Whether from the media or the seemingly endless rotation of Law and Order episodes, many students enter law school with a great deal of knowledge about important concepts that dominate Criminal Law, including murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, self-defense, or insanity. This familiarity with criminal law presents a dual challenge for students and professors alike. First, as future lawyers, they must force themselves to think critically about these familiar topics, and despite their basic knowledge of the criminal justice system, students quickly learn that there is much more to criminal law than meets the eye. Second, part of this critical analysis requires students to shed any preconceived notions about the criminal justice system they may have acquired. For my students, this means appreciating that criminality exists in all sectors of society and is not reserved for any particular race, gender, or socioeconomic class. Armed with knowledge of criminal law and its principles, my hope is that they will develop their own ideas about making our great justice system better.

This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013

Publication Information

10 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 605-607 (2013)


Written for the symposium Criminal Law Pedagogy, derived from a discussion forum at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference (2012).