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Criminal Law

CJ 271W

Criminal Law

CJ 271W

Course Description

Prerequisite: READING LEVEL 2 or WRITING LEVEL 2 and any one course from the Criminal Justice Discipline or any POL 103, POL 104, or POL 212 course with a “C” or better or permission of the instructor. Examines elements and proof in crime of frequent concerns in law enforcement with reference to principal rules of criminal liability. Considers importance of criminal law at the enforcement level, from crime prevention to courtroom appearance. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Assess critically the role of the substantive criminal law in American society.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of law, the rule of law, and of a government of laws, not men.
  • Apply these concepts in concrete situations, and be able to give examples of their application.
  • Distinguish between civil law (or civil cases) and criminal law, and demonstrate an understanding of the policy rationales for the differences.
  • Analyze the four basic theories of punishment.
  • Apply this analysis to the various crimes that will be examined during the course, and assess the effectiveness of the penalties imposed by law for these crimes in light of the four theories.

Analyze the major sources of American criminal law and demonstrate an understanding of their interconnectedness.

Objectives:

  • Explain the role of statutory law and how this genre has developed from the broad, vague pronouncements of early statutes to modern statutes replete with definitions and specificity.
  • Contrast the common law approach to that of statutory law and explain how common law is made through court decisions and how concepts such as stare decisis and precedent.
  • Describe the growing role of administrative law in our system.
  • Analyze the limiting effect of constitutional law on the other components of the legal system, including such concepts as ex post facto, over breadth, vagueness, and the First Amendment.
  • Synthesize all of the above into a coherent system of law, with emphasis on the interconnectedness of the various components.

Apply core concepts of the substantive criminal law to a variety of criminal offenses.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of criminal intent (mens rea) and how it applies in each of the specific offenses studied.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of a criminal act (actus reus) and how it applies in each of the criminal offenses studied.
  • Recognize causation issues when they arise in the study of criminal offenses.
  • Apply the concept of "elements" to each of the specific criminal offenses studied.

Relate the concepts developed above to the law of homicide.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the elements of the various homicide offenses ranging form 1st degree murder to negligent homicide.
  • Apply this knowledge of various real and hypothetical fact situations.
  • Recognize constitutional issues as they arise in this context.
  • Distinguish criminal from noncriminal homicides and assess the policy reasons for the distinctions.

Perform writing tasks to promote learning of concepts.

Objectives:

  • Document attainment of skills learned.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the subject.

Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.

Objectives:

  • Articulate important ideas.
  • Select, organize, and present details to support a main idea.
  • Employ conventions of written, edited, standard English (WESE) or the language of instruction.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary for the audience and purpose.

Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing.

Objectives:

  • Analyze course content in written form.
  • Explain the subject matter in a coherent writing style.