Criminal Law

Course Number: CRIMLJUS 4030
Course Name: Criminal Law (Online)
Course Description:    A study of the principles, doctrines and selected rules of criminal law; the sources of substantive criminal law and historical development of common law principles of criminal responsibility; constitutional constraints on the decision to define behavior as criminal.
Prerequisites:    CRIMJUS 2130 and CRIMJUS 2230 with a "C-" or better in each and junior standing; a forensic investigation major, CRIMLJUS 2130 with a "C-" or better and junior standing.
Level: Undergraduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Have an in-depth understanding of substantive criminal law as differentiated from procedural due process.
  • Haved developed an articulated definition of justice in the criminal justice system of the United States and its membership states as that justice is guaranteed under the proscriptions and prescriptions of governance guided by the Constitution of the United States and the individual 50 states.
  • Have developed an articulated definition of freedom as reflected in the guarantees of life, liberty, and property under the Constitution, as well as privacy as found in the penumbra of the Constitution.

Unit Descriptions

This course is divided into four units:

1. The Foundations of Substantive Criminal Law
2. General Principles of Prosecution and Defense
3. Crimes Against People and Property
4. Crimes Against the Public Good

Each unit contains multiple lessons. The Course Calendar identifies how we will progress through these lessons and provides you with all of the information you need for each unit and lesson. 

Your assignments will include short answer responses, legal case briefs, group assignments, essays, a research paper, and a final exam. Your weekly assignments will be posted to the corresponding discussion boards.

Unit 1: The Foundations of Substantive Criminal Law
The first unit of this course will introduce you to the foundational principles of criminal law. You will learn about the historical origins of today’s criminal law and the important constitutional restrictions on laws that define criminal behavior. You will also explore the basic concepts of holding an individual criminally liable for his or her actions. In Unit 1, you will be introduced to the concept of the legal brief and will write your first of four briefs for this course. The process of writing the brief will help you evaluate, explain, and analyze an appellate case.

Unit 2: General principles of Prosecution and Defense
This unit will introduce you to many of the essential concepts of criminal law. In Unit 2, we will cover mens rea (the mental element of a crime), justifications for criminal behavior (self-defense), excuses for criminal behavior (insanity defense), parties to crime (accomplice liability), and inchoate crimes (attempts). You will learn how these concepts function in the prosecution and defense of crimes. You will also learn how these concepts have developed over the history of our criminal justice system.

Unit 3: Crimes Against People and Property
In this unit we will shift from studying legal concepts that often apply to various criminal statutes to studying specific crimes themselves. We will cover murder and manslaughter, sexual assault, crimes of bodily injury, and crimes against property. You will use the information gained in the previous units to analyze the elements of these crimes as well as the availability of defenses to these crimes.

Unit 4: Crimes Against the Public Good
In this lesson, we turn from the crimes that we studied in Unit 3 for which the victim is a specific individual to crimes in which the victim is the general public.  You will learn about the government's interest in criminalizing public order, morality, and actions that affect the safety of our nation.  You will study the long history of crimes such as disorderly conduct, espionage, and treason - as well as the relatively new crime of terrorism.

Exams: Final Exam

Grading Criteria for Activities

Activities Possible Points
Brief (4 @ 100 pts. each) 400 points
Group Assignments (2 @ 50 pts. each) 100 points
Ringling Brothers Assignments (2 @ 50 pts. each) 100 points
Khan Assignment 100 points
Introduction 5 points
Statute Assignments (4  @ 25, 5, 5 & 10 pts.) 45 points
Michael M. Assignment 50 points
Research Paper 400 points
Final Exam 300 points
Total: 1,500 points

Grading Scale
A 93% - 100%
A- 90% - 92%
B+ 87% - 89%
B 83% - 86%
B- 80% - 82%
C+ 77% - 79%
C 73% - 76%
C- 70% - 72%
D 60% - 69%


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