The Second Edition of Contemporary Criminal Law presents a clean new approach to teaching criminal law to first year students. A consistent emphasis on the elements of crime centers the book on what matters most, and compelling exercises are rooted in the discretion of prosecutors and judges. Using only opinions from federal courts in the modern era, the book presents a coherence that is missing from texts rooted in a hodge-podge of time frames and jurisdictions. Narcotics, firearm crimes, and immigration all are addressed in complete chapters, reflecting the real-life world of criminal law as it now exists. This second edition includes 23 new cases and commentary aimed at sharpening this focus.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: American Casebook Series
Publication Date: 12/29/2021

Mark Osler, University of St. Thomas-MN School of Law


This title is available in our CasebookPlus format. Anchored by faculty-authored self-assessments keyed to our most popular casebooks, CasebookPlus allows students to test their understanding of core concepts as they are learning them in class.


Adopt the CasebookPlus option of your chosen text and provide your students with all the tools they need to gauge their understanding of the material-on their own, outside of the classroom, with no extra work on your part.

For faculty who wish to view their students' quiz progress and results, we've added new optional customizable reporting capability that can help you evaluate your students' understanding of the material. This feedback can also help your school demonstrate compliance with the new ABA Assessment and Learning Outcomes standards. Learn more about the reporting available to you from your Account Manager or view the course set-up instructions to get started.


Students purchasing a used book, or those who are renting their text, can still utilize all CasebookPlus digital resources by buying the digital only option.

  • 23 new cases, most of them from within the last 15 years, provide clearer messaging on crucial issues throughout the book.
  • An enhanced first chapter, with 6 new cases and commentary, improves readability and employs better-known examples like Burrage v. United States and Dassey v. Dittman.
  • Chapter 9, covering Crimes Against Justice, now includes material from the Mueller Report to explain Obstruction of Justice.
  • Chapter 10, which covers Attempt, Conspiracy, and Accomplice Liability, was also largely remade, with 6 new cases and text added to others. These improvements bring in more modern cases, adjust for changes in the law, and remove cases that were difficult for some students.
  • Typos were removed and additional explanation of key concepts added in every chapter.

Learn more about this series.