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Criminal Law Foundations and Policy (Robinson)
Fall 2020   LAW 795-001  

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Meeting Times/Location
MW 9:00AM - 10:20AM

Faculty
Paul H. Robinson

Colin S. Diver Professor of Law

phr@law.upenn.edu
Additional Information

Skills Training
Expository Writing

Grading
30% Participation,
35% Paper,
35% Other (Short writing assignments)

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor

Location

Class meets online.

Category
Upper-Level

Credits
3.0

CRIMINAL LAW FOUNDATIONS AND POLICY LAW795-001-20C Fall 2020

This course examines the foundations of criminal law and policy by focusing on questions such as: What principles ought to be used for determining the rules by which criminal liability and punishment is assessed? In the long-standing debate between crime-control utilitarians and desert retributivists, who should prevail and why? What role, if any, should the community’s shared intuitions of justice play in setting the rules of criminal liability and punishment? In what instances does current criminal law adopt rules that intentionally deviate from desert, and why? Are criminal law rules and human nature in natural conflict, with law providing necessary restraints on people’s natural inclinations to be selfish? Or, are criminal law rules a natural extension of intuitions shared by all humans? Does the answer to this question – the nature of human intuitions – have implications for drafting modern criminal law rules?when criminal law rules do conflict with community justice judgments, are they likely to give rise to vigilantism and, if so, what are the consequences that are likely to follow from such a development?

The readings for the course will be five books: Distributive Principles of Criminal Law: Who Should Be Punished How Much? (Oxford 2008); Intuitions of Justice and Utility of Desert (Oxford 2013); Law without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn't Give People What They Deserve (Oxford 2005); Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law (Potomac 2015); and Shadow Vigilantes: How Distrust in the Justice System Breeds a New Kind of Lawlessness (Prometheus 2018). Multiple copies of each of these books are available from the law library.

This course will be taught remotely in the fall of 2020. Grades will be based upon short writing assignments before class meetings, class participation, and a final thought paper. There is no formal prerequisite for the course. Nonlaw graduate students are welcome; upper-class undergraduates are also welcome but should consult with their advisors. A tentative course syllabus is available from Professor Robinson at phr@law.upenn.edu.

Course Concentrations

Criminal Law and Procedure Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of criminal law and procedure; Perform legal analysis in the context of criminal law and procedure; Communicate effectively on topics related to criminal law and procedure; Demonstrate an understanding of the role criminal law and procedure play in society and their impact on other areas of law and society.


Textbooks

"Distributive Principles of Criminal Law" by Paul Robinson
Publisher: Oxford
ISBN: 9780195365757
Required

"Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert" by Paul Robinson
Publisher: Oxford
ISBN: 9780199917723
Required

"Law without Justice" by Paul Robinson
Publisher: Oxford
ISBN: 9780195160154
Required

"Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law" by Robinson & Robinson
Edition: 1st
Publisher: Potomac Books
ISBN: 978612347325
Required

"Shadow Vigilantes: How Distrust in the Justice System Breeds a New Kind of Lawlessness" by Robinson & Robinson
Edition: 1st
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 9781633884311
Required