Professor Charles J. Condon                                                              Spring 2005


Email: ccondon@niu.edu                                                       Office Hours by Appointment

Course Description

            This course examines criminal law in the United States, with a focus on the substantive elements of the law. Subject matter includes crimes against the person, crimes against property, attempt, conspiracy, solicitation and crimes without victims. Some aspects of criminal procedure will be discussed and covered as necessary.

Text Required

            Criminal Law (8th Edition) by Joel Samaha (2004)

Course Requirements

            Class attendance is required. There will be a roll sheet distributed at each class session and absences will be recorded for later use as a factor in computing the final course grade.

            In combination with attendance, class preparation and participation will also be used to arrive at the final grade. You are encouraged to contribute to class discussions and are required to read the materials before class to prepare yourself for the discussions of the assigned topics.


Course Grading

            There will be three tests given during this course. Each will be multiple choice and each will count for 30 % of the final grade. Each test will be primarily taken from the most recent material covered. The remaining 10 % will come from class attendance, preparation and participation.

Important Additional Information

Undergraduate Writing Awards

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 Departments 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 students name and one without the students 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 years competition even if the student has graduated.

Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

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.

Department of Political Science Web Site

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


1/24/05           Introduction, review of text and course requirements


1/31/05           First Things First, The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law pp. 1- 24 


2/7/05             Constitutional Limits on Criminal Law pp. 25-53


2/14/05           The General Principles of Criminal Liability: Actus Reus pp. 54-85


2/21/05           QUIZ #1

                        Criminal Liability: Mens Rea, Concurrence, Causation pp. 86- 113


2/28/05           Parties to Crime and Vicarious Liability pp. 114-144


3/7/05             Inchoate Crimes: Attempt, Conspiracy and Solicitation pp. 145-189


3/14/05           SPRING BREAK WEEK (NO CLASS)


3/21/05           Defenses to Criminal Liability: Justifications pp. 190- 237 


3/28/05           QUIZ #2:

                        Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuses pp. 238-280


4/4/05             Crimes Against Persons: Criminal Homicide pp. 281-331                


4/11/05           Crimes Against Persons: Criminal Sexual Conduct & Others pp. 332-372


4/18/05           Crimes Against Property pp. 373-423


4/25/05           Crimes Against Public Order and Morals pp. 424- 461


5/2/05             Crimes Against the State pp. 462- 498


5/9/05             Final Exam