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Current Controversies in American Criminal Law


Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students. A basic understanding of international law and/or criminal law is helpful but not required.


“This seminar will discuss controversial issues in American criminal law. Representative topics include the legal treatment of murder, manslaughter, capital punishment, complicity, conspiracy and terrorism, rape, extortion, political bribery and corruption, drug possession, intoxication and addiction, insanity and diminished capacity, obstruction of justice, information theft, duress, self-defense, and entrapment.
Course readings will be primarily American cases and some statutes and additional textual materials.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course: To gain a knowledge and understanding of specific controversies facing American criminal law as well as an understanding of the interaction between American court decisions and criminal statutes.

Achievement levels

The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course: see above.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Prof John Diamond

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare questions for discussion.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars:

  • Names of instructors:

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare written assignments.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description:

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions:

  • Names of instructors:

  • Required preparation by students:

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
Written exam (English)

Submission procedures
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
Literature: readings to be posted on Blackboard

Course information guide:

  • Outline as posted on Blackboard


  • To be announced on Blackboard

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Blackboard


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Coordinator:

  • Work address:

  • Telephone number:

  • E-mail:


  • Institution:

  • Division:

  • Room number secretariat:

  • Opening hours:

  • Telephone number secretariat:

  • E-mail:


A maximum of 30 students can participate in this course.