Founders of the Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute

Andrew E. Taslitz

Andrew E. Taslitz, founder and director of the Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute, passed away after a courageous bout with cancer on February 9, 2014. One of the most revered and beloved professors in the Washington College of Law family, Professor Taslitz ("Taz") had a profound impact on both his students and the legal community as a whole. After joining the Washington College of Law faculty in fall 2012, he helped launch the new Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute in 2013 and became the Institute Director. Professor Taslitz dedicated more than 20 years to legal academia; in addition to teaching at American University, he taught at Howard University for the majority of his career (20+ years), as well as at Duke University, Villanova University, and was the Welsh S. White Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been named as one of the twenty-six best law teachers in America in Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz’s book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press 2013).


Angela J. Davis

Angela J. Davis teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Defense: Theory and Practice. Davis previously served as director of the D.C. Public Defender Service and as executive director of the National Rainbow Coalition and is a former law clerk of the Honorable Theodore R. Newman, the former chief judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Davis is a member of the Advisory Board for the Vera Institute of Justice Prosecution and Racial Justice Project, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Peter M. Cicchino Social Justice Foundation, the Frederick Douglas Jordan Scholarship Board, and the Southern Center for Human Rights. She was a reporter for the ABA Justice Kennedy Commission and a member of the ABA Commission for Effective Criminal Sanctions. Davis is a 2003 Soros Senior Justice Fellow and the 2010 recipient of the Association of American Law Schools Clyde Ferguson Award. Davis has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Howard University. Her awards include: American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions (2009), and American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time Appointment (2002).

Davis' selected publications include: Angela J. Davis, Stephen Saltzburg & Daniel Capra, Basic Criminal Procedure (6th ed., Thomson West 2012); In Search of Racial Justice: The Role of the Prosecutor, 16 NYU J. Legis. & Pub. Pol'y 821 (2013); Mississippi Innocence and the Prosecutor’s Guilt, 25 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 989 (2012); Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor (Oxford U. Press 2009); Angela J. Davis & Michael E. Tigar, Trial Stories (Foundation Press 2007).


Cynthia Jones

Cynthia Jones teaches Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and a seminar on Race, Crime and Politics. She received the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2011 and the Teaching with Technology award presented by the Center for Teaching Excellence in 2009. Jones is the former director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) and the former Deputy Director of the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency. From 2010-2012, she served as director of the ABA Racial Justice Improvement Project, and currently serves on the board of PDS, the Sentencing Project, and the Pretrial Justice Institute. Jones also conducts evidence seminars across the country for federal and state judges. Jones clerked on the D.C. Court of Appeals and worked as an associate at the law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin before working as a public defender in the trial and appellate divisions at PDS. Jones has a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and a B.A. from University of Delaware.

Jones' representative publications include: Confronting Race in the Criminal Justice System: The ABA Racial Justice Improvement Project, Criminal Justice (2012); Mastering Criminal Procedure I and II (Carolina Press 2010, 2011); A Reason to Doubt: The Suppression of Evidence and the Inference of Innocence, 100 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 415 (2010); The Right Remedy for the Wrongly Convicted: Judicial Sanctions for Destruction of DNA Evidence, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 2893 (2009).


Ira P. Robbins

Ira P. Robbins, the Barnard T. Welsh Scholar and Professor of Law and Justice, teaches Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Post-Conviction Remedies, and Conflict of Laws. Robbins has served as Acting Director of the Federal Judicial Center’s Division of Education and Training and as the Reporter for the ABA’s Task Force on Death Penalty Habeas Corpus and its Task Force on Privatization of Corrections. He also served as a Supreme Court Fellow, as a special consultant to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project. Robbins is a former law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. His honors and awards include the Chief Judge John R. Brown Award for Judicial Scholarship and Education. He is a Life Member of the American Law Institute. Robbins has an A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Robbins' selected publications include: Habeas Corpus Checklists (Thomson/Reuters/West, 2015); Prisoners and the Law (Thomson/Reuters/West, six vols., 2015); Last Words: A Survey and Analysis of Federal Judges' Views on Allocution in Sentencing, 65 Alabama L. Rev. 735 (2014) (co-authored with U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett); Kidnapping Incorporated: The Unregulated Youth-Transportation Industry and the Potential for Reform, 51 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 563 (2014); What Is the Meaning of “Like”? The First Amendment Implications of Social-Media Expression, 2013 Fed. Cts. L. Rev. 127; and "Bad Juror" Lists and the Prosecutor's Duty to Disclose, 22 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2012).


Jenny M. Roberts

Jenny Roberts is a professor of law and co-director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Clinic. Her articles have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, a number of state high and lower federal courts, and in numerous briefs to the Supreme Court and other courts. She is co-author of Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Policy and Practice (NACDL/West 2013). She is co-vice president of the Clinical Legal Education Association, the nation’s largest association of law teachers, and sits on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. Roberts is the reporter for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction. She previously taught at Syracuse University and in NYU’s Lawyering program. Prior to teaching, Roberts was a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in New York City and a law clerk in the Southern District of New York. Roberts has a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Yale University.

Roberts' selected recent publications include: Effective Plea Bargaining Counsel, 122 Yale L.J. 2650 (2013);Crashing the Misdemeanor System, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1089 (2013); Why Misdemeanors Matter: Defining Effective Advocacy in the Lower Criminal Courts, 45 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 277 (2011).

Additional Criminal Law Faculty

High-profile Adjunct Faculty