Criminal Law



Read these capstones and answer the questions.


Capstone Case 1: United States v. Williams, 553 U.S. (2008)


  1. Should speech in the form of an offer to engage in a criminal act be sufficient to establish criminal liability?

  2. Does your opinion change if there is no apparent ability to commit the act?

  3. Should there be a hard-line rule that applies to all crimes, or should the First Amendment be interpreted flexibly, allowing legislatures to distinguish between crimes, depending on perceived risks and harm?




Capstone Case 2: City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M., U.S. 277 (200)


  1. Why do you think that court found nude dancing to be a protected form of expression? On what basis might such an argument be made?

  2. Did the U.S. Supreme Court contradict the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s finding relative to the nature of nude dancing as expressive conduct? If not, then how did the U.S. Supreme Court reach a conclusion that was different from that of Pennsylvania high court?



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