CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, March 19, 2005

CrimProf Spotlight: Eric Miller

This week we profile Eric Miller of Western New England College School of Law.  He writes:

Law_faculty_eric_miller Born in 1969 in Glasgow, Scotland, I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1991 with an LL.B., and from Harvard Law School in 1993 with an LL.M. Although I returned to the U.K. to work on a Ph.D. in legal philosophy (at which I am still toiling), I knew I wanted to return to the United States to pursue an academic career. My year at Harvard had left me particularly interested in issues of racial justice, and I returned three years later as a Visiting Scholar, intending to finish my Ph.D. When I started working as a research assistant for Professor Charles Ogletree, my interest in criminal justice was cemented.

Thanks to support from my Harvard professors, who were somehow able to explain my lack of a J.D. , I was able to clerk for the Hon. Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama and the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two very different men, but both brilliant, tirelessly hard-working, and with an incredible sense of social justice. I also worked for two years at a large L.A. litigation firm where I mingled with a lot of former AUSA’s, managed to litigate some small misdemeanor trials pro bono, and attended the Academy Awards as a seat-filler.

After the clerkships, I returned to Harvard as a Charles Hamilton Houston fellow, to write a paper on drug courts (Embracing Addiction: Drug Courts and the False Promise of Judicial Interventionism, 65 Ohio State L.J. 1479 (2004)). While there, Professor Ogletree made me part of his reparations team. As a result, I have had the incredible fortune to work, not only with him, but a variety of amazing lawyers and academics in drafting the complaint and motion papers in Alexander v. Governor of the State of Oklahoma, a case seeking reparations on behalf of the victims of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. In fact, we just filed our cert. petition on March 9th, 2005. Remarkably, five of our clients, all over 85, including Otis Clark who is 102, were at the Supreme Court to watch us file it.

While I continue to work on reparations, my present interest is in rethinking the social norms or democratic experimentalist approaches to criminal law which tend to see the law as a system of norms that most effectively guide behavior by using community pressure rather than legal sanctions. I am concerned to develop an account of policing and procedure that seeks to increase community participation in the process of policing and prosecution and emphasizes role- rather than rule-related constraints on the authority of the various executive agents, including police and prosecutors.

I currently teach at Western New England School of Law, but am very much looking forward to moving to St. Louis University Law School, where I shall teach criminal law, criminal procedure and critical race theory. Having worked on both coasts and in the Deep South, I hope that moving to the heart of the Midwest will round out my American experience. I do not plan to become either a Cardinals or a Rams fan. My publications include:

Foundering Democracy: Felony Disenfranchisement in the American Tradition of Vote Suppression, 16 Nat’l Black L.J. (forthcoming 2005).

Embracing Addiction: Drug Courts and the False Promise of Judicial Interventionism, 65 Ohio State L.J. 1479 (2004)

Representing the Race: Standing to Sue in Reparations Lawsuits, 20 Harv. BlackLetter L.J. 91 (2004)

Reconceiving Reparations: Multiple Strategies in the Reparations Debate, 24 B.C. Third World L.J. 45 (2004)

Sympathetic Exchange: Adam Smith and Punishment, 9 Ratio Juris 182 (1996)

Each Saturday, CrimProf Blog will spotlight on one of the 1500+ criminal justice professors in America's law schools. We hope to help bring the many individual stories of scholarly achievements, teaching innovations, public service, and career moves within the criminal justice professorate to the attention of the broader criminal justice community.  Please email us suggestions for future CrimProf profiles, particularly new professors in the field.

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