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August 14, 2017

First assignments and electronic copies of the course description and class syllabus

I have posted on the Moritz official website our first-day assignment, but I figured it would be useful to repost the details here, while also providing electronic copies of the basic course documents. So....

In preparation for our first class on Monday, August 21, you should:

1. Obtain a copy of Kaplan, Weisberg and Binder, Criminal Law (8th ed. 2017)

2. Obtain a copy of the course description and the course syllabus, which will be made available in front of my office (Room 313) and here the course website.

3. Read the casebook's Introduction quickly and pages 21-27, 31-34, and 605-11 closely. Because the next set of readings provide theoretical background, can be read quickly, and should enhance your appreciation of our initial discussions, I encourage you also to SKIM the readings from pages 34‑76 in the text as soon as possible.

Download 2017 Course description

Download 2017 Criminal Law Syllabus

August 14, 2017 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 31, 2017

Exam review in the afternoons the week of February 6

Students interested in reviewing their final exam performance can and should email me (1) an ideal afternoon time for Monday through Wednesday (2/6 to 2/8), and (2) their exam number.  I will email back a confirmation and you will have a formal time booked.

Students can and should use the comments to this post to indicate if they would like me to provide other exam review windows.

January 31, 2017 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 03, 2017

My accounting of extra credit efforts submitted in 2016

Over the break I reviewed my electronic and paper records to account for all the extra credit (EC) efforts submitted.  Here, listed by last name and number of EC submissions, is what my accounting shows:

Aust (3)
Barton (1)
Belcastro (3)
Brinzo (3)
Carpenter (3)
Cash (4)
Cashell (3)
Cotton (1)
Darnell (2)
Daroff (4)
Duff (3)
Fu (2)
Graves (2)
Hardy (1)
Harris (2)
Hartman (2)
Hearon (2)
Johnson (2)
Kannan (3)
McCarroll (2)
Michel (0)
Najaf (1)
O'Shea (3)
Pristic (2)
Roper (3)
Someya (2)
Szaruga (3)
Zeller (1)

I this it is QUITE POSSIBLE that I have missed some submissions, so if your records show a different number of EC submissions, let me know.

January 3, 2017 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 13, 2016

Class schedule and activities for classes before Thanksgiving break of November

I hope everyone had a relaxing and meaningful mini-break, and we return with lots to get to. Here is my vision for class plans/activities for the five classes we have before it is time to turn to turkey:

Monday Nov 14: Discussion of Rape Survey results and discussion and votes on various proposed new/improved rape provision for Oliwood/MPC to replace Section 213.1(1).

Wednesday Nov 16:  Finish rape reform discussion and its lessons, begin overview of defenses (in theory and practice), starting with dive into intricacies of self-defense 

Friday Nov 18:  Deep dive into self-defense doctrines, which demands that you all have read (and re-read) La Voie and especially Leidholm and MPC defensive force provisions very carefully.  

Monday, Nov 21:  Deep dive into Ohio's common-law approach to self-defense, most fully defined by Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Thomas, which is available in pdf form at this link. (The official cite is State v. Thomas, 77 Ohio St.3d 323, 673 N.E.2d 1339 (1997).)  Legislative nuances to Ohio's common-law approach to self-defense appear in these Ohio Revised Code provisions: 2901.05. Burden of proof - reasonable doubt - self-defense.2901.06. Battered woman syndrome evidence.2901.09. No duty to retreat in residence or vehicle.

Tuesday, Nov 22 (a constructive Friday):  Wrap up discussions of self-defense doctrines, start turn to other defenses of duress, necessity and insanity 

November 13, 2016 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 07, 2016

Results of our in-class survey of what should (and should not) be covered by by modern rape provisions...

can be downloaded here:

Download 2016 rape offense survey results

As always, student reactions and feedback are welcome in the comments.  And those who have taken up the challenge of writing a new rape provision for Oliwood can/should perhaps learn a lot from the survey results about the views of your "constituency."

November 7, 2016 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (4)

November 02, 2016

Class schedule and activities for first few weeks of November

Because I continue to have way too much fun in class answering all your good questions, I think I now need to put class plans/activities for the coming week in writing here so I make sure we keep moving forward (and so you all can know just what you need to read/do):

Wednesday, Nov 2:  Set up next week's role play, review/recap Berry, Williams and Mayes

Friday, Nov 4: Finish up homicides doctrines (with felony murder and MM), including my (great but dated) Simpson's hypo if we have time, and then watching 86-minute long documentary William Kuntsler: Disturbing the Universe (starting at 3:30pm), and then happy-hour

Monday, Nov 7:  Introduce rape/sexual offenses history and doctrines and enduring challenges

Wednesday, Nov 9:  Legislative drafting role play in which two (or more) legislative subcommittees will present proposals for either:

1.  Drafting a new/improved rape provision for Oliwood/MPC to replace Section 213.1(1),


2.  Drafting a "most serious sex offense always requiring expulsion and prosecution" for a school campus behavior code?

Please indicate your preference in the comments.  Thanks.


November 2, 2016 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (11)

October 17, 2016

Seeking a California defense attorney for Joe Shooter....

because every other position is filled for Wednesday's role play.  Here is the line-up (as well as the expected order of events):


California v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Chance Johnson

Defense Attorney:  _________


Kansas v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Abbey Zeller

Defense Attorney:  Elizabeth Hartman


Ohio v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Claudia Cash

Defense Attorney:  Erica Duff


If nobody volunteers for the last open role, I suppose I will have to defend Joe Shooter in California, but I am certain I will do a much worse job than would a capable student (and I already treat myself to too many beers). Also, to help both lawyers and jurors, here you can find a "verdict" form to help you work through the homicide charging options in each jurisdiction:

Download Shooter-verdict-form

October 17, 2016 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 13, 2016

"Ballot Questions In Three States May Affect Death Penalty Nationwide"

The title of this post is the headline of this Nebraska NPR piece which talks reviews some of the issues we discussed in class on Wednesday and may prove helpful for anyone doing the death-penalty extra credit and/or making election predictions.

October 13, 2016 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 12, 2016

Class schedule and activities for week of October 17

Because I had way too much fun, and was disinclined to make you do any "real" work in your last class before the break (and also forgot to hand out the Joe Shooter facts in class), I think we now need to tweak my plans for the week of October 17.  Here is my new/latest thinking:

Monday, Oct 17:  Finally finish causation doctrines, preview rest of class (getting Part II of syllabus), introduce homicide unit, and explain context, value, roles for Joe Shooter role play.

Wednesday, Oct 19Do Joe Shooter role play and discuss its many lessons

Friday, Oct 21:  Celebrate my birthday ... by discussing intentional homicides (Watson and Walker, pp. 346-363 in text), and then watching 53-minute long documentary on American prisons, and then happy hour.

October 12, 2016 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

Starting homicide doctrines starting with Joe Shooter role play

Next week we will begin our in-depth discussions of homicide laws and we get started with another role-play.  To get off to a running start, here is a link to the Joe Shooter facts (which I am also handing out in class), along with an encouragement for folks to sign up (in the comments and/or via an e-mail) to play the role of either prosecutor or defense attorney on Joe Shooter's behalf in California (a common-law-influenced jurisdiction) or Kansas (an MPC-influenced jurisdiction) or Ohio (a little of everything).

This time around, we only really need one lawyer for each side -- so 6 total volunteers, a single prosecutor and a single defense attorney for each state.  In addition to the usual offer of future happy hour celebration, volunteers this time around can know that they will be rewarded for their efforts by being assured they get a really good running start at tackling homicide doctrines

So, review the Shooter facts and sign on up in the comments or via an e-mail to me.

UPDATE:  We have our Ohio lawyers, Claudia Cash has volunteered to prosecute and Erica Duff volunteered to be the defense attorney in Ohio.  Thanks, and know now that I think, after having had too much fun in class today, that I am pushing back the role play to Wednesday (10/19).  Watch this space (i.e., this new post) with more details.

And Elizabeth Hartman has now signed up to be the Kansas defense attorney, and now Chance Johnson is to be the California prosecutor.  Two spots left.

October 12, 2016 in Course materials and schedule, Starting a career as a lawyer | Permalink | Comments (0)