Choosing a Criminal Procedure Casebook: On Lesser Evils and Free Books

11 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2016

See all articles by Ben Trachtenberg

Ben Trachtenberg

University of Missouri School of Law

Date Written: June 22, 2016


Among the more important decisions a law teacher makes when preparing a new course is what materials to assign. Criminal procedure teachers are spoiled for choice, with legal publishers offering several options written by teams of renowned scholars. This Article considers how a teacher might choose from the myriad options available and suggests two potentially overlooked criteria: weight and price.

The Article then explores the possibility of providing criminal procedure casebooks to law students for much less money than is currently charged, taking advantage of the public domain status of Supreme Court opinions, which form the backbone of most criminal procedure syllabi. The Article suggests that law schools could encourage faculty to produce casebooks that would be made available to our students for the cost of printing, with electronic versions available gratis (that is, “free” as in “free beer”).

Keywords: criminal procedure, teaching, legal education, law schools, Supreme Court, weight, price, free books, casebooks, textbooks,, public domain

Suggested Citation

Trachtenberg, Ben, Choosing a Criminal Procedure Casebook: On Lesser Evils and Free Books (June 22, 2016). 60 Saint Louis University Law Journal 543 (2016), University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-11, Available at SSRN:

Ben Trachtenberg (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
Columbia, MO MO 65211
United States

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