Criminal Law

  • 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

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Duty to Retreat

This lesson covers the subject of the duty to retreat as a requirement for the justification defense of self-defense. The 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. This lesson is intended for students who have studied these issues in class, and who wish to refine and enhance their knowledge of the topic.

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Homicide (Felony Murder)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide, and it deals with the topic of felony murder. At common law, one way to commit murder was to show that defendant caused the death of another during commission of a felony (the so-called "felony murder doctrine"). This lesson examines that doctrine. It is intended for students who have studied the doctrine in class and who seek to refine their knowledge and understanding of the doctrine.

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Homicide (Involuntary Manslaughter)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide. In earlier lessons, we focused on the crime of murder, examining the common law, modern statutes and the Model Penal Code formulation. In this lesson, we continue our examination of homicide by focusing on the crime of involuntary manslaughter. This lesson is intended for students who have studied these issues in class, and who wish to refine and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

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Homicide (Murder by Degrees)

At common law, as well as under modern statutory codes, the crime of murder was defined as a homicide committed with "malice aforethought." Some modern statutes divide the crime of murder into degrees. In this lesson, we examine these statutes in an effort to see when and how they apply. The lesson is intended for students who have studied the murder by degree statutes in class, and who wish to refine and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

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Homicide (Murder)

At common law, as well as under modern statutory codes, the crime of homicide was (and is) divided into various component crimes. In addition to the crime of murder, the most serious crime, there are other crimes (e.g., voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, etc.). This lesson provides an overview of the crime of murder by examining how that crime was handled under the common law, as well as how it is handled under the Model Penal Code, and other modern statutory approaches. Subsequent lessons will provide more detailed examination of these topics. This lesson is intended for students who have studied the crime of murder in class, and who wish to refine and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

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Homicide (Unlawful Act Manslaughter)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide. Earlier lessons provide an overview of the crime of homicide, and individual lessons focus on such topics as murder, manslaughter and other crimes. This lesson focuses on the so-called unlawful act manslaughter doctrine. The lesson is intended for students who have studied this doctrine in class and who wish to refine their knowledge of the topic.

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Introduction to Homicide

This lesson provides a basic overview of the law of homicide. It is an introductory lesson to get you started on distinguishing criminal from noncriminal homicide, identifying the elements of homicide, and analyzing the varying degrees of homicide. The lesson guides you through applying the basic concepts of actus reus, mens rea and causation to homicide offenses and provides an analytical framework for approaching homicide problems. Finally, it provides separate practice questions and an opportunity to try out the problem-solving approach on an exam-type question.

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