Book Description: 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.