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Tracey L. Meares

Founding Director, The Justice Collaboratory, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Chapter Member: Connecticut SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Tracey

Meares is Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School. Before arriving at Yale Law School, she was Max Pam Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. She has held positions clerking for the Honorable Harlington Wood, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. Since 2004, she has served on the Committee on Law and Justice, a National Research Council Standing Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. Additionally, she has served on two National Research Council Review Committees: one to review research on police policy and practices and another more recently to review the National Institute of Justice. In November of 2010, she was named by Attorney General Eric Holder to sit on the Department of Justice's newly-created Science Advisory Board. Professor Meares's teaching and research interests focus on criminal procedure and criminal law policy, with a particular emphasis on empirical investigation of these subjects. Her writings on such issues as crime prevention and community capacity building are concertedly interdisciplinary and reflect a civil society approach to law enforcement that builds upon the interaction between law, culture, social norms, and social organization. She has written widely on these topics in both the academic and trade press. Meares has been especially interested as of late in teaching and writing about communities, police legitimacy and legal policy, and she has lectured on this topic extensively across the country to audiences of academics, lay people, and police professionals.


How America's Criminal Justice System Educates Citizens

  • Benjamin Justice

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Quoted by Cathy Shufro in "Everyday Justice," Yale Alumni Magazine, January 1, 2018.
Quoted by Tina Rosenberg in "Barriers to Reforming Police Practices," New York Times, August 2, 2016.
Opinion: "Fight Crime Sensibly, Not Hysterically," Tracey L. Meares, New York Times, December 15, 2015.
Research discussed by Heather Brandon and Diane Orson, in "Obama Task Force on Policing Includes Yale Law Professor," Connecticut National Public Radio, January 13, 2015.


"Warren Court Retrospective: Everything Old is New Again: Fundamental Fairness and the Legitimacy of Criminal Justice" Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 3, no. 1 (2005): 105-122.

Focuses on two problem areas that often implicate race - petit jury composition and selective prosecution claims - to illustrate the potential of fundamental fairness analysis to address lingering vestiges of racial injustice in the criminal justice system under the Warren court.

"Seeing Crime and Punishment through a Sociological Lens: Contributions, Practices, and the Future" (with Calvin Morrill, John Hagan, and Bernard Harcourt). University of Chicago Legal Forum 285 (2005).
Discusses the long tradition in American sociology of "bottom-up" inquiry that begins with an intensive empirical inquiry into the dynamics of crime and punishment and builds conceptual frameworks upon that foundation.
"Urgent Times: Policing and Rights in Inner City Communities" (with Dan M. Kahan) (Beacon Press, 1999).
Provides a searching examination of the constitutional and moral issues of community policing, opening up a major debate on a promising idea about how to keep streets safe without throwing out essential legal safeguards.