Rethinking Criminal Law Language

Date: Friday, January 14, 2022, 12:00 – 1:45 PM EST

Webinar Description:

The language we use to frame criminal law conversations shapes community perceptions of the way that our system works, the victimization it is supposed to remedy or prevent, and the harms it inflicts. In recent years, as critiques of the criminal legal system have amplified, scholars, practitioners, and community members are describing the system and its actors and processes differently. Each of our panel participants has written scholarship that reconsiders key terms in the criminal law lexicon, including labels like “criminal,” “victim,” “felon,” “progressive prosecutor,” “flight risk,” “recidivism” “redemption,” “public safety,” and “sexual assault.” While our perspectives differ—some of us urge reform, while others are moved by abolitionist visions—we share a passionate belief in the ability of language to inspire or hinder needed change and we believe that one crucial part of this discussion is the question of who gets to dictate the terms of criminal discourse.


Learning Objectives:


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Lauryn P. Gouldin, J.D., Crandall Melvin Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law

Professor Lauryn Gouldin teaches constitutional criminal procedure, criminal law, evidence, constitutional law, and criminal justice reform. Her scholarship focuses on the Fourth Amendment, pretrial detention and bail reform, and judicial decision-making. Her articles have appeared in the University of Chicago Law Review, BYU Law Review, Denver Law Review, Fordham International Law Journal, and the American Criminal Law Review, among others. In 2017, the AALS Criminal Justice Section recognized her article, “Defining Flight Risk,” as the first runner-up in the Section’s Junior Scholars Paper Competition. In 2015, in recognition of her excellence in teaching, Gouldin was selected by the Syracuse University Meredith Professors to receive a Teaching Recognition Award. In 2014 and 2015, the College of Law Student Bar Association honored Gouldin with the Outstanding Faculty Award. At their commencement, the Class of 2018 awarded her the College of Law’s Res Ipsa Loquitur Award for outstanding service, scholarship, and stewardship.

Gouldin graduated from Princeton University with a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from New York University School of Law. Following law school, Gouldin clerked for the Hon. Leonard B. Sand in the Southern District of New York and for the Hon. Chester J. Straub of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She also spent several years as a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, working on matters involving white collar and regulatory defense, internal investigations and compliance, and securities litigation. Before joining the College of Law faculty, Gouldin served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law.



Janet Moore, J.D., Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Janet Moore teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Civil Rights Litigation, and Capital Punishment.  She received J.D. and M.A. (Philosophy) degrees from Duke University and a M.A. in Divinity from the University of Chicago. At Duke, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Law & Contemporary Problems. After graduation, she clerked for the Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Professor Moore’s scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Washington Law Review, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, and Behavioral Sciences & the Law. Her research focuses on empowering low-income people to reduce the scope and harmful impacts of the carceral state. Her work draws on critical theory, interdisciplinary community-based research partnerships, and long experience in both capital defense and justice reform advocacy.

Professor Moore co-convened the Indigent Defense Research Association, a national organization of practitioners, researchers and policy makers who use data to improve public defense. She has served or is serving as an invited expert for the American Bar Association’s Indigent Defense Advisory Group, the Indigent Defense Commissions of Michigan and Texas, the National Center for State Courts, and the Steering and Amicus Committees of the National Association for Public Defense. Professor Moore’s scholarship also led to her roles co-chairing a national task force on discovery reform, drafting a model criminal discovery reform bill, and serving as an advisor during the drafting and passage of the Michael Morton Act, which reformed criminal discovery procedures in Texas.

Awards include a 2020 University Faculty Excellence Award, 2018 University Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2018 University of Cincinnati College of Law Faculty Excellence Award,  two University of Cincinnati College of Law Goldman Prizes for Teaching Excellence (2012 and 2015), and a Junior Scholar Paper Competition Award sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Grants include a University of Cincinnati Research Council award to support an investigation into quality communication in the public defense setting, and an Ohio Transformation Fund award to undertake community-based participatory research on redefining public safety and making it equally accessible to all.  The latter project received a 2018 Academic-Community Research Partnership Award from the University of Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training; based on her work on both projects, Professor Moore was chosen to serve as a Distinguished Mentor for the 2018-2019 faculty cohort of the University’s Transdisciplinary Research Leadership Program.






Michael Pinard, J.D., Francis & Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Michael Pinard is the Co-Director of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He currently teaches the Youth, Education, and Justice LTP. He has taught the Reentry Clinic; Policing, Communities, and the Law; the Permanence of Criminal Records; Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward (with colleagues); Criminal Procedure; Criminal Procedure II; Legal Profession; the Criminal Defense Clinic; and Comparative Criminal Process (Aberdeen, Scotland). Professor Pinard has published law review articles and op-eds on the criminal process, criminal defense lawyering, race and the criminal legal system, policing, and the interconnections between the reentry of individuals with criminal records and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions.

Professor Pinard has worked to improve the criminal legal system nationally and locally through legislative and policy advocacy, writing and participation in various working groups and advisory groups. He has also been active nationally in efforts to improve legal education. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Clinical Law Review and the Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on Civil Rights.. He is a former president of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) and served on behalf of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education as co-chair of the Clinical Scholarship Committee and chair of the Nomination’s Committee. He has served on the Clinical Skills Committee of the ABA’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar   He is a former co-chair of the AALS Section on Litigation.

Professor Pinard currently serves on the board of directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center, the leadership council of the Public Justice Center (Baltimore), and the Maryland Access to Justice Commission. He has served as a board member of the Public Justice Center, an advisory committee member of the Maryland Reentry Partnership and the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and as chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Legal Education and Bar Admission’s Committee.

In 2011, Professor Pinard was honored as a Champion of Change by the White House for his work on behalf of individuals with criminal records. In 2008, he received the Shanara Gilbert Award from the Clinical Section of the Association of American Law School as an emerging clinical law professor committed to teaching and achieving social justice.

Professor Pinard received his juris doctor from the New York University School of Law. He was a staff attorney with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. From 1998 to 2000, he was a Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School. Prior to coming to Maryland in 2002, he was an Assistant Professor at St. John’s University Law School and a Visiting Associate Professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. From 2008 to 2009, he was a Visiting Professor at New York University School of Law.  In spring 2015, he was a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia Law School.



Alice Ristroph, J.D., Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Alice Ristroph joined the faculty in 2017. She teaches and writes in criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, and political theory, with particular emphasis on issues of violence and resistance. Her recent work examines laws that regulate state violence, focusing especially on the law’s distribution of risks of physical harm. She has also been studying ways in which the law suppresses, tolerates, or even facilitates various forms of resistance to criminal justice institutions. Her scholarship has appeared in Duke Law JournalYale Law JournalCalifornia Law ReviewConstitutional CommentaryVirginia Law ReviewUCLA Law Review, and other journals. Professor Ristroph is a member of the American Law Institute. She serves on the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Jurisprudence.

In fall 2017, Professor Ristroph was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. Before joining the BLS faculty, Professor Ristroph taught at Seton Hall and University of Utah. Before entering law teaching, she was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. She received her J.D. and Ph.D. (political theory) from Harvard University.


Anna Roberts, J.D., Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law

Professor Roberts is a scholar of criminal procedure and evidence, with articles published in journals that include the University of Chicago Law ReviewWashington University Law ReviewMinnesota Law ReviewBoston University Law ReviewAlabama Law ReviewBoston College Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review, and a book chapter published by the Oxford University Press. Roberts’s scholarship focuses on aspects of trial procedure—peremptory challenges, prior conviction impeachment, jury disqualification, and jury decision-making—with a particular interest in the assumptions and stereotypes that fuel, and are fueled by, the criminal system. Four of Professor Roberts’s articles have been selected by the Academic Advisory Board of the Getting Scholarship into Court Project for inclusion on its “must read” list, and a fifth was selected from the 2015 Call for Papers of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS). Her work was repeatedly cited in a recent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report on consequences of conviction.

Professor Roberts teaches Evidence, Torts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Contemporary Topics in Criminal Law. She was awarded the Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019, the Dean’s Outstanding Scholarship Award in 2020, and the Dean’s Outstanding Service Award in 2021. She is a member of the Pedagogy Subcommittee of the Law School Anti-Racist Consortium. Professor Roberts has analyzed evidentiary and criminal justice issues for a variety of media outlets. Her work on prior conviction impeachment was featured on evidence podcast “Excited Utterance,” and she has testified about jury exclusion on the basis of criminal records at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Roberts is a member of the Executive Committee of the AALS’s Evidence Section, and is co-directing an initiative bringing together the leading scholars on prior conviction impeachment in an effort to identify and pursue opportunities for reform. Professor Roberts holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Cambridge, where she graduated first in her class in Classics, earning a Starred First with Distinction. She graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law, where she was a Dean’s Scholar, a Florence Allen Scholar, and a Member of the Order of the Coif. Roberts began her academic career teaching in NYU School of Law’s Lawyering Program, and then at Seattle University School of Law. Her practice experience includes several years as a public defender with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Before that, she clerked for The Honorable Constance Baker Motley, in the Southern District of New York.



Maybell Romero, J.D., Felder-Fayard Associate Professor of Law, Tulane University Law School

Maybell Romero researches and teaches at the intersection of criminal law, criminal adjudication, and professional ethics.

Much of her writing focuses on rural criminal legal systems and prosecutorial ethics, informed by her nearly 10 years of law practice as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and general practitioner in a small community in northern Utah. Her work has featured in a variety of publications including the Journal of Criminal Law Criminology, the Maine Law Review, the University of Richmond Law Review, the University of Miami Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review online and is forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review and The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, among others.

Prior to joining Tulane Law in the fall of 2021, she was a member of the faculty of Northern Illinois University College of Law. Before that she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.



India Thusi, Ph.D., J.D., Professor of Law, Senior Scientist, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Professor Thusi is a Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law with a joint appointment at the Kinsey Institute. Her research examines racial and sexual hierarchies as they relate to policing, race, and gender. Her articles and essays have been published or are forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review, NYU Law ReviewNorthwestern Law Review (twice), Georgetown Law JournalCornell Law Review Online, amongst others.

Thusi’s research is inextricably connected to her previous legal experience at organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and—most recently—The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab that collaborates to effect lasting policy and culture change. She served as a federal law clerk to two social justice giants: the Honorable Robert L. Carter, who sat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was the lead counsel for the NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education; and the Honorable Damon J. Keith, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and is lauded for his prominent civil rights jurisprudence. She also clerked for Justice van der Westhuizen at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country’s highest court.

Among other acknowledgments throughout her career, Thusi was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Global Scholar for 2020-2023. Her paper “Reality Porn” was selected for the 2020 Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum, and she was recognized as a Top 40 Rising Young Lawyer by the American Bar Association in 2019. Her most recent paper was selected for the 2021 Equality Law Scholars Workshop