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The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law

The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law

By Nathaniel Burney
Format: Softbound portable book
Dimensions: 7 x 8.5"
Page Count: 260
ISBN: 978-1-59839-183-1
Price: $24.95

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“An undercover has to tell you if he’s a cop. Otherwise it’s entrapment, right?”

Wrong. That’s just one of many popular myths about criminal law that get repeated on street corners, in locker rooms, and on websites every day—all of them wrong.

Based on his popular Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law webcomic series, Nathaniel Burney debunks all of those myths and teaches everything you never learned about the law. Not just what the law is, but why it’s like that and how it works.

Collected here in the first printed volume, The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is a complete law school course that keeps the “laughter” in “manslaughter.” As you read, you start from the absolute basics (“What is crime?”) and are soon deep in complex concepts like conspiracy, self-defense and, yes, entrapment—all explained with humor, wit, and passion.

“After reading Nathan’s magnus illustratum ..., you will have a firm understanding of American criminal law. Indeed, you may well have a better grasp than most lawyers.” From the Foreword by Scott H. Greenfield of Simple Justice: A New York Criminal Defense Blog
Nathaniel Burney studied law at Georgetown University, where he was an editor of the American Criminal Law Review and a student practitioner defending juveniles in the District of Columbia. In between classes and the library, he worked at the Supreme Court as personal assistant to retired Chief Justice Warren Burger, and jammed in a bar band called The Ambulance Chasers.

After law school, he moved to New York City to be a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office. After several years in Special Narcotics, he moved on to the famed Rackets Bureau, where he investigated political corruption and cleaned up a mafia-controlled labor union. Meanwhile, he lectured on criminal law at New York City schools and coached student mock trial teams. He did not play in a band, which was probably for the best.

In 2006, Mr. Burney returned to the defense side, focusing mostly on complex cases like wiretaps, securities fraud, antitrust, and loitering. In addition to his Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law webcomic, he also teaches the “Hope for Hopeless Cases” series for West LegalEdCenter, and is training his kids to be rock stars.
Part 1. Crime
Part 2. Punishment

Purposes of Punishment
Part 3. "For the Love of God, Why?" — Rehabilitation
Part 4. "Don't Do That Again" — Deterrence
Part 5. "The Three 'R's" — Removal, Retribution, Retaliation

Part 6. "I Didn't Mean To!" — Mens Rea
Part 7. "The Axes of Evil" — Responsibility, Depravity
Part 8. "What Have You Done?" — Actus Reus

Inchoate Crimes
Part 9. "At Least You Tried" — Attempt
Part 10. "We'll All Go Down Together" — Solicitation, Accomplice Liability, Conspiracy

Part 11. "Excuse Me!" — Excuse Defenses
Part 12. "I was Entrapped!" — Entrapment
Part 13. "I Had to Do It!" — Necessity
Part 14. "He Made Me Do It!" — Duress
Part 15. "It was Him or Me!" — Self Defense

Summing Up
Part 16. "Problems & Solutions" — Overcriminalization, Regulatory Crimes and Strict Liability
Part 17. "Putting It All Together" — Examples