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Criminal Law & Procedure

This research guide provides an overview of federal and state criminal law and procedure resources, with an emphasis on Georgia resources.

Finding Cases Using Headnotes

You can find cases by searching for headnotes related to criminal law in LexisNexis or Westlaw.  IDs and passwords are required.


Browse an index of headnotes relating to criminal law.


Browse an index of key numbers relating to criminal law or all key numbers.  In browsing the general categories, you can find procedural topics like Evidence, Witnesses, and Sentencing and Punishment, as well as types of crimes such as Embezzlement or Rape.

Case Law - Federal

In addition to cases located in LexisNexis or Westlaw, federal opinions can be found in the following sources:

Case Law - Georgia

In addition to searching Georgia cases on Westlaw or LexisNexis, you can search Georgia cases using the links below. 

Federal Statutory Law

Federal criminal law resides predominantly in Title 18 of the United States Code. Title 18 covers Federal Crimes and Criminal Procedure, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

To access United States Code provisions, you can use any of the following:

Georgia Statutory Law

Georgia's criminal law is codified in Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.).

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure govern criminal matters heard in all United States District Courts. Each U.S. District Court also has its own local rules, which supplement the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Federal Rules of Evidence

Since their enactment in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence have governed the admission of direct and circumstancial evidence in proving criminal cases in United States Courts.

U.S. Constitution

Administrative Law

To find rules and regulations that govern how federal agencies interact with criminal law, consult the Federal Register (FR) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  You can access both of these resources via LexisNexis or Westlaw.  

You can locate rules and regulations that are currently in force via the following CFR titles:  Title 27. Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, and Title 28 Judicial Administration. The two links below will allow you to search only those titles that deal with criminal law.

United States Code

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 54 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Federal Legislative History

Legislative history can be extraordinarily useful for determining the intent behind a law, whether you're trying to determine why the law was changed or what Congress meant by a specific phrase. Legislative history is typically found in documents created during the legislative process, including reports, hearings, records of debates, and different versions of the bill.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the State of Georgia, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Georgia State University College of Law and the authors of the works contained on this website do not assume or accept any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currentness, or comprehensiveness of the content on this website. The content on this website does not in any manner constitute the issuance of legal advice or counsel. The information on this website is intended to provide resources that may aid the research of the topics presented, and are in no way a comprehensive list of sources one should consult on the topics presented. Please note that case law, statutory law, and administrative law may be modified and/or overturned. Additionally, because the laws vary between jurisdictions, the laws referred to herein may or may not be applicable to the law within the reader’s jurisdiction.