New Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute Dedicated to Improving Education of Criminal Lawyers and Justice System


Washington, D.C., July 2, 2013 – American University Washington College of Law announces the launch of The Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute, to improve the education of future criminal lawyers while working to change the justice system through law reform.

Built upon and working with a strong foundation of the law school’s criminal law-related programs, such as the Criminal Justice Clinic, Trial Advocacy Program, and Project on Addressing Prison Rape (among others), the Institute will educate the next generation of criminal justice practitioners. A wide-range of courses from “Advanced Issues in Criminal Law” to “Political Crime and Terrorism” allow students to engage in an in-depth exploration of criminal law. The Institute also offers outstanding programs and presentations, like the timely Trayvon Martin Teach-In, bringing together diverse groups to discuss issues and craft solutions to common problems that plague the criminal justice system.

“The work of the institute is aimed at law reform, whether changing the law on the books or altering the policies and behaviors that impact the criminal justice system,” said Andrew Taslitz, professor of law and Criminal Justice Institute director. “The opportunities created by the Institute will help to foster equality, promote accuracy and procedural rights in the system, and ensure that those with a stake in the system are heard.”

The Institute is governed by members of the AUWCL faculty who have devoted their careers to improving the criminal justice system; these legal scholars also use their work to influence reform of the system.

  • Andrew Taslitz (Institute Director) – Teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and White Collar Crime, as well as advanced courses in those areas. He is a former prosecutor and a member of the American Bar Association’s Governing Council as well as serving as its first vice-chair and as the editor-in-chief of its publication, Criminal Justice.
  • Angela 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.
  • Cynthia Jones - Teaches Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and a seminar on Race, Crime and Politics. 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.
  • Ira Robbins - 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.
  • Jenny Roberts - Co-director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Clinic. Roberts 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.

Learn MORE about the mission and work of The Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute.


About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit