Criminal Law and Justice Research Guide

This guide is an overview of the federal criminal law and procedure resources, with an emphasis on criminal procedure. It also discusses sources of law enforcement statistics.


Federal Court Rules

Please refer to our Federal Court Rules guide for more information about the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. As explained in that guide, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are "rules of general applicability that apply in criminal matters heard in all United States District Courts; however, each U.S. District Court also has its own local rules, which supplement the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure." If you are interesting in researching the federal rulemaking process, see the page on Legislative History of Court Rules.

Key to Icons

  • Georgetown only
  • On Westlaw
  • On Lexis
  • On Bloomberg
  • PDF
  • More Info (hover)
  • Preeminent Treatise
  • Study Aid

Federal Laws

Title 18 is the United States Code's Criminal Law title. 

Where to Find Federal Statutes

For an introduction to statutory research, see our Statutes Research Guide guide. The following is a list of sources for the full text of federal laws:

Proposed Federal Legislation

If you are looking for legislation which has recently been introduced in Congress but has not yet passed, there are several sources to consult:

Legislative Histories

  • Compiled Legislative Histories: For some federal criminal laws, there are compiled legislative histories available in the Library. These compilations usually include bills, Congressional Record debates, reports and hearings.  

Statutory Research Tutorial

Includes videos covering topics "What are Statutes and Where to Find Them," "Anatomy of a Code," "Finding Statutes Online," "Finding Statutes Using Print," and "Updating and Currency."