Criminal Law Foundations and Policy (Robinson)
R 1:00PM - 2:59PM
Golkin Hall 238
Robinson, CRIMINAL LAW FOUNDATIONS AND POLICY LAW795-001-20A Spring 2023
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 are 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? What implications do the answers to these questions have drafting modern criminal law rules?
The readings for the course include five books: Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law (Potomac 2015); Distributive Principles of Criminal Law: Who Should Be Punished How Much? (Oxford 2008); Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert (Oxford 2013); Law without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn’t Give People What They Deserve (Oxford 2005); and Shadow Vigilantes: How Distrust in the Justice System Breeds a New Kind of Lawlessness (Prometheus 2018). Multiple copies of each book are available for loan from the law library.
For each book, the class will meet for a cluster of three 2-hour classes back-to-back on a Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and Friday afternoon. This cluster of three classes will occur every two or three weeks during the semester, as described in the course syllabus, which is posted on the course’s Canvas page and available from Professor Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grades will be based upon a short writing assignment before each cluster of classes, a short written exercise assigned after the Thursday class that is then the topic of discussion in the Friday afternoon class, as well as class participation. There is no formal prerequisite for the course. Nonlaw graduate students and upper-class undergraduates are welcome but other undergraduates should consult their advisors before registering.
Prof. Robinson will be on leave in spring 2024; this course will not be offered next year.
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.
"Distributive Principles of Criminal Law" by Paul Robinson