Professor of Law
Office: Room Y354
Professor Cynthia E. Jones teaches courses on evidence, criminal law, and criminal procedure at the American University Washington College of Law. She has authored publications on wrongful convictions, criminal discovery, criminal procedure, bail reform, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Professor Jones serves a co-director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute, and each year the Professor Cynthia E. Jones Scholarship is awarded in her honor to an aspiring public defender. Professor Jones was recognized with the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2011, and she received the “Teaching with Technology” Award from the American University Center for Teaching Excellence for an animated short film, “Fighting Evidence with Evidence.”
Professor Jones is the President of The Sentencing Project Board of Directors, serves on the governing board of the Pretrial Justice Institute and is a former Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. Professor Jones is also the founder and Executive Director of the Pretrial Racial Justice Initiative, a grant-funded project created to address racial disparities in the bail process. Professor Jones is a frequent lecturer in the Federal Judicial Center’s training program for newly-appointed federal judges. Her interactive, multi-media presentation on the Federal Rules of Evidence has been extremely well-received at training programs across the country, including the District Court of the Virgin Islands, the National Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, and the District of Columbia Superior Court.
Professor Jones served as the first director of the American Bar Association Racial Justice Improvement Project, a model program on engaging stakeholders to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In addition to her position as a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (“PDS”), Professor Jones also served as the Executive Director of PDS and Chair of the PDS Board of Trustees. Professor Jones is the former Deputy Director of the District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency, worked as an associate at the law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin, and was a law clerk to the Honorable Frank E. Schwelb on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Areas of Specialization
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure
Degrees & Universities
- J.D., American University Washington College of Law 1989 (magna cum laude)
- B.A., University of Delaware 1986
- Cynthia Jones & Nancy Gist, Disproportionate Pretrial Detention of Blacks and Latinos Drives Mass Incarceration, Huffington Post (Nov. 11, 2015).
- Peter J. Henning, Cynthia Jones, Margaret L. Paris, Ellen S. Podgor, & Andrew Taslitz, Mastering Criminal Procedure I—The Investigative Stag (2d ed., Carolina Academic Press 2014).
- Cynthia Jones, “Give Us Free”: Addressing Racial Disparities in Bail Determinations, 16 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Policy 919 (2013).
- Cynthia Jones, Confronting Race in the Criminal Justice System: The ABA Racial Justice Improvement Project, 27 Crim. Just. (Summer 2012).
- Cynthia Jones, A Reason to Doubt: The Suppression of Evidence and the Inference of Innocence, 100 J. Crim. Law & Criminology 415 (2010).
- Cynthia Jones, The Right Remedy for the Wrongly Convicted: Judicial Sanctions for Destruction of DNA Evidence, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 2893 (2009).
- Cynthia Jones, Panelist, The White House Presents: A Cycle of Incarceration: Prison, Debt, and Bail Practices (D.C., 2015).
- Cynthia Jones, Presenter, Race and Bail (Data and Civil Rights: A New Era of Policing and Justice, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, D.C., 2015).
- Cynthia Jones, Presentation, Preservation and Retention of Biological Evidence for Post-Conviction DNA Testing (National Commission on Forensic Science, 2015).
- Cynthia Jones, Presentation, The Disparate Racial & Ethnic Implications of Money Bail, the Pretrial Process and the Need for Reform (Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System, NACDL, 2013).