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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

Minimum Culpability Requirements Under the Model Penal Code

This is an elementary lesson that introduces the concept of default rules in the Model Penal Code. Students will be introduced to the hierarchy of states of mind expressed in § 2.02(5). This lesson uses sample statutes and scenarios to allow students to practice applying the default rules and hopefully to provide an understanding of why default rules are desirable.

Mistake Under the Model Penal Code: Mistake as to Elements of Offenses

This lesson, which assumes basic understanding of the default rules of construction, introduces the concept of mistake under the Model Penal Code. It is fairly basic in its coverage. The lesson introduces the MPC approach to mistake and relates it to common law doctrines. Using sample statutes and scenarios, it shows the relationship between the required state of mind and mistake and demonstrates how reasonableness is not generally required in MPC analysis. It then covers the difficult concepts addressed in § 2.04(2) (guilt of lesser offenses where defendant makes a "culpable" mistake) and explores the policy underpinnings of this rule. At the conclusion of the lesson, students should have an understanding of how the MPC deals with claims of ignorance and mistake. The lesson provides a separate section of review/practice questions.

Omissions

In the criminal law, culpability can be premised upon either an "act" or (in appropriate cases) an "omission" to act. In this lesson, we examine the concept of culpability for omissions, and we explore the limits of criminal culpability.

Plea & Discovery

These two exercises are offered to familiarize students with what prosecuting and defense attorneys do from the time an investigation begins until trial preparation and why they do it. Special attention is given to correspondence, pleadings, and the guilty plea. The framework for both exercises is federal practice.

Pre-indictment & Charge

These two exercises are offered to familiarize students with what prosecuting and defense attorneys do from the time an investigation begins until trial preparation and why they do it. Special attention is given to correspondence, pleadings, and the guilty plea. The framework for both exercises is federal practice.

Punishment: Theories

This exercise introduces students to the four standard theories of punishment, retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. It familiarizes students with the basic features of each theory in the context of particular statutory provisions and hypotheticals drawn from the law of crimes (substantive criminal law) and the law of punishments (sentencing law).

Self-Defense

This is a lesson dealing with the basic justification defense of self-defense. Understanding the basics of self-defense is essential to understanding many or all of the justification defenses. The purpose of this lesson is to present very simply the elements of self-defense.

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