The book is arranged in a roughly chronological way that traces a criminal defendant's journey through the criminal justice system. It includes important federal and state cases, textual materials (including empirical studies), applicable rules of procedure, and problems.
Throughout, this book discusses a number of practical issues. Since most criminal cases end with a guilty plea, the impact of various stages on the guilty plea is noted throughout the book. Other themes are the role of motion practice in criminal cases and the recognition of some of the ethical issues that face both prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers.
The authors intersperse problems throughout the book to assist students in understanding and applying the concepts discussed in the materials.