This course examines substantive criminal law in the United States: rules and prohibitions that our legal system enforces using criminal punishment. (Procedural criminal law, such as rules governing criminal trials, is addressed in upper-level criminal procedure electives.) This course considers not just what the substance of the criminal law is, but also how criminal law is made and why criminal sanctions are used. Our inquiry requires close attention to criminal statutes’ text, judicial decisions interpreting those statutes, and realities about how criminal law is enforced.
University of Houston Law Center