This course is designed to give students an opportunity to explore substantive criminal law and its attendant legal issues. Beginning with an introduction to the courts, legal system, and Constitution of the United States, the course provides students with a foundation for a detailed examination of the structure, policies, interpretation, and application of criminal law.
We delve into a variety of topics, from the basic elements of crimes such as homicide, robbery, and assault, to inchoate crimes like attempt and conspiracy, to crimes against property. Students evaluate the fairness and morality of punishments, including the death penalty, and analyze and apply legal defenses.
Participants also learn to recognize the primary sources of criminal law in the US, and probe the boundaries of statutory law as imposed by state and federal constitutions. Students write legal briefs of landmark court cases and prepare and deliver courtroom-style legal arguments in a mock trial exercise. All of these issues are explored against the broader backdrop of race and socio-economic class in America.
The course provides an opportunity for students to gain academic skills for high school and beyond. Sophisticated legal readings sharpen their text analysis, critical thinking, and reading comprehension abilities. Participants burnish their oral communication, argument, and debate skills through case law discussions and mock trial activities.
Jason D. Goldsmith holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Binghamton University, an M.S. in modern European history from Binghamton University, and a J.D. from Fordham School of Law. He practiced law at a New York City firm with both transactional and litigation departments, specializing in a variety of real estate business and employment discrimination cases. In addition, he represented criminal defendants as a member of the Fordham Law Clinic. As a teacher in a law-themed New York City high school for over fifteen years, he has taught an introduction to law course for sophomores and a community issues law course for seniors. Jason has also coached the mock trial team.
Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.