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[A Brief Comparative Summary of the Criminal Law of The] United States

THE HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL LAW, Kevin Jon Heller & Markus D. Dubber, eds., Stanford University Press, 2011

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-02

31 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2011  

Paul H. Robinson

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: January 5, 2011

Abstract

This chapter provides a very brief summary of the central features of American criminal law. Section II describes its source and current form, which is almost exclusively statutory, embodied in the criminal codes of each of the fifty American states and (to a lesser extent) the federal criminal code. Section III sketches the typical process by which a case moves through an American criminal justice system, from the report of a crime through trial and appellate review. Section IV summarizes the most basic objective and culpability requirements necessary to establish liability for an offense and the doctrines that sometimes impute those elements when they do not in fact exist. Section V describes the general defenses that may bar liability, even if the offense elements are satisfied or imputed. Finally, section VI describes the general organization of a typical American criminal code's definition of offenses and gives highlights concerning a few of the most common offenses.

Keywords: Criminal Law & Procedure, Structure of American Criminal Law, Criminal Code Reform, Model Penal Code, Central Features of Modern American Criminal Codes, Principle of Legality, American Criminal Justice Process, Criminal Liability Requirements, Offense Requirements, Doctrines Of Imputation, Inchoate

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Paul H., [A Brief Comparative Summary of the Criminal Law of The] United States (January 5, 2011). THE HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL LAW, Kevin Jon Heller & Markus D. Dubber, eds., Stanford University Press, 2011; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1735436

Paul H. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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