Criminal law at NYU is a rich discipline that begins with the first-year course in Criminal Law, which covers general principles of criminal responsibility. Second-year students can take courses in evidence or criminal procedure; most law schools have only one course in criminal procedure—at NYU, students can choose from four. Myriad upper-level advanced courses in substantive and procedural criminal law include Business Crime, Federal Criminal Practice and Juvenile Justice. There are also many seminars to choose from and nine hands-on clinics offered in criminal law.
Academically, criminal law is approached from several different angles:
The sociology of crime and punishment fascinates Professors David Garland, James Jacobs and Jerome Skolnick. Garland, the author of the seminal The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in the Contemporary Society, virtually invented the field of the sociology of punishment, while Jacobs and Skolnick, codirectors of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice, are experts on organized crime and the sociology of policing, respectively. Jacobs has taught Criminal Procedure, Federal Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice. Professor Anthony Thompson takes a more hands-on sociological approach: He is the founder of the country’s first Offender Reentry Clinic, one of the nine criminal law clinics available to students.
Applying the lessons and theory of administrative law to the administration of criminal justice is Professor Rachel Barkow’s specialty. Given the list of important criminal justice decisions made outside the courtroom—plea bargains, charging decisions, sentencing guidelines and parole board rulings, among others—Barkow, a leading sentencing scholar, has much material to mine. Her work has explored the mechanisms of administrative oversight of law enforcement, including through jury nullification and sentencing commissions.
The criminal law program also has a very strong international dimension that benefits from interdisciplinary perspectives. Professors David Golove, Stephen Holmes, Richard Pildes and Samuel Rascoff, the faculty codirectors of the Center on Law and Security, take on terrorism. Professor Jerome Cohen leads a course on Chinese law and society. Professor Holly Maguigan runs the Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic. Professor Kevin Davis is interested in the law of development and has written on transnational bribery. Professor Theodor Meron, on leave serving as an appeals judge for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, is an expert in international criminal law. Professor Ron Noble, also on leave, is currently serving his second term as secretary general of Interpol.
From gun control (Jacobs’s specialty) to capital punishment (Amsterdam, Garland and Stevenson’s area), constitutional issues are front and center within the study of criminal law at NYU. Professor Stephen Schulhofer, a coauthor of the leading casebook on criminal law, is also author of Rethinking the Patriot Act: Ideas for Reform and an authority on the high cost of security. Professors Bryan Stevenson and Anthony Amsterdam are legendary figures in the world of death penalty litigation—as well as active teachers and scholars. (Read profiles of them in the Law School magazine.) Professor Barry Friedman and Professor Randy Hertz are experts in habeas corpus and criminal procedure. Hertz and Professor Martin Guggenheim '71 are also authorities on juvenile justice. Professor Kim Taylor-Thompson is a national leader on indigent defense. White-collar crime experts include Professors Jennifer Arlen '86, Kevin Davis and Harry First.
The criminal law program benefits from the expertise and teaching excellence of four long-time adjunct professors. Federal District Court Judge John Gleeson, formerly chief of the organized crime unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York, teaches seminars on complex criminal investigations and sentencing. Ronald Goldstock, former director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force and former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Labor, teaches seminars on organized crime control and corruption control. James Orenstein ’87, United States magistrate judge and former federal prosecutor, teaches seminars on complex criminal investigations (with Gleeson) and on ethics in criminal justice administration. S. Andrew Schaffer, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan and currently the deputy commissioner for legal matters for the New York City Police Department, teaches criminal procedure.
Criminal Justice Fellowship
The Criminal Justice Fellowship is for a second-year student who wants to collaborate with Professor James Jacobs on one of his ongoing research projects. The fellow receives three academic credits and a $7,500 stipend over two years. Each fellow is expected to cowrite an article or book. Jacobs, who has written or cowritten 14 books, has worked with students on topics ranging from organized crime to drug testing.