Andrew Taslitz

Professor of Law

American University Washington College of Law is mourning the loss of our esteemed colleague, Professor Andrew Taslitz (Taz), who passed away Sunday, Feb. 9. Please see this page for a collection of memories about Taz.

Professor Andrew E. Taslitz, over the course of his over twenty years in legal academia, in addition to teaching at American University, has taught at Duke University, Villanova University, and Howard University, as well as having been the Welsh S. White Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh. He teaches primarily in the areas of criminal procedure, evidence, criminal law, and professional responsibility. He has been named as one of the best twenty-six law teachers in America in Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz’s book, WHAT THE BEST LAW TEACHERS DO (forthcoming Harvard University Press 2013).

Professor Taslitz is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and, before entering teaching, worked both as a prosecutor in Philadelphia, PA., and as an associate at one of the largest and most public-interest-minded civil firms in Philadelphia, Schnader, Harrison, Segal, and Lewis. He writes in the areas in which he teaches. His writings have particularly centered on search and seizure issues, wrongful convictions, sexual assault, hate crimes legislation, freedom of speech, the expressive function of law, statutory interpretation methods, and scientific and character evidence, though he is increasingly writing on a wide variety of constitutional and criminal justice issues beyond these topics. His current emphases are on constitutional history, the implications of the teachings of cognitive science for criminal procedure and substantive criminal law, the role of race in the criminal justice system, the social role and ethical obligations of the prosecutor, the dangers of police reliance on informants, the meaning and significance of probable cause, the relationship between partial excuses and social norms, the modern significance of the Thirteenth Amendment for criminal law and procedure, and mechanisms for expanding and improving criminal justice system deliberative processes. Professor Taslitz is also engaged in several ongoing original empirical projects in partnership with scholars from other disciplines, including studies addressing jury instructions, popular attitudes toward search and seizure, and attitudes toward justice and the insanity defense.

Professor Taslitz is the author of seven books, notably including Reconstructing the Fourth Amendment: A History of Search and Seizure, 1789-1868 (N.Y.U. Press, hardcover edition, 2006; paperback edition 2009; Kindle edition 2010), and Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom (N.Y.U. Press, 1999, Kindle edition 2010). He has published well over 100 works, including numerous law review articles and several book reviews and articles addressed primarily to the practicing bar. His articles have been published in such prestigious journals as the Michigan Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

He is also active in public service. Thus he has recently been appointed as the Reporter, Uniform Law Commission (“ULC,” formerly known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws), for the Study Committee on a Uniform Statute on Eyewitness Identification Procedures, and as the Reporter for the Committee on Drafting a Uniform Statute on Videotaping of Custodial Interrogations of the ULC, which just recently sent to the states a proposed uniform statute on that subject. He has also co-authored a variety of high-profile reports, including Mandatory Justice: the Death Penalty Revisited for the Constitution Project (2006); the Legal Appendix to Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors (1998), for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing; and the Eyewitness Identification portion of Achieving Justice: Freeing the Innocent, Convicting the Guilty: The Report of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Ad Hoc Innocence Committee to Ensure the Integrity of the Criminal Justice System (2006). He additionally is active in American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section leadership, including currently serving as a member of that section’s Governing Council and Editor-in-Chief of its publication, Criminal Justice. He has previously chaired its committees on Race and Racism and Book Publication, served as Director of its Communications Division, as a member of its Innocence Committee and of the broader ABA’s Standards Committee and Committee on Transactional Surveillance.

Currently Teaching

There are no classes currently associated with this professor.

Areas of Specialization

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania 1981
  • B.A., Queens College 1978