Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice

  • James R. Acker
  • JoAnne Malatesta
  • ISBN-10: 1449626777
  • ISBN-13: 9781449626778
  • 0 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2014 Published
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About the Product

Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice provides a comprehensive overview of the foundational legal issues in criminal justice. Written in an easy-to-understand format, it focuses on three areas of law relevant to criminal justice: substantive criminal law; constitutional issues that demand balancing individual liberties and governmental authority; and constitutional criminal procedure. This thorough introduction relies on edited judicial decisions with explanatory text, thus allowing readers to hone their analytical and critical thinking skills as they interpret the judicial decisions. This case method of study encourages students to examine both the majority and dissenting rationales and offers insight into the changing nature of precedent and how legal principles are adapted and applied under different factual circumstances. With its careful explanation of judicial decisions, this text offers students an excellent introduction to legal analysis and will prepare them for further study of law, social values, and criminal justice.


  • Provides a student-friendly introduction to criminal justice and the case method of study

  • Presents carefully edited judicial decisions with accompanying explanation, to offer case material that is accessible to undergraduate introductory-level students

  • Focuses on three areas of law relevant to criminal justice — substantive criminal law, constitutional issues evoking tensions between governmental authority and individual liberties, and constitutional criminal procedure

  • Includes discussions of select high-profile cases, including Kitty Genovese, Westboro Baptist Church, Andrea Yates, and Brian Mitchell, to provide students with examples of how legal principles have been applied in publicized and newsworthy cases.

About the Author

James R. Acker

James R. Acker is a Professor at the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany. He has published numerous scholarly articles on subjects including capital punishment, criminal procedure, criminal law, and juvenile justice. He is co-author or co-editor of four books, including James R. Acker and David C. Brody, CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: A CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVE (Aspen Publishing Co. 1999), and James R. Acker, Robert M. Bohm, and Charles S. Lanier (eds.), AMERICA'S EXPERIMENT WITH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF THE ULTIMATE PENAL SANCTION (Carolina Academic Press 1998).

Table of Contents

Table of Cases

Part One: An Introduction to the Substantive Criminal Law
Chapter 1: Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law
Chapter 2: The General Principles of the Criminal Law
Chapter 3: Criminal Law Defenses: Excuse, Justification, and Beyond

Part Two: Chapter 4: Due Process of Law and Equal Protection of the Laws
Chapter 5: The First Amendment and the Freedom of Speech
Chapter 6: Criminal Punishment and the Constitution

Part Three: Constitutional Criminal Procedure
Chapter 7: The Bill of Rights, Trial by Jury, and the role and Functions of Prosecutors and Defense Counsel
Chapter 8: The Fourth Amendment and the Law of Search and Seizure
Chapter 9: Interrogation and Confessions