US Criminal Law

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US CRIMINAL LAW

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This book is about US Criminal Law, its history, development and current state. The book is designed to complement the Wikiversity course of the same name, but can be read on its own. Each chapter begins with an outline of the topic because an understanding of the principles of criminal law is necessary to place the topic in context. Where appropriate each chapter will highlight relevant case law and statutes, which may include links to other resources within and outside Wikimedia wikis.

The main goals of the book are to enable the reader to:

  • understand the aims and functions of the criminal justice system;
  • understand the major criminal offences;
  • understand the concept of criminal liability;
  • critically evaluate the criminal law and reform proposals.

All crimes have the following four elements in common:

  1. a voluntary act known as actus reus.
  2. a culpable state of mind known as mens rea.
  3. “concurrence” between the mens rea and the actus reus.
  4. causation of harm (or risk).

Chapters

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This book is dual licensed under the GFDL and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.