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Defining Federal Crimes, Second Edition

  • Daniel Richman
  • Kate Stith
  • William J. Stuntz
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

Defining Federal Crimes, Second Edition frames federal criminal law as a distinctive world created and shaped by the interplay between the three branches of the federal government. It provides an overview of basic doctrine while inviting students to explore the many difficult and unsettled questions that continue to perplex judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and policymakers. Particularly since students’ basic Criminal Law courses draw on penal laws from any number of jurisdictions, this book will be their first exposure to an actual criminal law system, in which each law-shaping institution can react to the moves of the others.

New to the Second Edition:

  • Reorganization of the domestic Commerce Clause section and exploration of the Supreme Court’s aborted engagement with the Treaty Power in Bond v. U.S. (Ch.2)
  • Inclusion of the Court’s deployment of the “rule of lenity” in Yates v. U.S. and reorganization of the mens rea section, including Elonis v. U.S. (Ch.3)
  • Revisions to highlight the growing tension between the cases precluding mail fraud liability for deceit that “merely” causes the victim to enter into a transaction and those permitting liability an intangible property “right to control” theory (Ch.4)
  • Considerable revision to the “under color of official right” extortion sections to accommodate McDonnell v. U.S.; a new case (Ocasio v. U.S.) exploring the interaction between “under color of official right” complicity and victim status in “fear of economic loss” extortion; a new case (U.S. v. Baroni—the “Bridgegate Case”) offering an interesting use of the “misapplication” prong of section 18 U.S.C. 666 (Ch.6)
  • New cases emerging from the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, including U.S. v. Miller (Ch.7)
  • New case (Rosemond v. U.S.) in Aiding and Abetting discussion; a new section on Accessory after the Fact and Misprison of Felony liability, including U.S. v. Olson; substantial revision of Material Support of Terrorism section (Ch.8)
  • Substantial updates to Ch.9, including coverage of the opioid crisis and enforcement responses to it; exploration of the Court’s analysis of McFadden v. U.S.; discussion of Congress’s use of its appropriations power to limit the federal prosecution of medicinal marijuana cases, including U.S. v. Kleinman; a new case (U.S. v. Campbell) about the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act; a new section on prior felony informations and their use for plea bargaining leverage, including U.S. v. Kupa; new discussion of the charging policies of the Attorneys General and of disparate judicial analyses of narcotics mandatory minimums
  • Extended discussions of corporate liability to include recent judicial efforts to oversee deferred prosecution agreements (Ch.11)
  • Reorganization of Ch.12, with more attention given to the clash between Chevron deference and the rule of lenity


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About the authors
Daniel C. Richman
Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law
Columbia Law School

Law Clerk, Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 1984-1985; Law Clerk, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court of the United States, 1985-1986; Associate, Patterson, Belknap, Webb Tyler, 1986-1987; Chief Appellate Attorney and Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, 1987-1992. Joined Fordham University School of Law in 1992, tenured in 1998, promoted to full professor in 2000 and named the Brendan Moore Professor in Advocacy in 2006; Visiting Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia, 1996-1997; and Visiting Professor, Columbia University School of Law, 2002. Joined Columbia Law faculty July 1, 2007. Other professional activities include Consultant, Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, 1997-2000; Independent Expert under the National Basketball Association National Basketball Players Association Anti-Drug Program, 2000-present; Peer Reviewer, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000-present; Chairman, Local Conditional Release Commission for the City of New York, 102004- 92005 (appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg); and Member, Homeland Security Policy Advisory Committee, Governor-Elect Eliot Spitzer, 2006. Richman#39;s scholarly writings include more than 30 law review articles.

Kate Stith
Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law
Yale Law School

Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law at Yale Law School, teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, Professor Stith was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted white-collar and organized-crime cases. Her book on the federal sentencing guidelines, Fear of Judging (with J.A. Cabranes), was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the ABA in 1999. A graduate of Dartmouth College, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School, she clerked for Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and for Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White.

William J. Stuntz
Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law
Late of Harvard University

Late of Harvard University.

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Second Edition
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Criminal Law
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