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Criminal Law

Ask a Law Librarian

The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. Librarians are available 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Friday.

Reference: (480) 965-7161
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Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (COL) Students

  • Make an Appointment with a Law Librarian: COL students can make an individual appointment with a law librarian for one-on-one assistance by submitting an online request form. Appointments are available in-person, by phone, or via Zoom.
  • Group Research Training with a Law Librarian: This is an opportunity for groups of three or more COL students to receive personalized research training on any legal research topic. The Law Library’s expert reference librarians will meet with your group and provide instruction and training to meet your research needs. Group trainings can be held in-person or via Zoom.
  • Chat with a Law Librarian: COL students can connect with a law librarian via LibChat during reference hours

Primary Authority

Title 18 of the United States Code includes federal criminal laws. Additional criminal provisions are found throughout the U.S. Code.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code can be accessed through the following sources:

Criminal Law - 50 State Statutory Surveys

  • Westlaw (Westlaw password required): Includes resources collecting law on controlled substances, crimes, criminal procedure, representation, sentencing, and weapons.
  • Lexis (Lexis password required): Includes resources collecting law on criminal offenses and post conviction proceedings.

Research Guide: Statutes and Legislation
This resource gathers databases and websites that provide access to public laws, session laws, the U.S. Code, and statute annotations.

Federal court cases concerning criminal law and procedure can be searched on these legal databases (logins required):

You can also browse the Westlaw Criminal Law Keycite and Filter by date or jurisdiction, or browse nature and elements of crime and defenses by clicking on "key number." 

Research Guide: Federal Court Opinions
This resource compiles subscription databases and free websites for researching case law. It also lists print reporters to assist with legal citation and research.

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
These rules govern federal criminal trials in federal courts.

Federal Rules of Evidence
These rules govern the presentation of evidence and testimony.

Arizona District Court Rules
These rules govern proceedings in the federal Arizona District Court, including Local Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
These rules govern procedures in federal Courts of Appeals.

Research Guide: Federal Court Rules
This resource compiles websites and databases that provide access to rule text, proposed amendments, and tools of interpretation for rules in courts throughout the federal system.

Texts and Treatises

You can search for resources in the ASU Library collection related to criminal law, post-conviction justice, public defense, and prosecution in the ASU Library catalog by using subject headings such as: Criminal law-United States.

Criminal Law (Wayne R. LaFave, 2010) 
Substantive Criminal Law is a single volume that analyzes criminal law by interpreting case law and statutory law via the Model Penal Code. The text focuses on the ways that specific crimes and general principles of criminal law are defined by state statutes and interpreted by the courts.

Criminal Procedure (Wayne R. LaFave et al., 2015) 
Criminal Procedure is a seven-volume treatise that provides step-by-step guidance through the typical state court criminal justice system. This series explores criminal procedure from pre-arrest to pretrial, trial, post-conviction, and appellate proceedings.

Fundamentals of Criminal Law (A P Simester, 2021)
Breaks down the nature of culpability and criminal responsibility, exploring mens rea, or the mental state that leads to wrongdoing. The book examines the legal and sometimes moral distinctions between acts and omissions, complicity, voluntariness, and nonvolitional action. It also unpacks defenses, justifications, and excuses for crimes.  

The Handbook of White-Collar Crime (Rorie, 2019)
This ebook from ProQuest's eBookCentral, provides a one-volume overview of research on white-collar crime, this book presents diverse perspectives from an international team of both established and newer scholars that review theory, policy, and empirical work on a broad range of topics. Chapters explore the extent and cost of white-collar crimes, individual- as well as organizational- and macro-level theories of crime, law enforcement roles in prevention and intervention, crimes in Africa and South America, the influence of technology and globalization, and more.

Plea Bargaining Made Real (Steven P. Grossman, 2021)
Although most criminal cases are settled with plea bargains, the deals garner little public attention. This book questions whether the process, which lacks many of the legal protections of a trial, adequately preserves the interests of justice.

Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining Is a Bad Deal (Carissa Byrne Hessick, 2021)
This book argues that the pressure to take a deal falls disproportionately on disadvantaged people and can shield shoddy evidence from scrutiny. The author argues for alternatives to incarceration and for more oversight of convictions and sentencing within prosecutors’ offices.

Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment (Wayne R. LaFave, 2020) 
Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment is a six-volume treatise that provides an extensive analysis of numerous factual situations, including the exclusionary rule, probable cause, search warrants, consent searches, as well as stop and frisk and lesser intrusions.

Wharton's Criminal Evidence (Barbara E. Bergman and Nancy Hollander, 1997) 
Wharton's Criminal Evidence is an eight-volume treatise that thoroughly analyzes applicable Federal Rules of Evidence and cases interpreting the rules. Authors compare and contrast corresponding evidentiary rules, statutes, and individual state cases. All evidence and admissibility principles are treated specifically as they apply to criminal cases. This title contains guidance for both defense and prosecution on handling witnesses, impeachment rules, lay witness opinion, expert testimony, and real and demonstrative evidence. Available via Westlaw (Westlaw login required).

Wharton's Criminal Procedure (Nancy Hollander et al., 2007)
Wharton's Criminal Procedure is a five-volume treatise that traces statutory and judicial changes, as well as modifications, in common law. Subjects include criminal and juvenile court, venue, arrest, extradition, preliminary hearings, search and seizure, and grand juries. Available via Westlaw (Westlaw login required).

Westlaw: Criminal Law, Jurisprudence & Encyclopedias (Westlaw password required)
This list of database resources includes general treatises and focused resources on particular jurisdictions and crimes.

Web Resources

Many federal agencies include law enforcement divisions that enforce criminal provisions of various federal statutes.

American Law Institute: Model Penal Code
This resource provides guidance on standardizing criminal law across the United States. It is available via these resources:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
This agency investigates federal crimes and provides reports on criminal activity across the U.S.

U.S. Department of Justice
The federal agency's criminal division enforces federal criminal laws, including assistance on law enforcement matters, advising other government bodies on the development of criminal law, and sensitive areas of law enforcement such as witness protection and electronic monitoring.

American Bar Association: Criminal Justice Section
This organization provides information about events, criminal justice policymaking, criminal justice jobs, as well as a magazine and newsletter.

FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting
This federal government resource gathers data on crimes as well as police activity from thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Bureau of Justice Statistics
This resource from the Department of Justice provides nationwide statistical data concerning the criminal justice system, including crime, courts, prisons, police, crime victims, and tribal justice.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service   
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering reports, journals, statistics and other information on subjects relating to criminology, criminal justice, substance abuse, corrections, policy, crime victims, and program development worldwide.

Legal Research Databases

Law Blogs

Crime and Consequences Blog
This resource provides commentary from the perspective of "victims of crime and the law-abiding public."

CrimProf Blog - Law Professor Blogs Network
Kevin Cole of the University of San Diego Law School comments on developments in criminal justice policy developments.

The Crime Report
This resource from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York includes objective reporting on legal news as well as commentary.

Lawrence Taylor’s DUI Blog
This resource features news and tips on impaired driving and related issues, including sobriety tests and breath tests from a defense attorney perspective.

Sentencing Law and Policy
Professor Douglas A. Berman of Ohio State University's law school comments on criminal law, legal practice, sentencing, and related issues.

White Collar Crime Prof Blog
Law professors and attorneys opine on developments in business crime and fraud.

The Wrongful Convictions Blog
Law professors and attorneys discuss news involving exonerations, prosecutorial misconduct, and legal protections for people falsely convicted of crimes.

Journals and Scholarly Articles

HeinOnline (available on campus or through ASURITE) gathers full text reproductions of scholarly journals concerning topics including:

HeinOnline's Criminal Justice & Criminology section (available on campus or through ASURITE) gathers more periodicals as well as books, government reports, and congressional hearings regarding criminal law and criminology, or the study of criminal behavior on individual and societal levels.