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Criminal Law Today: An Introduction with Capstone Cases, Second Edition

NCJ Number
Frank Schmalleger
Date Published
767 pages
Written for college, university, and law school students taking their first course in criminal law, this textbook addresses the fundamental nature of law, provides an overview of general legal principles, and traces the historical development of criminal law and its contemporary form and function in current American society.
A chapter on the nature and history of criminal law defines "criminal law," and discusses its purpose, historical sources of current law, the Federal system, and the Model Penal Code. Criminal liability and the essence of crime are the topics of the second chapter, as it focuses on the adversarial system and the basic elements of crime. The third chapter is entitled, "Expanding the Concept of Crime." Subsections of this chapter focus on corpus delicti and additional elements of crime, notably causation, resulting harm, the principle of legality, and necessary attendant circumstances. Chapter 4 considers inchoate offenses and parties to crime. Topics addressed are criminal attempt, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation, and parties to crime. Chapter 5 features overviews of the types of defenses, the nature of defenses, and justification as a defense (necessity, self-defense, resisting unlawful arrest, defense of others, defense of home and property, and consent). Excuses as defenses are reviewed in Chapter 6. Categories of excuses include duress, intoxication, mistake, age, entrapment, and syndrome-based defense enhancements. Various aspects of the defense of insanity are considered in Chapter 7. Remaining chapters address the legal and social dimensions of homicide, assault, battery, other personal crimes, property crimes, and computer crimes; offenses against public order and the administration of justice; offenses against public morality; victims and the law; and punishment and sentencing. A central feature of this textbook is its "Capstone Cases," placed at the end of each chapter to provide actual court opinions that illustrate important themes in the law. Appended U.S. Constitution and Model Penal Code excerpts, a glossary, table of cases, and a subject index


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