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About the Book

Criminal Law: The Basics

Front Cover - Criminal Law: The Basics

Third Edition

Frank A. Schubert
Emeritus, Northeastern University

2015. 518 pages. 978-1-45-481807-6. With Teacher's Manual.

About the Book


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This title contains references to LoisLaw in the text. Please see the Errata page for errata.

This student-friendly text focuses on the basic conceptual building blocks of criminal law, covering the most important aspects of each topic and omitting information that is not essential in an introductory course.  Emphasizes two underlying themes. First, the common law heritage that has so influenced criminal law in this country. And, second, the critical role that federalism plays in American criminal law. The first five chapters focus on fundamental topics. In the final three chapters, students apply the concepts they have learned as they discover the elements of many substantive criminal offenses.

Look for these key features of the new edition:

• Focused, understandable, and concise text that introduces students to the fundamentals of substantive criminal law. 
• Relies primarily on carefully edited, highly readable appellate opinions coupled with brief textual expositions to explain relevant principles, leading students to understand the "what" as well as the "why." 
• Includes statutes so that students understand that the legislature, not the courts, primarily defines what is criminal and determines sentencing options.
• Text reflects the author's 35-year career as a student, practitioner (police administration and prosecutor), and college teacher of criminal law to undergraduates.
• Appendices include a guide to briefing cases and a “procedural primer” which explains the differences between bench trials to the court and jury trials and each of the stages of a criminal trial. 
• 21 of the 68 primary cases are new historical reviews of important milestones in the development of American criminal law from the colonial era to the present.
• An expanded discussion of self-defense that goes beyond the traditional common law approach to include “make my day” and “stand your ground” statutes.
• An expanded discussion of criminal federal law.

Preface / Sample Chapters