Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Scholarship
Office: Room Y222
Jenny Roberts is a Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Scholarship. She currently co-directs the Criminal Justice Clinic and teaches Criminal Law. Her research focuses on the right to counsel, misdemeanors and the lower criminal courts, collateral consequences of criminal convictions, and indigent defense. Professor Roberts’ work has 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 won the Pauline Ruyle Moore Scholar Award for her article Why Misdemeanors Matter: Defining Effective Advocacy in the Lower Criminal Courts, 45 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 277 (2011). Professor Roberts received the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions in 2014.
Professor Roberts sits on the National Research Advisory Board for the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College. She served as co-President of the Clinical Legal Education Association, the nation's largest association of law teachers in 2014, and was a member of CLEA’s Executive Committee (2012-14) and Board of Directors (2008-14). Professor Roberts served as the Reporter for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)’s Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction, which held a series of regional hearings and issued a report with recommendations relating to legal mechanisms for relief from the collateral consequences of criminal convictions in the state and federal systems. She was on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project from 2012-15, and is a current member of the Academic Advisory Board for the NACDL's "Getting Scholarship into Courts Project."
Professor Roberts previously taught at Syracuse University and in NYU's Lawyering program. Prior to teaching, she was a Senior Research Fellow at NYU Law School's Center for Research in Crime & Justice, a public defender in Manhattan, and a law clerk in the Southern District of New York.
Areas of Specialization
- Clinical Legal Education
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure
- Sentencing Law
Degrees & Universities
- J.D., New York University School of Law 1995 (magna cum laude)
- B.A., Yale University 1987 (cum laude)
- Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Policy, & Practice (West 2016) (with Margaret Colgate Love & Cecelia Klingele).
- Jenny Roberts & Ronald Wright, Training for Bargaining, 57 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1445 (2016).
- Expunging America's Rap Sheet in the Information Age 2015 Wis. L. Rev. 321 (2015).
- Collateral Damage: America’s Failure to Forgive or Forget in the War on Crime (Report of the Task Force on the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction, Natl. Assn. of Crim. Def. Law. (Reporter).
- 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 UC Davis L. Rev. 277 (2011).
- Amicus Brief to United States Supreme Court in Smith v. Cain 2011 WL 3739380 (Aug. 19, 2011).
- Proving Prejudice, Post-Padilla 54 How. L.J. 693 (2011).
- Ignorance is Effectively Bliss: Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions, Silence and Misinformation in the Guilty Plea Process 95 Iowa L. Rev. 119 (2009). SSRN Link
- The Mythical Divide Between Collateral and Direct Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Involuntary Commitment of “Sexually Violent Predators 93 Minn. L. Rev. 670 (2008). SSRN Link
- Little, Too Late: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, the Duty to Investigate, and Pretrial Discovery in Criminal Cases 31 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1097 (2004). SSRN Link
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, The Innocence Movement and Misdemeanors (Faculty Speaker Series, UNC Law School, Chapel Hill, N.C., Dec. 1, 2016).
- Jenny Roberts, Organizer & Moderator, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section (Ethics and Forensics Workshop, Nov. 3, 2016).
- Jenny Roberts, Commentator, Distortion of Justice: How the Inability to Pay Bail Affects Case Outcomes (paper by Megan Stevenson) (Understanding Guilty Pleas Symposium, National Science Foundation/SUNY Albany, Arlington, Va., Oct. 13-14, 2016).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist, Collateral Consequences of Conviction and Clemency (Law and Justice: Issues of Consequence; From Black Lives Matter to Voting Rights, Collateral Consequences of Conviction and Clemency, National Association of Black Journalists’ Media Institute on Legal Affairs Inaugural Event, D.C., Sept. 24, 2016).
- Jenny Roberts, Co-facilitator, Scholarship Support Workshop (AALS Clinical Conference, Balt, Md., May 1-3, 2016).
- Jenny M. Roberts, Presentation, Concurrent Session, Carpetbaggers or Collaborative Colleagues? (AALS Clinical Conference, Balt., Md., May 1, 2016).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, The Science of Plea Negotiations: An Interactive Presentation of Tips & Tactics (Defending from A to Z: 2015 Annual CJA Fall Seminar, Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois and Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’, Chi., Ill., Nov. 20, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist, Implications for Policy (Misdemeanor Justice Project Conference John Jay College of Criminal Justice, N.Y.C., N.Y., Nov. 17, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Training for Bargaining (Faculty Speaker Series, Roger Williams Law School, Bristol, R.I., Oct. 21, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Defining ‘Wrongful Conviction’ for Misdemeanors (Albany School of Criminal Justice (NIJ/NSF-funded) Workshop, Elephants in the Courtroom: Examining Overlooked Issues in Wrongful Convictions, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va., Oct. 16, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist, Criminal Histories and the “Right to Move On" (10th Conference on Privacy and Public Access to Court Records & Proceedings, The Center for Legal and Court Technology, Williamsburg, Va., Oct. 12, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Speaker/Critic, Author-Meets-Critics Session on Prof. James Jacobs’ THE ETERNAL CRIMINAL RECORD (Hoffinger Colloquium, New York University School of Law, N.Y.C., N.Y., Sept. 30, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist, Barriers to Re-entry: Covering Collateral Consequences of Conviction (National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention, Minneapolis, Minn., Aug. 6, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Federal Reentry Roundtable (Department of Justice, D.C., June 18, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Keynote Speaker, Breaking the Chains: The Collateral Consequences of Arrests & Convictions (Reentry Conference, Loudon County, Va., May 11, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Co-organizer, Presenter, & Small Group Leader, New Clinicians Conference (, Clinical Legal Education Association, Palm Springs, Cal., May 4, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Planning Committee Member, Panelist, & Moderator, National Summit on Collateral Consequences (American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, D.C., Feb. 27, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Speaker, Plea Bargaining on the Ground (Cornell Law School Faculty Speaker Series, Ithaca, N.Y., Jan. 30, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist & Paper Presentation, The Bargaining Part of Plea Bargaining (Emerging Issues in Plea Bargaining, AALS Criminal Justice Section, D.C., Jan. 4, 2015).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Expungement of Criminal Records in the Mass Criminalization and Information Age (University of Wisconsin School of Law, Law Review Symposium: Beyond the Sentence: Collateral Consequences of Conviction, Madison, Wis., Oct. 3, 2014).
- Jenny Roberts, Faculty Speaker, Understanding Collateral Consequences and Your Client’s Situation (Preventing & Mitigating the Domino Effect of Criminal Convictions, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2014 Midwinter Meeting & Seminar, New Orleans, La., Mar. 7, 2014).
- Jenny Roberts, Moderator & Panelist, Career Paths for Women in Criminal Defense: Challenges and Triumphs (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Women’s Initiative Panel Discussion, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2014 Midwinter Meeting & Seminar, New Orleans, La., Mar. 7, 2014).
- Jenny Roberts, Speaker, Collateral Damage: The Lasting Effect of a Criminal Record (William & Mary Law School Colloquium, Williamsburg, Va., Feb. 7, 2014).
- Jenny Roberts, Panelist, Gideon at 50: How Far We’ve Come, How Far to Go (Charleston School of Law and South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense: Meeting the Demands of an Expanded Role of Counsel: Collateral Consequences, Charleston, S.C., Sept. 20, 2013).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Effective Plea Bargaining Counsel (Panel on "Enforcing Gideon: Habeas, Plea Bargaining, and the Courts," The Gideon Effect: Rights, Justice, and Lawyers Fifty Years After Gideon, Yale Law Journal Symposium, New Haven, Conn., Mar. 8-9, 2013).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Effective Plea Bargaining Counsel (Panel on on Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Criminal Negotiator, Plea Bargaining After Lafler and Frye, Duquesne L. Rev. Symposium, Pitt., Pa., Feb. 28 - Mar. 1, 2013).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Crashing the Misdemeanor System (Gideon at 50: Reassessing the Right to Counsel, Washington & Lee Law Review Symposium, Lexington, Va., Nov. 8-9, 2012) (published essay).
- Jenny Roberts, Commentator, WCL Faculty Colloquium, Professor Carol Steiker, Proportionality as a Limit on Preventive Justice: Promises and Pitfalls (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Mar. 2, 2012).
- Jenny Roberts, Speaker, Plea Bargaining (Criminal Justice Theory & Practice Workshop, Yale Law School, New Haven, Conn., Dec. 7, 2011).
- Jenny Roberts, Invited Participant, Promoting Rule of Law and Judicial Reform, A Regional Project for the Near East (Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, Roudtable with Judges, Lawyers, and Public Officials from the Middle East, D.C., Mar. 15, 2011).
- Jenny Roberts, Presentation, Why Misdemeanors Matter (Faculty Colloquium, William & Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Va., Feb. 17. 2011).
- Jenny Roberts, Speech, Proving Prejudice, Post-Padilla (The Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions, 7th Annual Wiley A. Branton/Howard L. J. Symposium, Howard Law School, D.C., Oct. 29, 2010) (published in 54 How. L.J. 693 (2011)).
Selected Media Appearances
- Megan Carpenter, The Growing Movement for Marijuana Amnesty, The New Republic (Dec. 21, 2016) (Quoted)).
- Alicia Robinson, Voters to Decide if City Should Join Those That Prosecute, The Press Enterprise (Apr. 22, 2016) (Quoted).
- Kirk Johnson, Oregon’s Legal Sale of Marijuana Comes with Reprieve, N.Y. Times (Sept. 30, 2015) (Quoted).
- Shaila Dewan, The Collateral Victims of Criminal Justice, N.Y. Times (Sept. 5, 2015) (Quoted).
- Chat with a Lawyer, "Impact of Mass Criminalization" (Chat with a Lawyer Aug. 29, 2015) (Interview).
- Reuters Investigates, "At America’s Court of Last Resort, a Handful of Lawyers Now Dominates the Docket" (Thomson Reuters Dec. 8, 2014) (Quoted).
- The New York Times, "Oregon’s Legal Sale of Marijuana Comes with Reprieve" (N.Y. Times Sept. 20, 2013) (Quoted).
- The New York Times, "The Collateral Victims of Criminal Justice" (N.Y. Times Sept. 5, 2013) (Quoted).
- crImmigration Blog, "Proportionality in Immigration Reform Part I: Aggravated Felonie" (crimmigration.com May 28, 2013) (Article citedWhy Misdemeanors Matter).
- The Washington Post, "Immigrants Take Guilty Pleas Without Lawyers and Can Later be Deported" (Wash. Post Jan. 27, 2013) (Interview).
- The Economist, "Thumb on the Scale: How Mandatory Minimum Sentences Distort Plea Bargaining" (The Economist Newsp. Ltd. Jan. 26, 2013) (Interview).
- Bloomberg BNA Criminal Law Reporter, "Justices Resolve Case Without Addressing Possible Remedies for Ineffective Assistance" (Bloomberg BNA 2013) (Quoted).
- Voices with Vision, "Indigent Defense Crisis" (WPFW 89.3 FM Nov. 27, 2012) (Interview).
- Los Angeles Daily Journal/San Francisco Daily Journal, "Justices Lean Toward Judicial Discretion in Criminal Cases; In 5-4 Decisions The Justices Lean Pro-Defendant By Judicial Discretion" (Daily J. Corp. July 12, 2012) (Quoted).
- The New York Times, "Supreme Court to Weigh Effects of Bad Plea Advice" (N.Y. Times Oct. 30, 2011) (Quoted).
- The Chronicle of Higher Education, "American Bar Association Takes Heat From Advisory Panel on Accreditation" (The Chronicle of Higher Ed. June 9, 2011) (Quoted).
- ABA Journal, "Task Force Probes Defense Lawyers' Role After Padilla" (ABA Apr. 1, 2011) (Quoted).