Richard  Leo

Richard Leo

Associate Professor

Dr. Leo is a leading national authority on police interrogation and confessions in the United States. He is internationally known for his pioneering empirical research on police interrogation practices, false confessions, and wrongful convictions. Dr. Leo has written five books and more than 60 articles and book chapters on these and closely related topics, and is one of the most cited criminal law and procedure scholars in the country. He is the author of the award-winning book Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard University Press, 2008), already considered to be the definitive study of police interrogation and confessions in America. He is also the author of, with Tom Wells, The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions and the Norfolk Four (New Press, 2008) and, with George Thomas, The Miranda Debate: Law, Justice and Policing (Northeastern, 1998). Nominated for a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize, The Wrong Guys is being written into a screenplay by John Grisham for adaptation into a movie. Dr. Leo has won awards for research excellence and distinction from many organizations, including the Law and Society Association, the American Society of Criminology, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association. Dr. Leo is often quoted in print and electronic media and his research has been cited by numerous appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He is regularly invited to lecture and present training sessions to lawyers, judges, police, and other criminal justice professionals. Dr. Leo is also called to advise and assist practicing attorneys in litigation and has served as a litigation consultant and/or expert witness in criminal and civil trials. Dr. Leo has worked on many high profile cases involving false confessions, including the cases of Michael Crowe, Earl Washington, Kerry Max Cook, Medell Banks, the Norfolk Four, and two of the Central Park jogger defendants. Dr. Leo has also worked on behalf of numerous lesser-known victims of coercive interrogation and false confession in cases that have received no media attention.

Research Areas

Police interrogation
Wrongful convictions
Miscarriages of justice
Criminal investigation; justice; and procedure