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March 16, 2011

In memoriam: Professor Bill Stuntz

I am saddened to learn from this post by Orin Kerr that Harvard Law Professor Bill Stuntz, whom Orin describes as "the leading criminal procedure scholar of his generation," passed away earlier this week after a long battle with cancer. I always learned a lot and re-thought a lot whenever reading Bill's extraordinary scholarship, and both the legal academy and those interested in criminal justice reform have lost a distinctive and important voice.

Here are just a few of the many important pieces by Bill that I consider must-reads for sentencing law and policy fans (and should remain so for quite some time):

  • Unequal Justice, 121 Harv. L. Rev. 1969 (2008)
  • Plea Bargaining and Criminal Law’s Disappearing Shadow, 117 Harv. L. Rev. 2548 (2004)
  • The Pathological Politics of Criminal Law, 100 Mich. L. Rev. 505 (2001)
  • The Uneasy Relationship Between Criminal Procedure and Criminal Justice, 107 Yale L.J. 1 (1997)

March 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

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Comments

What a sad day, and what a great loss.

Many things set Professor Stuntz apart, but one was that his contributions to scholarship occurred as much in the classroom as they did in the pages of law journals. Never did a day go by in his procedure class where there was not at least one penetrating insight that was worthy of an article itself (if not a chain of scholarship). Many years later, his class is the only lecture class I remember as being a must-not-miss every day--not because roll was taken, but because you knew you would miss something worth thinking about.

A second was his concern for the practical. His scholarship was not abstract--it was concerned with improving criminal justice. In the same way, his classroom instruction was directed not at training law professors, but at training lawyers. I cannot think of many of his stature in the academy who were as focused on improving legal practice as they were on the law itself.

Then of course there were his faith, his nurturing of character, and his courage in facing adverse health challenges and a too-short time here. Of these, many who knew him well have written much more eloquently than I could.

Posted by: Def. Atty | Mar 17, 2011 1:40:08 PM

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