Criminal Law

Justia Criminal Law Center

Provides an overview on criminal law, links to blogs, news and other resources.

Criminal Law: An Overview

Part of its legal encyclopedia, Cornell Legal Information Institute provides an overview of criminal law. The overview links to select federal and state laws, court decisions and other materials.

White-Collar Crime: An Overview

Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) outlines white-collar crime legal issues and links to several primary sources of law. The encyclopedia-like essay also provides helpful definitions to terms such as trade secret theft, insider trading and mail fraud.

Proving Innocence or Guilt

Self-help legal publisher, Nolo Press, offers a collection of articles dealing with evidence in criminal matters. Currently, the compilation covers lie detector tests, mental health, accomplices, fingerprints, DNA and common defenses. Written for consumers, the articles provide basic information and may not pertain to individual situations.

SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics describes itself as "a nonprofit ... organization ... dedicated to improving the criminal justice system." Its Web site provides news, information and publications pertaining to criminal justice and criminal justice technology. For example, The Automated Index of Criminal Justice Information Systems is a database of criminal justice agencies in the U.S. It provides agency and contact information as well as information about their automated processes and software products. The IT Acquisitions Database contains Requests for Proposals and Requests for Information, which relate to criminal justice issues and information technology acquisition.

Identity Theft
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) maintains this Web site devoted to state and federal legal information about policies and strategies for combating identity theft. Find a chart of abstracted state laws that deal with identity theft as well as separate charts of abstracted pending and enacted state legislation from 2002 to 2005. In addition, there are charts of state legislation on issues such as the use of credit card numbers on receipts and consumer report security freezes. Researchers will also find related off-site resources as well as related NCSL publications.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator
The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers a database of information about federal inmates currently incarcerated or released since 1982.

Inmate Locator offers an index of state and county inmate locator services.

VINELink provides access to information about the custody status of offenders in many states.

All States Database Search
A look-up feature for finding online sources of sex offender records. Select the jurisdiction of interest. The resulting information comes from other Web sites. It usually leads to state or county law enforcement sources of offender registries.

National Sex Offender Public Website
The FBI offers this compilation of links to statewide sex offender registry databases.

ACLU Legislative Update

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) makes available information about pending legislation on several hot topics, including criminal justice, death penalty, drug policy, free speech and more. Browse the collection by issue or ACLU region. Stay up-to-date with these issues by requesting to receive email updates.

Actual Innocence Awareness Database

The Jamail Center for Legal Research at the University of Texas School of Law has compiled a database of wrongful convictions. It provides bibliographic citations (with links) to news and journal articles, books, reports, legislation and Web sites. You may search the database by author, title, keyword or other criteria. You may also browse the database contents by subject; e.g., forensics/DNA evidence, informants, police misconduct, etc.

American Antitrust Institute

The Web site of this non-profit advocacy group Web site offers much to interest those conducting research in antitrust law. Find a primer on criminal antitrust, which covers the history of criminal liability, criminal sanctions, amnesty, collateral penalties for antitrust violations, criminal procedure and globalization. It also contains appendices showing actual fines for cases involving corporations and individuals.

You will also find news about antitrust related issues, a directory of government agencies, Congressional contacts, media and organizations interested in antitrust issues, and an extensive guide to Web resources. The guide provides information about antitrust cases in the news, antitrust statutes, court decisions, legislation and more.


Sponsored by the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, BriefBank contains a small collection of briefs in the area of law, technology and public policy. Search by party name or court to retrieve brief bibliographic information with links to the full-text of the documents. Search All Courts to retrieve a listing of all the documents in the database. Many documents are available in PDF.

Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects, analyzes, publishes and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. Its Web site offers statistics on crimes and victims, criminal offenders, drug crimes, trends in homicide, firearms in crime, crime trends, and more.

Campus Security Statistics

The Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education offers this database of crime statistics for colleges and universities in the United States. Search by geographic region, state, city, institution name, type of institution or instructional program, or by number of students enrolled. However, many colleges do not report local crime statistics.

Capital Defense Network

This site offers an excellent assortment of commentary, U.S. primary law, statistics, sample briefs, case summaries, and litigation guides on death penalty related topics containing motions, briefs, memoranda, strategies, case summaries, statistics and other trial documents.

Coalition for the International Criminal Court

This advocacy Web site provides news and other information about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its ratification status in countries worldwide. Find an archive of official statements concerning the International Criminal Court, existing and sample legislation implementation legislation, publications, key documents and more.

Corporate Crime Reporter

A subscription-based weekly legal newsletter, Corporate Crime Reporter reports on lawsuits, agency actions and other events pertaining to corporate crime. Find a list of the top 100 corporations charged with crimes, hot documents (e.g., Martha Stewart indictment), interviews with white collar crime defense lawyers and others, news and more. Much of the information appearing on the Web site is free.

Covering Crime and Justice: a Guide for Journalists

The non-profit organization, Criminal Justice Journalists, makes available this extensive online guide on crime reporting. Chapters cover the crime beat, juvenile justice, drug law enforcement, racial and ethnic issues, crime victims, journalism ethics, covering the courts, how prosecutors work, gun control and domestic violence.

Author credentials are provided for each chapter. Some chapters provide sidebars. All chapters offer an annotated list of additional sources.

You can search the online content or opt to display it from a pull-down menu of pre-set topics. You can also browse each chapter. There does not appear to be a way to download the e-book or its individual chapters.


Subtitled the Criminology Library [of] Grey Literature, this database provides keyword search access to publications, unpublished papers, working papers and research reports housed in the University of Toronto's Centre of Criminology Library. Topics covered include criminal justice, penology and corrections, juvenile delinquency/young offenders, policing and law enforcement, and private policing. The database provides bibliographic information, including, author, title, year of publication, number of pages, type of document and more.

Crime and Victim Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) makes available information from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The data for the survey comes "from a nationally representative sample of 42,000 households comprising nearly 76,000 persons on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States."

You may compare some of the results of this survey and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports at this site. You may compare some of the results of this survey and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports at this site.

Crime Trends

The Bureau of Justice Statistics provides statistics on state and federal crimes. Crime trends lets you look at segments of information from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. You may review state and national level crime trend estimates from 1960 to present, local level crime trends, or large local agency crime trends.


The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice offers this site on computer and intellectual property crimes. Find general information, such as how to report an Internet-related crime as well as legal and policy information. The Web site offers press releases on cases involving computer and intellectual property crimes, guidance documents, relevant laws and other documents.

Death Penalty Information Center

Available in both English and Spanish, the Web site of the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center provides news, reports, fact sheets and other information about issues related to capital punishment. Topics covered include costs associated with the death penalty, clemency, the execution of juveniles, mental illness and mental retardation, victims, and more. In addition to commentary, you will also find statistics.

Death Penalty Curriculum

The Michigan State University Communication Technology Laboratory and the Death Penalty Information Center sponsor this educational site on capital punishment. Designed for students and teachers, the site presents arguments for and against the death penalty. It also outlines the stages in a capital case, provides a history of the death penalty, examines methods of execution, presents state summaries and statistics, and offers interactive tools and additional resources.

Defending the Right to Self Representation: An Empirical Look at the Pro Se Felony Defendant

Erica J. Hashimoto, assistant professor at University of Georgia School of Law, presents the results of a comprehensive study of pro se felony defendants. The data refute both the assumption that most felony pro se defendants are ill-served by the decision to self-represent and the theory that most pro se defendants suffer from mental illness. Somewhat surprisingly, the evidence suggests that pro se felony defendants in state court do just as well as felony defendants represented by counsel. Moreover, the vast majority of pro se felony defendants - nearly 80% - displayed no signs of mental illness. The results of the study also provide an alternative explanation for the pro se phenomenon, suggesting that at least some defendants choose self-representation because of concerns about counsel. The article will appear in an upcoming issue of North Carolina Law Review. Technical note: Download the full-text in PDF.

Electronic Crime Scene Investigation [PDF download]

Released during April 2008 by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), this report comprises the second edition. It "is intended to assist State and local law enforcement and other first responders who may be responsible for preserving an electronic crime scene and for recognizing, collecting, and safeguarding digital evidence." Chapters cover types of electronic devices, investigative tools and equipment, securing and evaluating the crime scene, documenting the scene, collecting evidence, packaging, transporting and storing digital evidence, and consideration of the evidence by crime category. The guide also includes a glossary.

FBI Financial Crimes Report to the Public

The Financial Crimes Section of the FBI reports on crimes against the national and international financial communities. After a brief introduction, sections of the report cover corporate fraud, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, identity theft, insurance fraud, telemarketing fraud and money laundering. The report provides statistics and summaries of key cases.

Federal Computer Crime Laws [PDF Download]

Written by a student seeking GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) certification, this white paper outlines federal laws that apply to computer-related crimes. It covers the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Cyber Security Enhancement Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and some older laws, which can also apply. Written for IT professionals rather than attorneys, the paper serves as an easy-to-read introduction to the issue.

Federal Grand Jury

Co-author of the book, Federal Grand Jury Practice, maintains this Web site about federal and state grand juries. Discover the basics, such as the required size of a grand jury, the quorum needed to conduct business, the evidence gathering process and more. Read about grand juries in the news. Also find an extensive list of links to related Web sites.

An online supplement to the two-volume Search and Seizure by Lexis Law Publishing, the site provides case updates and commentary on the law of search and seizure, arrest and detention. Covering the Fourth Amendment and state law, chapters discuss probable cause, consent searches, seizure of vehicles, searches of professional offices, border searches, airport searches and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Grand Jury System

The American Bar Association offers this question-and-answer factsheet on grand juries. It explains the purpose of the grand jury system and provides other basic information.

Hairs, Fiber, Crime and Evidence

This three-part article appearing in Forensic Science Communications examines how forensic scientists use hair to "associate a suspect to a victim or a suspect/victim to a crime scene." It provides an overview of hair evidence, hair microscopy, hair anatomy and growth, animal hair and human hair. It also explains the significance of hair evidence. See also Hairs, Fiber, Crime and Evidence (Part 2) (fiber evidence)and Hairs, Fiber, Crime and Evidence (Part 3) (crime and evidence).

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2001

The National Center for Education Statistics offers this report on crime at school. It provides the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources--the National Crime Victimization Survey (1992-99), the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (1989, 1995 and 1999), the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999), and the School and Staffing Survey (1993-94). Because this appears to be an annual report, you should search the site for more current data.

InfoBase of State Activities and Research

The Justice Research and Statistics Association, a national non-profit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center directors, researchers and practitioners, offers this free database of information on the activities and publications of the state Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs). Search by indexing terms (called keywords) or keyword in the publication title or description to find bibliographic citations, abstracts and contact information. Topics covered in the database include statistics on crimes against the elderly, substance abuse, domestic violence, homicide, misdemeanors, organized crime, school violence and more.

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

Information management company askSam offers a free downloadable database containing the text of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. You need askSam database software or the free askSam Viewer to browse or search the database. It's compatible with Windows versions 95 and higher, including Windows NT.

International Justice

The Global Policy Forum, a public policy organization that monitors global policy making at the United Nations, provides commentary about issues pertaining to international justice. These include activities surrounding the International Criminal Court (comes into existence July 2002), The International Court of Justice, war crime tribunals, and the Alien Tort Claims Act.


Comprised of 186 member countries, INTERPOL "facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime." The Web site provides news about international crime incidents, Red Notices or notices about fugitives "wanted by national jurisdictions (or the International Criminal Tribunals, where appropriate)," fact sheets, guides, annual reports and other publications, select databases and other electronic products (Red Notices, Stolen Works of Art) -- not all of which is available to the general public, and more.

Justice Research and Statistics Association, The

The Justice Research and Statistics Association is a national non-profit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors, researchers and practitioners. It provides information about the SACs, a database of statistical publications on crimes and criminal justice issues, reports and other publications, and more. The Web site also links to several project Web sites maintained by the Association.

Juvenile Arrests 2003 [PDF Download]

This Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice) bulletin summarizes and analyzes the national and state juvenile arrest data presented in the FBI report, "Crime in the United States 2003." The juvenile violent crime arrest rate, which grew substantially during the late 1980s, and then peaked in 1994, has decreased for 9 consecutive years. In 2003, it was nearly half what it was during the peak year, 1994. This document is a PDF file.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Statistics

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) acquires, processes and distributes criminal justice data. Search by keyword or pre-established subject terms to find descriptions of studies, reports and other data collections. Researchers may download the data subject to certain legal restrictions.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the President, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) offers justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. It offers reference and referral services on crime and justice-related questions, reports and other publications, a database (NCJRS Abstracts Database) with bibliographic information on criminal justice resources, and more.

NCJRS Abstracts Database

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) offers a database containing summaries of the more than 195,000 criminal justice, juvenile justice, and substance abuse resources housed in the NCJRS Library collection. Search by title, subject, author or other criteria to find bibliographic information and abstracts. You may download search results. A separate document explains how to obtain them. Many are available online in full text.

Penal Law

Maintained by Markus Dubber of the Buffalo Criminal Law Center, Penal Law offers case law and commentary pertaining to substantive criminal law. Also find an extensive bibliography of law review articles. Parts of the site appear to be private; that is, some links require password access. However, much of the site is available to the general public.

Sentencing Guidelines

The Web site of the U.K. Sentencing Guidelines Secretariat provides information about the development of sentencing guidelines for criminal offenses in the United Kingdom. It provides copies of the draft guidelines, a newsletter and information about the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) and the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP). The section devoted to the SAP also offers research papers on surveys of public opinion on sensitive criminal justice issues, consultation papers, press releases and annual reports. The section devoted to the SGC provides meeting minutes, press releases and copies of the draft guidelines.

Sentencing Law and Policy

Law professor Douglas A. Berman, co-author of Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes, and Guidelines (Aspen Publishers), comments on sentencing developments for capital and non-capital offenses. Topics include the Blakely decision (federal sentencing guidelines), clemency and pardons, criminal sentencing alternatives, death penalty reforms, offender characteristics, procedure and proof at sentencing, and more. Sentencing Law and Policy is a well-organized and well-written Weblog. You can search past commentary, find related resources and received updates via an XML-based feed. Berman offers several feed formats.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

The Utilization of Criminal Justice Statistics Project and the University at Albany offer this online edition of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. It covers the characteristics of the criminal justice systems, public attitudes toward crime, the nature and distribution of known offenses, the characteristics of persons arrested, judicial processing of defendants, and persons under correctional supervision.

Stalking Resource Center

The National Center for Victims of Crime, an advocacy organization for victims of crime, offers a Web site for obtaining legal and other information about stalking. It reproduces state laws on stalking, the federal interstate stalking law, stalking provisions in tribal codes, and relevant penalty provisions in federal statutes. It provides a digest of federal and state cases on stalking, statistics from select resources, summarized news stories, and more.


This service by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which is affiliated with Syracuse University, gathers and disseminates statistical data about federal government agencies. TRACfed Criminal focuses on criminal enforcement data. Look for trends, number of convictions for particular crimes, length of prison terms, amount of fines and more. TRACfed requires a paid subscription.


Researchers must register to use this site.

Part of Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, TracIRS offers civil and criminal audit and enforcement statistics.

Uniform Crime Reports

The FBI makes available statistics and reports from its Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The reports include Crime in the United States, which is compiled from data provided by nearly 17,000 law enforcement agencies. In addition to the annual statistical reports, you will find special studies and monographs as well as information about the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), UCR Frequently Asked Questions and UCR Incident Specific Questions.

United States Sentencing Commission

Part of the U.S. judicial branch of government, this independent agency prepares sentencing guidelines for the federal courts. Its Web site provides an overview of the guidelines, the full-text of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual (including prior versions), amendments to the sentencing guidelines, reports to Congress on various crime-related issues, an email alert service, and more.


Find an email subscription service for announcements from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The mailings contain Federal Register notices, information about meetings and public hearings and other significant news about the Sentencing Guidelines and the Commission.

Verdicts on the Crime of Genocide

The International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, in conjunction with the United Nations, offers this resource for judgments and decisions of the Tribunal. The site also offers select indictments, sentencing and verdict information, case summaries, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the text of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, press releases, and radio news audio files. It appears the site may add hearing transcripts and arrest warrants in the future.

What You Need to Know About Appeals and Habeas Corpus

Texas-based criminal defense lawyer, Walter M. Reaves, Jr., provides an overview of habeas corpus. He covers what it is, limitations on appeals, how to file an application for writ of habeas corpus, what issues you can raise, and more. Elsewhere on the law firm's Web site is an order form for a guide entitled, "Understanding Habeas Corpus." It is written for both pro-se litigants and lawyers, who do not often handle such cases.

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

Peter J. Henning, Professor of Law at Wayne State University Law School, comments on white collar crime issues in the news and literature. He also provides a good collection of related Web-based resources. You will find links to criminal law reviews, federal laws, federal administrative materials, federal agencies, related Web sites and more. The site offers RSS and Atom news feeds.
This commercial site helps you locate accident and incident reports from law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Coverage is NOT nationwide, but it does include several jurisdictions.