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Understanding Criminal Law [Paperback]

Joshua Dressler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)


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Understanding Criminal Law Understanding Criminal Law 4.7 out of 5 stars (20)
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Book Description

March 10, 2009 1422429873 978-1422429877 Fifth Edition
This comprehensive and clearly written Understanding treatise is frequently cited by scholars and courts in their analysis of substantive criminal law. Understanding Criminal Law is designed to be taught in conjunction with any casebook. The topics covered are those most often raised in criminal law casebooks, and coverage of these subjects is meant to complement professors' classroom discussions. The text focuses on the basic elements of, and defenses to, specific crimes such as homicide, rape, and theft, group criminality, and inchoate liability. Understanding Criminal Law also covers theories of punishment, sources of the criminal law, and overarching principles such as legality and proportionality. The common law is emphasized with extensive comparisons to the Model Penal Code and thoughtful examination of the underpinnings of the utilitarian philosophies of substantive criminal law. The text of Understanding Criminal Law encourages students to consider the approach these philosophies would take to a particular matter under discussion, thus providing an excellent learning tool for gaining a firm understanding of how our criminal justice system works.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: LEXISNEXIS; Fifth Edition edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422429873
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422429877
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine discussion of the essentials of criminal law. October 11, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Among legal study guides, this book is superior. The author clearly lays out the principles and discusses all the important facets of each area very clearly. The book is textual (so if you are looking for a study guide and prefer outlines, look elsewhere). It is somewhat long, but a good read, and very well organized.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Supplement August 16, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I completely agree with the reviews below: this is a thorough and infintely readable supplement for any student of criminal law OR for the interested layperson. It was especially useful for my studies because I had the pleasure of being assigned Prof. Dressler's casebook as well, which I regard as the best (among many) of my first year casebooks. This is a clearly written and thoughtfully designed book covering all the basic concepts of modern criminal law in the U.S. I highly recommend it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Helpful Learning Tool April 27, 2000
Format:Paperback
As a first year law student, I found this book to be a valuable companion to class lectures and other homework assignments, providing clarification, elaboration and insight into this complex and rich subject. If you have not yet had the privilege of adding this to your library, I especially recommend it at this critical period for many -- a few weeks before final examinations!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keyed to DRESSLER Casebook - Good treatise September 7, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
DRESSLER is heavy in political correctness and Model Penal Code and is also anti - Common Law tradition, and anti-anything to do with moral principles - hence the recurring theme of "Legality". However, if you can get past all that - & if you are using the DRESSLER Casebook - this treatise is keyed to it .. Also, His Audio lecture on CD-ROM is also keyed to the casebook. A nifty package that is throughly integrated. Tab the table of cases in the treatise & refer to it when doing case following hypo problems. ALSO, GET LaFave's Treatise / Hornbook - as a source for great exam prepping Hypos..Overall a very concise treatise in a small package.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent supplement to any criminal law casebook December 20, 1999
Format:Paperback
This book does an excellent job of going through the rationales, policies, and histories of the different aspects of criminal law. It includes summeries of the Model Penal Code view on all topics and compares this with the common law and majority rules of law. Overall it is an excellent supplement to any casebook.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful review book April 17, 2005
Format:Paperback
This book explains all of the basic concepts of criminal law in a clear, intelligent manner. His explanations were so clear that I could easily incorporate them into my outline, even though the guide was not keyed into the assigned casebook. I used this book to study for my crim law exam. My professor wasn't very well organized, so I really did not feel very confident about the exam before using this book. This book helped me get one of the highest grades in the class.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The book itself is not really that great. Some law students might think it is a good outline because they haven't seen the other outlines that are out on the market. In reality, you would be better off with an Emanuel or Gilbert criminal law outline.

However, there is ONE situation and one situation only, that it would be a good idea to buy this book. If your hapless Criminal Law professor made you buy "Cases and Materials on Criminal Law" by Joshua Dressler, then this book can come in handy. This book is keyed to Dressler's textbook. Without this book, understanding Dressler's unorganized philisophical chaos is near impossible. This book makes some sense out of some of the concepts that Dressler failed to explain in the textbook (or purposely made confusing so that you would have to buy "Understanding Criminal Law").

In fact, if it wasn't for the danger of being called on and asked to summarize a case from the textbook, I would recommend that you buy this book INSTEAD of the textbook and save yourself a hundred bucks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Explains with good examples. July 23, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was unlike any other supplement I have bought. First, the bad news, there's no Q&A at the end of each chapter so no real way to test your understanding of the subject matter. But, you can get other supplements for that purpose. This book excels when it comes to explaining complicated topics like felony murder, specific v general intent, and mistake of fact/impossibility of fact. It also gives good examples to demonstrate the concepts. In short, this book explains the concepts exceptionally well. It reads like a treatise but that just made it easier to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Rambling without the answers
I am using this book to study for the UBE and not a law school course. I am very disappointed. The book spends pages and pages in every chapter rambling on about various theories... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marianne Warneke
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes up for a not so clear teacher
This book got me through crim law this semester. If you have the Dressler textbook then this is a must. Some classmates bought the earlier edition, which worked for them as well.
Published 6 months ago by Jillian
4.0 out of 5 stars It's OK.
This was a required book from my prof. It's better at explaining things than the casebook, so it's a pretty good supplement, but I've seen some that were better. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Michelle L Goodman
4.0 out of 5 stars Good organisatin of a big topic.
Whenever one has a big topic to write about, organisation is essential. This book is organised well. I learned much.
Published 11 months ago by John Morlier
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good
Well I'm not in law school but this book is well written and informative (so far, I'm 200 pages in)
Published 12 months ago by Graves
4.0 out of 5 stars Good summary
Great supplement to the Dressler Criminal Law textbook. It's organized well, easy to read, and very useful for exam prep.
Published 14 months ago by D12345
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrible professor, this book is saving my semester
This book combines very well w/ Dressler's 5th ed. case law book. This summarizes the information and presents the concepts exceptionally well. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tank
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME TREATISE!!!
If your professor teaches from any of the Dressler casebooks, this treatise is vital. Chnces are that your professor is a big believer in the way Dressler teaches. Read more
Published 17 months ago by MrMosheB
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-saver.
Finding the right hornbook is key. Getting the wrong one can be a disaster. Based on my experience with Crim and this Dressler hornbook, I can attest to its effectiveness in... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Pilar Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ (my grade in crim)
Thank you, Mr. Dressler. Not sure if it was you or if it was all of the studying that I didn't do for my other two classes. Read more
Published 20 months ago by gojohnnylawrence
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