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Criminal Law and Procedure

The criminal law makes the news almost every day. Is so-and-so guilty of this crime? What about that crime? Was it murder? Obstruction? Self-defense? Although pundits are free to condemn or vindicate without knowing the full range of facts or the subtleties of the applicable law, you’ll learn—as a Cornell lawyer in the best sense—not to make that mistake.

You’ll learn that the law doesn’t apply itself: it requires facts and someone to apply the law to the facts. Above all, you’ll learn that in the application of law to fact, reasonable minds can disagree.

All Cornell lawyers are introduced to the basics of substantive criminal law: general principles that apply to all crimes and defenses (actus reus, mens rea, causation, complicity, and so on) and the elements of some specific crimes (especially the various forms of homicide) and defenses (self-defense, duress, insanity, and so on). Upper-class courses are offered on white-collar crime and seminars provide an opportunity to explore the philosophy behind the law.

Example Courses

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