CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Penny White

Whitenew This week the CrimProf Blog spotlights University of Tennessee School of Law CrimProf Penny White.

Before joining the faculty at the UT College of Law in 2000, Professor Penny White served as a judge in all courts of record in the state of Tennessee. As a circuit judge, Professor White presided over civil and criminal jury trials in Tennessee's First Judicial District. Thereafter, as a member of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, White heard and decided hundreds of cases involving state and federal constitutional law issues and state criminal law issues. As the youngest member of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Professor White participated in several decisions that have impacted Tennessee law, including decisions involving class actions, rights of tort victims, and capital punishment.

Since leaving the bench, Professor White has authored benchbooks for Tennessee Circuit, General Sessions, and Municipal Court Judges; has taught judicial education programs in 38 states; and has spoken and written frequently on the topic of judicial independence. She has served as a member of the faculty at the National Judicial College for 15 years where she teaches courses for judges on the subjects of evidence, criminal procedure, and judicial ethics.

She recently completed a one-year term as Chair of the Faculty Council at the National Judicial College.  In addition, Professor White has served as one of the faculty on the College's Capital Punishment Improvement Initiative, a project that provides training and education to trial judges on the trial of capital cases.  Professor White is also authoring portions of a Capital Improvement Initiative Manual, which will be used by judges all across the country who try capital cases.

Before taking the bench in 1990, White practiced law in state and federal court, successfully arguing a case, as a solo practitioner, in the United States Supreme Court in 1988. Professor White taught at three other law schools before joining the UT faculty, serving as Director of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse while teaching at Washington and Lee College of Law, holding the William J. Maier, Jr. Chair of Law at West Virginia College of Law, teaching at Denver University College of Law, and visiting at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Her work has been published in numerous law reviews and legal publications.  [Mark Godsey]

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In retrospect, perhaps Prof. White wishes she had not had such an "impact" on Tennessee law in the area of capital punishment. Had that been the case, we would still be calling her "Justice" White.

Posted by: Ricky A.W. Curtis | Aug 19, 2007 8:50:38 PM

And also, in 1996, she was the first Tenn Supreme Court judge NOT to be retained by the voters, due to her consistent veto of capital punishments.

Posted by: Bob | Aug 20, 2007 4:48:19 PM

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