This title is a part of our CasebookPlus™ offering as ISBN 9781636596891. Learn more at

This popular casebook, through the selection of classic and modern cases, provides an excellent tool for teaching students the common law foundations of the criminal law and modern statutory reforms, including the Model Penal Code. Along the way, the casebook considers modern controversies (e.g., "shaming" punishment, capital punishment, broadening sexual assault law, self-defense by battered women, police use of force in making arrests, euthanasia, the role of culture in determining culpability), offers exceptionally helpful and interesting (sometimes even humorous) Notes and Questions to guide students, and even "brain teasers" to confront (as the Preface states) "the Big Questions . . . that philosophers, theologians, scientists, and poets, as well as lawyers, have grappled with for centuries." The Ninth Edition, as in the past, includes new cases, as well as updates in the Notes that bring current criminal justice to the fore. The casebook also includes a highly useful Teacher’s Manual that not only discusses the cases and potential answers to questions in the Notes and Questions sections, but provides suggestions/advice on budgeting time for the materials.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: American Casebook Series
Publication Date: 03/21/2022

Joshua Dressler, Ohio State University College of Law

Stephen P. Garvey, Cornell University Law School


This title is available in our CasebookPlus format. CasebookPlus provides support beyond your classroom lectures and materials by offering additional digital resources to you and your students. Anchored by faculty-authored formative 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 – on their own, outside of the classroom, with no extra work on your part. CasebookPlus combines three important elements:

  • A new print or digital casebook
  • Access to a downloadable eBook with the ability to highlight and add notes
  • 12-month access to a digital Learning Library complete with:
Multiple-choice self-assessment questions, including:
  • Chapter questions keyed to the casebook
  • Black Letter Law questions (available in select subjects)
  • Subject area review questions for end of semester use
Essay and short answer questions with sample answers and expert commentary, in 1L and select upper-level subjects

Leading digital study aids, an outline starter, and audio lectures in select subjects

Students can still utilize CasebookPlus digital resources if they’ve purchased a used book or are renting their text by purchasing the Learning Library at

With CasebookPlus, you can customize your students’ learning experience and monitor their performance. The quiz editor allows you to create your own custom quiz set, suppress specific quiz questions or quiz sets, and time-release quiz questions. Additionally, the flexible, customized reporting capability helps you evaluate your students’ understanding of the material and can also help your school demonstrate compliance with the new ABA Assessment and Learning Outcomes standards.

1. The most recent statistics on United States incarceration rates and demographics.

2. More emphasis throughout the casebook on racial discrimination issues (e.g., in use of force by police and in penal decisions).

3. More Note materials on restorative justice and on sexual offender registration laws.

4. Editing of a number of the principal cases throughout the casebook (in some cases upon the suggestions of adopters of the casebook). In some cases this involves adding facts that were edited out in earlier editions; and in other cases it involves cutting portions of some opinions in order to improve clarity.

5. The addition of homicide statutes from Alabama, Missouri, and Texas to the homicide chapter, along with the inclusion of highly significant amendments to the California and New York homicide statutes.

6. Significant redrafting of the heat-of-passion provocation notes, including new focus on homicides resulting from “homosexual” and “heterosexual” sexual advances and homicides against transgender persons.

7. Replacement of People v. Howard (California) (“inherently dangerous felony” limitation on felony-murder rule) with State v. Fisher (Maryland), a case that more thoroughly discusses the limitation and applies the majority rule (unlike Howard).

8. Major changes in the sexual offense materials including the new Model Penal Code sexual offense provisions adopted by the membership of the American Law Institute adopted in 2021; new discussion of the common law rules that made sexual offense prosecutions unduly difficult (“prompt complaint” rule, the “corroboration” requirement, and cautionary jury instructions).

9. A new note on Stand-Your-Ground self-defense statutes, including summary of empirical research on their effect on homicide prosecutions, including exacerbation of racial disparities in prosecutions and convictions.

10. Deletion of the Richard Cohen Washington Post excerpt relating to the Goetz case.

11. Replacement of People v. Kurr (Michigan; defense-of-others defense) with State v. Giminski (Wisconsin), a better case for teaching.

12. Replacement of United States v. Schoon (9th Cir; civil disobedience defense) with Haskell v. Spokane County Dist. Ct. (Washington 2020), a much more factually interesting case.

13. New materials in the insanity materials on Dissociation Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and significant redrafting of the “Deific Decree” Note materials.

14. The addition of United States Supreme Court opinion, Kahler v. Kansas (2020), relating to the constitutionality of abolishing the insanity defense.

15. Reorganization of the Inchoate Offenses chapter.

16. Replacement of United States v. Alkhabaz (6th Circuit; pre-attempt conduct) with a less dated and more useful case, Major v. State (Georgia).

17. Addition of a new topic in the Complicity chapter dealing with the “mutual combat” doctrine.

Learn more about this series.