Instructor: Thomas D. Arado

Email: NIUCrimLaw@aol.com Office Hours by Appointment


This course examines criminal law in the United States, with a focus on the substantive elements of the law.


Criminal Law (9th Edition) by Joel Samaha (2006). Additional material, as needed, will be posted on Blackboard prior to each class.


Reading of the course materials is required to be able to do well on the exams. Lectures and discussion are designed to explain and supplement the reading material, not to replace it. In addition, some Illinois statutes and/or cases may be provided on Blackboard for review during class. These materials may be subject to inclusion on tests.

Exams represent 100% of your grade, not including bonus and penalty points (see below). If you are unable to take the exam at the scheduled time, you must contact me BEFORE the exam to arrange a make-up time. Failure to contact me BEFORE the exam will result in a ZERO (0) on the exam unless you can provide appropriate documentation explaining why you could not take the exam at the scheduled time.


Class attendance is REQUIRED. Absences will be penalized as set forth below. Initially, attendance will be taken by roll call so I can try to familiarize myself with your names. Thereafter, a roll sheet distributed at each class session and attendance will be recorded. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that your attendance is noted on the roll sheet. On days which exams occur, attendance is recorded for the lecture FOLLOWING the exam. (In other words, if you take the exam and just go home, you will not be given credit for class attendance for that week.)

You may miss four (4) classes without consequence. Points will be deducted from your total points as follows:

# Absences Penalty

5 15 points from total points

6 20 points from total points

7 25 points with an additional 5 for each absence thereafter

I reserve the right to limit or not impose penalties under special circumstances such as hospitalization or family emergencies. [Note: Your work schedule is not an excuse.] However, evidence of the emergency should be presented at the time of the request or within a reasonable time thereafter. Notice of the special circumstance must be given within a reasonable time prior to or after the event that prevented attendance. Failure to provide reasonable notice or evidence is grounds to deny the request. Perfect attendance will be rewarded with a five (5) point bonus added to the overall point total. Perfect attendance is defined as being physically present for each and every scheduled class.


Participation will be required. Up to five (5) bonus points may be added onto your overall point total at my discretion for those students who, in my estimation, have provided worthwhile class participation on a consistent basis during the semester. I also reserve the right to deduct points from your overall score for conduct I determine to be disruptive to the class. The number of points that may be deducted is at my discretion, but the total may not exceed 30 points.


There will be three (3) tests given during this course. Each exam will be worth one-third (1/3) of your course grade (not including penalties and bonuses.) Each test will be 50 questions worth two points per question. The format of the exam may include any of the following: short answer, multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and/or matching. Each test will be primarily taken from the most recent material covered including text, any additional statutes/cases supplied, and class lecture/discussion. Extra credit (bonus point) questions may be offered on each exam. Other extra credit for bonus points may be given at my discretion.


All work must be the product of the student's own original effort. It is the student's responsibility to familiarize him- or herself with university policy regarding plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Students should take the university's Academic Integrity tutorial (http://www.ai.niu.edu/ai/). All infractions will be severely punished: a failing grade for the course and possible disciplinary action by the University.

DISCLAIMER REGARDING LEGAL QUESTIONS: Although I am a licensed attorney, my practice is limited to my employment with the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor. I cannot give any specific legal advice. If you require legal assistance, you may contact the NIU Students' Legal Assistance at Campus Life Building, Room 120, Phone Number (815) 753-1701.

Important Additional Information


Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages - one with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.


Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu

Calendar of Class Assignments

8/25/08 Introduction, roll call, review of text, course requirements, and court systems


9/08/08 First Things First, The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law pp. pp. 2-45

9/15/08 Constitutional Limits on Criminal Law pp. 46-77

9/22/08 The General Principles of Criminal Liability: Actus Reus pp. 78-103

9/29/08 Criminal Liability: Mens Rea, Concurrence, Causation pp. 104-135

10/06/08 Exam #1 (LECTURE FOLLOWS EXAM!!!)

Defenses to Criminal Liability: Justifications pp. 136-171

10/13/08 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuses pp. 172-205

10/20/08 Parties to Crime and Vicarious Liability pp. 206-231

10/27/08 Inchoate Crimes: Attempt, Conspiracy and Solicitation pp. 232-271

11/03/08 Exam #2 (LECTURE FOLLOWS EXAM!!!)

Crimes Against Persons: Criminal Homicide pp. 272-327

11/10/08 Crimes Against Persons: Criminal Sexual Conduct & Others pp. 328-367

11/17/08 Crimes Against Property pp. 368-405

11/24/08 Crimes Against Public Order and Morals pp. 406-435

12/01/08 Crimes Against the State pp. 436-461

12/08/08 Final Exam - 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.