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Criminal Law: Study Aids and Other Materials

Criminal Law resources for 1Ls, bar examinees, and other patrons.

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).

Electronic Resource Guides

Study Aids

Other Books of Interest


Electronic Resources

CALI - The center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) provides access to online lessons over a range of law school topics. This link will bring you to the list of available topics on CALI. You do need to register to access the lessons and the library will have access codes for CALI at the circulation desk.

Westlaw Study guides - This will bring you to a selection of study aids provided by the law school's Westlaw subscription. The aids can only be accessed through your Westlaw account. There is a good selection of study aids over the common courses found in Law School.