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CRJU: Criminal Law Online

A course guide of open education resources for faculty teaching Criminal Law.

Overview and Objectives


This module will introduce students to the concepts of government including criminal law and branches of government.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the module students will know:

  • the difference between criminal and civil law. 
  • the branches of government
  • sources of law
  • burdens of proof
  • theories of punishment


Supplemental Reading

Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law: Overview of Law


Supplemental Readings and Lectures


Videos from Films on Demand

Films Media Group. (2004). American law: How it worksFilms On Demand


This program traces the history of the U.S. legal system from its origins in English common law; through the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and amendments; to current legislative and judicial processes. It defines such terms as habeas corpus, voir dire, and stare decisis and explores Supreme Court decisions.

  • Criminal Law Segment Hear examples of criminal law, including misdemeanors and felonies. Learn about the criminal procedure, including individual protections stipulated in the 5th and 14th amendments. Washington explains the Miranda v. Arizona ruling.
  • U. S. Judicial System Segment - There are 51 court systems; one federal and one for each state. Learn about state court and federal court system tiers. The U.S. Supreme Court hears cases from circuit and state supreme courts that raise constitutional issues or have broad national impact, such as Roe v. Wade.