University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2021

Course Description
This survey course focuses on the general part of criminal law, including principles of criminal liability (such as the requirement of a wrongful act and a culpable mental state) and defenses that justify or excuse acts that are otherwise criminal. We will also study specific crimes including homicide. Throughout the course, we will emphasize statutory construction, learning to recognize the elements required for particular crimes and comparing the Model Penal Code with other statutory schemes. We will address the use of force by police. In addition, we will take a close look at recent controversial statutes including constitutional questions about the ways in which Florida drug possession laws differ from other states.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-25-2021 - 04-27-2021   WF  10:10 AM-11:25 AM DL

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered every semester

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: Two ungraded mandatory writing assignments; two quizzes; midterm; comprehensive final exam.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes:
Bar Course
1L Elective
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Criminal Law - Basic
Bar Subject(s):
Immigration, Asylum, and Citizenship Law Area of Focus (Area of Focus)   More information
Litigation & Dispute Resolution (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: Criminal Law: Cases and Materials
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Required
    Author: John Kaplan, Robert Weisberg, Guyora Binder
    Publisher: Wolters Kluwer
    Edition: 8th
    ISBN: 9781454868217
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: FOR THE FIRST CLASS on Wednesday 1/27, everyone should read pages 21-35 of the casebook (in the attached PDF file, pages 4-17). Also for our first class, students will divide the detailed study of theories of punishment and justice by choosing a topic to prepare in detail from pages 35-50 of the attached PDF file: Deterrence (casebook pages 35-44); Rehabilitation (casebook 44-50); Incapacitation (casebook 50-58); Retribution (casebook 58-63 and 66-70). This approach lightens individual reading loads while facilitating informed class discussion. The sign-up sheet for selecting your discussion topic will be available on Blackboard by Friday 1/22. OPTIONAL - if you find a news story or report that provides an interesting example of one of these theories as reflected in contemporary society, post it in the discussion forum on Blackboard and we can refer to it in class.

    Casebook: KAPLAN, WEISBERG & BINDER, CRIMINAL LAW, CASES AND MATERIALS (8th Edition, 2017). The course supplement to be posted on Blackboard includes both material from the authors’ update to the casebook and additional cases and materials.
    Beginning in the second week of class, videos and PowerPoints will be posted every week for use in students' preparation for class.

    TWEN/Blackboard/Course Webpage Link:
    See course page on Blackboard.

    Additional Information:
    I have attached here the readings for the first class and the first part of the syllabus for the course through week 3. Remember to sign up for a topic for the first class (see above) -- NOTE - for any students who have not selected a topic by 5 pm Tuesday before our first class, I will add you to one of the topics and you will be responsible for that material. The readings for the second class will be available on Blackboard by Monday evening 1/25.

    Substantive Criminal Law Spring 2021 -Readings for first class.pdf
    Substantive Criminal Law Syllabus Spring 2021 Part I.pdf



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-5869
Office: G386