October 21, 2005
CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Katherine Barnes of Washington St. Louis
"Prof. Barnes came to Washington University after clerking for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is an expert on statistical evidence and forms of proof, including two recent studies on racial profiling and traffic stops in the state of Maryland. Her professional interests also span discrimination law, labor and employment law, civil procedure, and criminal procedure. During her clerkship with Judge Sotomayor, Barnes focused on cases related to disability discrimination and criminal procedure. Barnes previously clerked for Judge Vaughn Walker, United States District Court for the Northern District of California. While clerking for Judge Walker, she worked on several empirical projects, including analyzing the benefits of bidding for class counsel in securities class actions and discussing forms of proof in selective prosecution cases.
Barnes' most recent article, "Assessing the Counterfactual: The Efficacy of Drug Interdiction Absent Racial Profiling" in the Duke Law Journal, empirically estimates the potential benefits (if any) to racial profiling in the context of highway stops, and quantifies some of the costs of such a program. Her current empirical projects include an investigation of the charging decisions of Missouri prosecutors in death-eligible cases and a project entitled "Making a Federal Case of It: Federal Homicides Prosecutions" that investigates the decision making of federal prosecutors in homicide cases. Barnes is also continuing her statistics research into Bayesian selection models. Barnes is also the co-author of "Road Work: Racial Profiling and Drug Interdiction on the Highway." She has also written on the relationship between crime rates and American attitudes toward the death penalty and on deterrence and the death penalty. Barnes has presented her recent work at several conferences, including the International Conference on Forensic Statistics, the Joint Interface and Classification Society meeting, and annual meetings of the Law & Society Association.
Barnes received her law degree in 2000 from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was article editor and executive editor of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Minnesota in 2003. Her dissertation focused on "Bayesian Inference in Spatial Clustering Models of Crime Data." Barnes received her bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1993. After graduating from Swarthmore and prior to attending law school, she taught mathematics, physics, and computer science at Westover School in Connecticut." For links to two of Professor Barnes' articles, click here.
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