Seeking Advice For My Criminal Law Class

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
LawSchoolGeeky

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Seeking Advice For My Criminal Law Class

Postby LawSchoolGeeky » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:12 am

So my professor has given us some of his past exams and they seem very peculiar to me in that we don't have to memorize elements of crimes at all. He gives us a four-page statute along with a case file and asks us to write a memo. Is this normal? I don't know how to prepare for this if we're not expected to learn elements. Has anyone had a crim law final styled this way and if so what advice do you have in terms of being prepared and doing well?

BeeTeeZ

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:26 am

Re: Seeking Advice For My Criminal Law Class

Postby BeeTeeZ » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:17 am

LawSchoolGeeky wrote:So my professor has given us some of his past exams and they seem very peculiar to me in that we don't have to memorize elements of crimes at all. He gives us a four-page statute along with a case file and asks us to write a memo. Is this normal? I don't know how to prepare for this if we're not expected to learn elements. Has anyone had a crim law final styled this way and if so what advice do you have in terms of being prepared and doing well?


I had a similar problem last year. My professor gave us a standard issue spotter final, but provided statutes for us to analyze the issues through. Basically, this is my takeaway:

Criminal laws are all statutory, so what you need to focus on is how courts interpret the statutory language, not the "elements" of the crime. Don't focus on the elements of murder in a case, focus on how the court defines "premeditation," "intentional," or "maligned heart." That way, when those words appear in a statute, you can analyze how the law applies to the facts.

Also, pay close attention to which cases use laws based on the MPC, because that is an important distinction to keep track of. You should keep MPC separate from "common law" cases, because certain terms mean different things depending on which body of law the statutes are derived from.

Tl;Dr: pretend your criminal law class is called statutory interpretation class, and study accordingly.

cavalier1138

Gold
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Seeking Advice For My Criminal Law Class

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:49 am

If it helps, all the stuff that was just said about statute interpretation was about elements of the crime. The elements are just spelled out in the statute instead of an opinion.

But yeah, this sounds normal for Crim. Everything is done via statute.

LawSchoolGeeky

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Re: Seeking Advice For My Criminal Law Class

Postby LawSchoolGeeky » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:51 pm

Thanks for the advice. My professor has just kind of freaked me out by spending the first two weeks of class talking to us about statutory interpretation and how to break statutes down into elements. I figured we'd spend two days or so on this max and then kind of apply and practice it as we moved through different crimes. It just seems like it'd be too easy of a class if all we're doing is looking at a statute, breaking it down into elements, and then making arguments? (Not saying that to sound like a snob, but it just seems a little intuitive to me and not something that would take a semester to learn).

I did buy a statutory interpretation supplement geared toward crim law. I'm just someone who likes to be able to be on top of the material and have a sense of knowing where I'm going before I get there and don't feel that way in this class yet.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests