Ira P. Robbins

Professor of Law and Justice
Barnard T. Welsh Scholar
Co-Director, Criminal Justice Practice & Policy Institute

Office: Room Y311
Phone: 202-274-4235
Email: vCard


Ira Robbins, Professor at AU's Washington College of Law, is an expert on criminal law and procedure, the death penalty, habeas corpus, prisoners' rights, privatization of prisons and jails, conspiracy, insanity, and other legal issues. He was Acting Director of the Federal Judicial Center's Education and Training Division and served as the reporter for the American Bar Association's Task Force on Death Penalty Habeas Corpus and its Task Force on Privatization of Corrections. Professor Robbins also served as a Supreme Court Fellow and as a special consultant to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States. In 2008, Professor Robbins was named a member of the American Bar Association Task Force on Post-Conviction Remedies.

Professor Robbins is one of the founding members of the WCL Criminal Justice Practice & Policy Institute (2013). His recent books include Habeas Corpus Checklists (2016) and Prisoners and the Law (six vols., 2016). His interviews and analyses have appeared on all of the major U.S. and foreign television and radio networks (including The Colbert Report on Comedy Central) and in such publications as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, London Times, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, ABA Journal, National Law Journal, and Legal Times. Many of Robbins' recent media inquiries have focused on the legal proceedings and trials in terrorism and other high-profile cases, as well as on many criminal cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Robbins' honors and awards include the Chief Judge John R. Brown Award for Judicial Scholarship and Education (1998). He is also a Life Member of the American Law Institute (2007). At American University, he received the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching (1985) and was selected as American University’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year (1988), the University’s highest faculty award. In 2010, Professor Robbins won the Pauline Ruyle Moore Award, in recognition of his scholarly work in the area of public law. In 2011, he was selected as the first recipient of the Washington College of Law Award for Exemplary Teaching. In 2015, he was honored with the Washington College of Law Award for Outstanding Service.

Apart from his law-related endeavors, Professor Robbins is an award-winning photographer.



Areas of Specialization

  • Conflict of Laws
  • Habeas Corpus / Post-Conviction Remedies
  • International Legal Exchange
  • Prison Litigation / Prisoners’ Rights
  • Criminal Law
  • Capital Punishment
  • Criminal Procedure
  • First Amendment
  • Sentencing Law
  • Social Networking and the Law

Degrees & Universities

  • A.B., University of Pennsylvania
  • J.D., Harvard Law School