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Criminal Prosecution Seminar: Home

This guide is designed to help students in the Topics in Criminal Law & Procedure seminar with their research and writing.



This LibGuide is designed for use by law students in a Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure Seminar course. 

The guide is designed to help students in this course select topics and research topics related to criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal procedure.  It includes information on topic selection, running a preemption check to ensure a topic is novel; basic information on how to structure seminar papers, and lists print and electronic resources that may be useful for students to use for their research.

Study Aids

Study Aids

Useful Definitions

Accessory: A person who aids or contributes in the commission or concealment of a crime.

Accomplice: A person who is in any way involved with another in the commission of a crime, whether as a principal in the first or second degree or as an accessory.

Actus Reus: The wrongful deed that comprises the physical components of a crime and that generally must be coupled with mens rea to establish criminal liability; a forbidden act.

Attempt: An overt act that is done with the intent to commit a crime but that falls short of completing the crime.

Deadly Force: Violent action known to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.

Deterrence: The act or process of discouraging certain behavior, particularly by fear; esp., as a goal of criminal law, the prevention of criminal behavior by fear of punishment.

Justification: A lawful or sufficient reason for one's acts or omissions; any fact that prevents an act from being wrongful.

Mens Rea: The state of mind that the prosecution, to secure a conviction, must prove that a defendant had when committing a crime; criminal intent or recklessness.

Penal Code: A compilation of criminal laws, usu. defining and categorizing the offenses and setting forth their respective punishments.

All definitions come from Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).