by Dru Tigner, 1L
CALI: Computer Assisted Legal Instruction
CALI is awesome! It has step by step modules for each topic that are easy to understand, and each module is on point when compared to the material in the class. The CALI lessons have perfected giving you perfectly sized chunks of information that are easy to digest, and checking your understanding before moving on to the next chunk. I think it really helps at focusing your understanding to the meat of each topic. Lots of the lessons also include essay questions geared specifically at that topic with model answers, which is great exam prep. I would highly recommend going through a few of the CALI exercises. You won’t be sorry.
Understanding Criminal Law (6th ed.)
KF9219 .D74 2009
Understanding Criminal Law is remarkably like Mastering Criminal Law. They are both in the same basic format, and cover the same ideas in about the same way. I think they can be used interchangeable really. Check them both out and see which one you like better.
Mastering Criminal Law
Ellen S. Podgor, Peter J. Henning, and Neil P. Cohen
KF9219 .P63 2008
Mastering Criminal Law is a good book if the Glannon isn’t available in the library that day. It does a good job at covering the material in a clear, yet sophisticated way. It is a book best used for review of concepts that you aren’t quite getting when you are outlining, or to read over as you are covering a specific subject in class. It is not what you are going to want to read cover-to-cover right before an exam, but overall, I think it is a decent enough read, and cover all the necessary material.
Criminal Law (4th ed.)
Steven L. Emanuel
KF9219.3 .E44 2010
This book is great for hypos, everything else I could take or leave. The flowcharts in the beginning, for me, are confusing and overwhelming. If you are someone who loves flowcharts and they make everything make perfect sense for you, then this book is a great choice, that’s just not my MO. The exam tips section is okay. It’s probably good for our first attempt at taking a law school exam to look over them, but this is a section that tries to get into the mind of a general law school professor, but, unfortunately, our professors are individuals with their individual quarks. For example, the book straight out told me that rape is not usually tested on criminal law exams, but I can almost guarantee you that my professor will have a question about rape on the exam. So basically, proceed with caution for the tips section.
Where CrunchTime shines is the practice exam questions. It gives you hypos for each section of the course with sample answers. It also gives a multiple choice section with answers, which is great if your exam is like mine, and not just an issue spotter. Overall this is a decent book, and one that is great to check out from the library to do some practice questions before your exam, but I wouldn’t rush out and buy one.
Criminal Law in a Nutshell (5th ed.)
Arnold H. Loewy
KF9219.3 .L63 2009
This is a good book for reading while you work out or on the plane on your way home for Thanksgiving. It’s short, very concise, and can easily be held in one hand (Which is a nice change from our casebooks and every other supplement). It is good if you just want a quick overview of criminal law before you start to really dive into end of year studying, but it does not give you a very detailed or in-depth version of the material. It’s more of a light refresher in case you have nothing better to do.
Criminal Law: Examples & Explanations (5th ed.)
Richard G. Singer
KF9219.3 .S54 2010
Examples & Explanations Series
The E&E series generally is really good, and the criminal law version is no exception. It takes the broad concepts of criminal law and explains them in clear, concise layman’s terms. The simple explanations coupled with the multitude of examples are a winning combination. The book takes you by the hand and walks you through each concept generally, and then drills it in your head with repetitious examples until you have no choice but to understand the material. Also, it seems to cover the same material in basically the same order as my criminal law class, which I take as a good sign. This book is great if you are looking to get a surface understanding of all the core concepts of the law.
Criminal Law CDs (2nd ed.)
Charles H. Whitebread
KF9219.3 .W45 2005 AUDIO
Law School Legends Series
I have developed a love hate relationship with these lectures. First of all, they feel very dated. Even though the publication date says 2005, I’m pretty sure they were recorded in the 80s. The dated feeling is not significant enough to be worried about, but it’s just enough to be a concern. Also, the lecturer drives me a little crazy. His voice is fairly annoying and his style is a little obnoxious. However, with that being said, I’m going to finish all the CDs. I am addicted to multi-tasking. Anytime I can kill two birds with one stone, I do. These CDs allow me to clean my room or workout or drive in my car while getting a little better understanding of criminal law, so overall I kind of like them. If you are not someone who likes to multi-task, or if you keep your sanity by doing the mundane things in order to block out law school from your mind for just a little while, then do not listen to these lectures, but if you are like me and are absolutely off your rocker, then I would say that these lectures aren’t a bad choice.
The Glannon Guide to Criminal Law (2nd ed.)
Laurie L. Levenson
KF9219.85 .L477 2009
Glannon Guide Series
The Glannon is a great book for going a little deeper than the surface level of the law. Most supplements want to make sure you get a solid hold on the basics, but the Glannon asks a little more of its readers, which I appreciate. The basic structure of the book feels a little like an E&E with explanations starting the chapter, followed by a question about the material just covered. The Glannon is way more explanation heavy though, and the questions aren’t always the best at explaining generalities of what you just covered (something the E&E does exceptionally well), but it is still helpful. I would say the Glannon is best at covering the distinctions between the Model Penal Code and the common law, and also helps you to really grasp the basics of statutory interpretation. This however, is not a book to study with two weeks before a test. This is something I would pick up now, to help you as you move through the course.