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  • This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Criminal Law.
  • The Criminal Law Outline allows you to search for terms of art that correspond to topics you are studying to find suggestions for related CALI Lessons.

Criminal Law

Constitutional Limitations: Legality

In this exercise, students get an overview of the principle of legality. Legality is divided into four subtopics: legislativity, retroactivity, vagueness, and lenity, which are addressed in turn. Particular attention is paid to the following issues: constitutional foundations; applicability to the states; applicability to the making or the interpretation of criminal laws, and to the legislature or the judiciary; applicability to criminal and civil law, and to substantive and procedural criminal law in particular.

Defense of Others

This lesson covers the subject of defense of others. In many respects an actor's right to defend another parallels his or her right to defend himself or herself. However, there are some specific exceptions and nuances that must be understood. It is the purpose of this lesson to cover those specifics and nuances in the context of some classic scenarios.

Duty to Retreat

This lesson covers the subject of the duty to retreat as a requirement for the justification defense of self-defense. This lesson reviews the common law and current status of the duty to retreat. This subject matter is not particularly complicated, but there are some details that require close scrutiny.

Excuses II: Insanity and Infancy

Excuses II covers the excuses of insanity and infancy. As in Excuses I, the connection between these defenses and other issues in the analysis of criminal liability is emphasized. Excuses II is a freestanding exercise and provides a general introduction to the concept of an excuse. Still, it's probably best used in conjunction with Excuses I.

Homicide (Causation)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide, and one of two lessons on the issue of causation in homicide cases. While some crimes require only a prohibited act, with the necessary mental state, other crimes are referred to as "result" crimes. In other words, in order to be convicted, the defendant must "cause" a prohibited result (with the required mens rea and with proof of required attendant circumstances). Homicide is the quintessential result crime in that defendant must have "caused" the death of another in order to be convicted.

Homicide (Defining Death and Life)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide, and it examines the definitions of "death" and "life" for purposes of the law of homicide. Homicide is a "result" crime in that defendant must have caused the death of another person, and questions necessarily arise regarding when life begins and when life ends. In this lesson, we explore questions related to the definition of death and life in the law of homicide.