Criminal Law: A Desk Reference

If you’re reading this blog, you may want to know more about criminal law and procedure. If so, might I suggest that you look at my recently-published Nolo book, Criminal Law: A Desk Reference. While the book is packed with important information, I’ve done my best to make it interesting and sometimes even funny.

The book discusses specific crimes, such as murder, drug crimes, animal cruelty and immigration crimes. The book also discusses criminal procedures, such as lineups, forensic testing, and bail hearings.

The alphabetical arrangement of the entries makes it easy for you to find a topic that you’d like to know more about. Most entries include a succinct definition or explanation of a law or procedure, and examples that illustrate its application and significance. Examples are drawn from a variety of sources, including history, actual court cases, and courtroom movies. Many entries also refer to current state or federal rules.

Here’s a brief sampling of the kind of information that you will find in the book:

1. The distinction between an accessory before the fact and an accessory after the fact, the differences in punishment, and an illustration based on the assassination of President Lincoln.

2. The term curfew reflects the French roots of William the Conqueror’s 1066 conquest of England. In French, covrefeu meant “put out the fires.” In medieval times, covrefeu orders meant that the peasants had to put out their fires. As the book points out, these orders protected villages against fires and the ruling class against nighttime peasant uprisings.

3. Why the notorious Charles Manson remains imprisoned more than forty years after he was sentenced to death after being convicted of murder for his role in the Tate-La Bianca murders.

4. The status of the “impossibility defense.” in other words, can a person be convicted of a crime for shooting a person who unbeknownst to the shooter has moments earlier suffered a heart attack and died?

5. The two approaches to convicting drivers of DUI offenses.

Criminal Law: A Desk Reference explains criminal law concepts in a way that everyone can understand. If for any reason you want to know more about criminal law than you do now, this may be the book for you.