.edu


No. Topic Planned amount in hours

1. Introduction to U.S. Criminal Law 2 hours

3. Criminal Homicide 2 hours

4. Intentional Killings: Murder 2 hours

5. Intentional Killings: Voluntary Manslaughter 2 hours

6. Felony Murder 2 hours

7. Unintentional Killings: Involuntary Manslaughter 2 hours

8. Intoxication 1 hour

9. Insanity 1 hour

10. Self Defense 1 hour


Monday – May 30th : read the case study of Thomas Dudley

• Introduction to U.S. Criminal Law

Culpability under Anglo-American criminal law is founded upon certain basic premises that are more or less strictly observed by legislatures and courts when formulating the substantive law of crimes. The prosecution is generally required to prove the following elements of a criminal offense: actus reus (guilty act), mens rea (guilty mind), that the physical act and the mental state existed at the same time, and a harmful result was caused by the defendant’s act. A jury must find that the prosecution has proven all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a defendant to be found guilty.

• Criminal Homicide

At common law, homicides were divided into justifiable homicides (those commanded or authorized by law), excusable homicides (those for which there was a defense to criminal liability), and criminal homicides. Modern statutes often divide murder into degrees.

• the case of Thomas Dudley (England 1884).

Tuesday – May 31st : read the case study of Joseph Bailey

• Intentional Killings: Murder

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought (which may be express or implied).

• the case of Joseph Bailey (Virginia 1983)

• Intentional Killings: Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is a killing that would otherwise be murder but is distinguishable from murder by the existence of adequate provocation---i.e., a killing in the heat of passion.

Wednesday – June 1st: read the case study of DeSean McCarty

• Felony Murder

A killing committed during the course of a felony is murder. Malice is implied from the intent to commit the underlying felony. The felony murder rule can be applied only where the underlying felony is independent of the killing. The death must have been a foreseeable result of the commission of the felony.

• the case of DeSean McCarty (Illinois 1997).

Thursday – June 2nd: read the case study of Jordan Weaver

• Unintentional Killings: Involuntary Manslaughter

If death is caused by criminal negligence, the killing is involuntary manslaughter. Criminal negligence requires a greater deviation from the reasonable person standard than is required for civil liability.

• Intoxication

Evidence of intoxication may be raised whenever the intoxication negates the existence of an element of a crime. The law generally distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary intoxication.

• the case of Jordan Weaver (Indiana 1991).

Friday – June 3rd: read the case study of Andrea Yates

• Insanity

The insanity defense exempts certain defendants because of the existence of an abnormal mental condition at the time of the crime. The traditional M’Naghten rule provides that a defendant is entitled to an acquittal if the proof establishes that a disease of the mind caused a defect of reason such that the defendant lacked the ability at the time of his actions to either know the wrongfulness of his actions or understand the nature and quality of his actions.

• the case of Andrea Yates (Texas 2001).

• Self Defense

As a general rule, an individual who is without fault may use such force as reasonably appears necessary to protect herself from the imminent use of unlawful force upon herself. There is no duty to retreat before using nondeadly force, even if retreat would result in no further harm to either party. A person may use deadly force in self-defense if he is without fault, she is confronted with unlawful force, and he is threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm.

Wednesday – June 8th at noon – email your response to the Bernice and Walter Williams case study questions to melanie.reid@lmunet.edu


The reading materials consist of case studies that will be provided to the class.

Efekty kształcenia i opis ECTS:

This criminal law course will familiarize the student with the fundamental concepts and doctrines of substantive U.S. criminal law, as well as the basics of statutory analysis and interpretation. In addition, the course will attempt to further the students’ understanding of the structure of the American legal system, the hierarchy of courts, the variety of legal institutions involved in the criminal justice system, and the interaction of different kinds of legal authorities (e.g., constitutions, statutes, case law, regulations, and other administrative guidance). The course will also build students’ general legal competence in analyzing and synthesizing cases, reading and analyzing statutes, thinking critically about legal and policy issues, learning through reflection and self-critique, paying attention to detail, and exercising practical judgment.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should:

• Identify the elements that make up a crime, including mens rea and actus rea.

• Decipher statutory language from the Model Penal Code standards or a state statute and apply it to real world facts or hypothetical situations.

• Differentiate between the Model Penal Code standards and the common law standards as they apply to homicide.

Metody i kryteria oceniania:

Your grade in this class will be determined as follows:

• 30% of your grade will be based upon in-class participation and group discussions on the assigned case studies, and

• 70% of your grade will be based upon your written response to the case study of Bernice J. And Walter L. Williams that you will turn in at the end of the course. You will be asked to fully evaluate the homicide statutes and answer the case study questions that evaluate whether the Williams have an affirmative defense and what is the appropriate level of homicide that they should be charged or whether the Williams should be charged at all.

Zajęcia w cyklu "Semestr letni 2021/22" (zakończony)

Okres: 2022-02-01 - 2022-06-30
Wybrany podział planu:

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Typ zajęć: Konwersatorium, 15 godzin więcej informacji
Koordynatorzy: Maciej Hulicki
Prowadzący grup: Maciej Hulicki
Lista studentów: (nie masz dostępu)
Zaliczenie: Przedmiot - Zaliczenie na ocenę
Konwersatorium - Zaliczenie na ocenę
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Opisy przedmiotów w USOS i USOSweb są chronione prawem autorskim.
Właścicielem praw autorskich jest Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego w Warszawie.