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Criminal Law

Primary Authority

Title 18 of the U.S. Code
Federal criminal law is primarily found in Title 18 of the U.S. Code. However, additional criminal provisions are scattered throughout the code. Title 18 can be accessed at the following locations:  

50 State Statutory Surveys
These surveys compare the law across all fifty states:  

  • Westlaw (login required)
    • Includes resources collecting law from every jurisdiction on controlled substances, criminal offenses, criminal procedure, representation, sentencing, and weapons.
  • Lexis+ (login required)
    • Includes resources collecting law from every jurisdiction on select criminal offenses and post conviction proceedings.

Law Library Research Guide
Information on federal public laws, sessions laws, and statutes is available on the Statutes and Legislation page of the Law Library's Federal Legislature research guide.

Federal court opinions interpreting criminal law and procedure can be accessed at the following locations:  

You can also browse Westlaw's Criminal Law Key Numbers, filter by All Federal, then click Save. This returns a list of legal issues, organized by topic. You can further filter by date, jurisdiction, and subtopic to find opinions on those issue.

Law Library Research Guide
Information on case law from the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts is available on the Federal Court Opinions page of the Law Library's Federal Courts research guide.

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
These rules govern criminal procedure in federal courts:  

Federal Rules of Evidence
These rules govern the introduction of evidence in federal courts:  

Local Rules of Practice for the District of Arizona
These rules govern practice and procedure in the District of Arizona:  

Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
These rules govern procedure in federal Courts of Appeal:  

Law Library Research Guide
Information on federal rules, forms, proposed amendments, and interpretation is available on the Federal Court Rules page of the Law Library's Federal Courts research guide.

Texts and Treatises

ASU Library One Search
To see a complete list of materials available in the library related to criminal law, postconviction relief, federal defense, and prosecution, search the catalog for SUBJECT:  Criminal Law -- United States. Otherwise, peruse the list below.

Criminal Law (Wayne R. LaFave, 2010)
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 process. This series explores criminal procedure from pre-arrest to pretrial, trial, post-conviction, and appellate proceedings.

Fundamentals of Criminal Law:  Responsibility, Culpability, and Wrongdoing (A. P. Simester, 2021)
This volume investigates 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 (Melissa L. Rorie & Charles F. Wellford, eds., 2019)
This eBook from ProQuest provides a one-volume overview of research on white-collar crime. The handbook 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 & 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 on 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 on Westlaw (login required).

Subscription Resources

  • Westlaw (login required) provides access to a number of general treatises and focused resources on criminal law. Wright & Miller's Federal Practice & Procedure is just one of the many titles available.

Web Resources

American Law Institute
This prestigious organization of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars provides guidance on standardizing the common law across the United States. In 1962, it adopted the Model Penal Code. Although it is not binding in any jurisdiction, approximately half the states have used it to modernize their criminal statutes. Periodical revisions occur, the most recent being to the article on Sexual Assault and Related Offenses and the article on Sentencing. It is available at the following locations:  

American Bar Association:  Criminal Justice Section
This organization brings together a diverse membership of criminal justice professionals to work on solutions to issues involving crime, criminal law, and the administration of criminal and juvenile justice.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
This agency investigates domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence, cyber crime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, violent crimes and major offenders, and produces reports on criminal activity.

Department of Justice
This agency's criminal division develops, enforces, and supervises the application of all federal criminal laws except those specifically assigned to other divisions. It also provides advice and assistance on criminal matters, including sensitive areas of law enforcement such as participation in the Witness Security Program and the use of electronic surveillance, as well as leadership for coordinating international, federal, state, and local law enforcement matters.

Many agencies include law enforcement divisions that enforce specified federal criminal laws.

Uniform Crime Reporting Program
This resource from the FBI gathers data on crime as well as police activity from more than 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies.

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

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
This resource from the Department of Justice offers information to support research, policy, and program development on subjects relating to criminology, criminal justice, substance abuse, corrections, crime, and victims of crime.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
Maintained by the University of Michigan, this resource preserves data on crime and justice, and contains data from over 2,700 curated studies and statistical data series.

Court Statistics Project
This resource collects state court caseload data from the courts of the fifty states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

Justice Research and Statistics Association
This is a professional organization for researchers, analysts, journalists, and practitioners of justice research.



  • Crime & Consequences Blog
    This blog discusses crime and criminal law from the perspective of victims of crime.

  • The Crime Report
    This resource from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice includes objective reporting on legal news and commentary.

  • CrimProf Blog
    Kevin Cole of the University of San Diego School of Law comments on developments in criminal justice policy.

  • Sentencing Law and Policy
    Douglas A. Berman of the Ohio State University College of Law comments on corrections, sentencing law, and policy.

  • Taylor & Taylor DUI Blog
    This resource features news and tips on impaired driving, including sobriety tests and breath tests, from the perspective of a defense attorney.

  • White Collar Crime Prof Blog
    Law professors and attorneys comment on developments in business crime and related areas.

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

These websites are useful for obtaining information about federal inmates, supervised release, and convicted sex offenders:  

Journals and Databases

HeinOnline (available on campus or through ASURITE) archives full-text reproductions of journals in the following areas:  

HeinOnline's Criminal Justice & Criminology
This database provides access to hundreds of journals and thousands of other materials pertaining to criminal justice, including books, government reports, Congressional hearings, and Supreme Court briefs.