PHIL 6310:  Moral Issues in Criminal Law

Course Description:   Criminal law aims to punish those who are responsible for wrongdoing.  This aim gives rise to two classes of affirmative defense.  First, the accused can argue that they are not responsible for their actions.  Second, they can argue that, while they have otherwise satisfied the elements of a crime, no wrongdoing occurred.  This first category suggests that the accused should be excused from punishment—either in whole or in part—and trades on doctrines such as duress, intoxication, and insanity.  The second category suggests that the accused’s actions were justified, and trades on doctrines such as self-defense and necessity.  This seminar will therefore consider the related doctrines of justification and excuse, both by review of primary case law and secondary sources.

Course Syllabus (Fall 2016)