Professor Richard Leo

Richard A. Leo

Hamill Family Chair Professor of Law and Social Psychology and Dean's Circle Scholar

Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-6513

Biography

Richard A. Leo, PhD, JD, is the Hamill Family Professor of Law and Psychology at the University San Francisco School of Law, and a Fellow in the Institute for Legal Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He was previously a tenured professor of psychology and criminology at U.C. Irvine for a decade (1997-2006), and a professor of sociology and adjunct professor of law at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1994-1997).

Dr. Leo is one of the leading experts in the world on police interrogation practices, the impact of Miranda, psychological coercion, false confessions, and the wrongful conviction of the innocent. Dr. Leo has authored more than 100 articles in leading scientific and legal journals as well as several books, including the multiple award-winning Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard University Press, 2008); The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions and the Norfolk Four (The New Press, 2008) with Tom Wells; and, most recently, Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2012) with George C. Thomas III.  He is currently working on a book that is tentatively entitled, The Innocence Revolution: The American Movement Against Wrongful Convictions (with Tom Wells).

Dr. Leo has won numerous individual and career achievement awards for research excellence and distinction. These include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the William J. Chambliss Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Society Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Saleem Shah Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the Paul Tappan Award from the Western Society of Criminology, the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology, the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Division of Policing of the American Society of Criminology, and the

Academic Excellence Award from the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group. Among his many book awards is the prestigious Herbert Jacob Book Prize from the Law and Society Association. Dr. Leo has also received awards from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the American Psychology-Law Society, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association. Dr. Leo has been the recipient of Soros and Guggenheim fellowships, as well as a Fellowship from the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 2011 he was elected to the American Law Institute. According to the University of Chicago Leiter rankings, Dr. Leo is one of the most cited criminal law and procedure professors in the United States.  In 2016, the Wall Street Journal named him as one of the 25 law professors most cited by appellate courts in the United States.  His publications have been translated into multiple languages and downloaded more than 44,000 times on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Dr. Leo has been featured and/or quoted in hundreds of stories in the national print and electronic media, and his research has been cited by numerous appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court on multiple occasions. He is regularly invited to lecture and present training sessions to lawyers, judges, police, forensic psychologists and other criminal justice professionals. Dr. Leo is also often called to advise and assist practicing attorneys and has served as a litigation consultant and/or expert witness in hundreds of criminal and civil cases. Dr. Leo has worked on many high profile cases involving false confessions, including the cases of Brendan Dassey, Michael Crowe, Earl Washington, Kerry Max Cook, Martin Tankleff, the Beatrice Six, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. of the West Memphis 3, and two of the Central Park jogger defendants. The work Dr. Leo did to help free four innocent prisoners in Virginia (known as the “Norfolk 4”) was the subject of a story in The New Yorker magazine in 2009 and a PBS Frontline documentary in 2010. Dr. Leo has also worked on behalf of numerous lesser-known victims of coercive interrogation and false confession in cases that never received any media attention.

Education
AB, UC Berkeley
MA, University of Chicago
PhD, UC Berkeley
JD, UC Berkeley
Experience
Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, UC Irvine
Associate Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society, UC Irvine
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Colorado, Boulder
Soros Senior Justice Fellowship, Open Society Institute
Visiting Scholar and Fellow, UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law
Visiting Professor of Sociology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
Expertise
Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure
False Confessions
Investigations
Police Interrogation
Police Investigations
Wrongful Convictions
Awards & Distinctions

Distinguished Scholar Award (2018), American Society of Criminology, Division of Policing. (For outstanding contributions to the field of policing).

Academic Excellence Award (2017), International Investigative Interviewing Research Group. (In recognition of outstanding achievements to ethical investigative interviewing).

Lifetime Achievement Award (2014). Society for the Study of Social Problems, Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Division. (For distinguished scholarship in the fields of crime and delinquency).

Paul Tappan Lifetime Achievement Award (2014). Western Society of Criminology. (For outstanding contributions to the field of criminology).

The President’s Award (2014). Western Society of Criminology. (For contributions to the field of criminology and positive influence on the current Western Society of Criminology President’s career).

Fellowship, Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2014-2015). Stanford University.

William J. Chambliss Lifetime Achievement Award (2013). Society for the Study of Social Problems, Law and Society Division. (For career-spanning excellence and achievement in the area of law and society).

Guggenheim Fellowship (2011) from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for the book, The Innocence Revolution: A Popular History of the American Discovery of the Wrongly Convicted, co-authored with Tom Wells

The Edwin H. Sutherland Outstanding Scholarship Award (2010) from the Society for the Study of Social Problems Law and Society Division for Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard University Press, 2008) (Inaugural Award)

Outstanding Book Award (2010) from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences for Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard University Press, 2008).

Herbert Jacob Book Prize (2009) from the Law and Society Association for Police Interrogation and American Justice. (Harvard University Press, 2008)

Distinguished Scholarship Award (2009) from the Pacific Sociological Association for Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard University Press, 2008). Honorable Mention.

Soros Senior Justice Fellowship (2004). Open Society Institute. Soros Foundation. New York, N.Y.

The Saleem Shah Career Achievement Award (2000). Given by The American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology for early career excellence and contributions to psychology, law and public policy.

The Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award (1999). Given by The American Society of Criminology to recognize outstanding scholarly contributions to the discipline of criminology.

Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Research (2000-2001). University of California, Irvine. Conferred by the Academic Senate of the University of California, Irvine for distinguished research.

Faculty Career Development Award (1998-1999). University of California, Irvine.

Graduate Student Paper Award, Honorable Mention (1994) from the American Sociological Association, Crime, Law, and Deviance Section.

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award (1993). University of California, Berkeley. Department of Legal Studies.

Prosser Prize (1992), Guggenheim Crime Policy Seminar. University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall Law School.

Books
The Innocence Revolution: A Popular History of the American Discovery of the Wrongfully Convicted ( Forthcoming , 2019 Edition ) (Co-authored with Tom Wells)
Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond (New York: Oxford University Press , 2012) (Co-authored with George C. Thomas III.)
Police Interrogation and American Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press , 12th Edition , 2008) (Paperback version published in 2009. Excerpts reprinted in Yale Kamisar, et al. Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases, Comments, Questions. Translated into Chinese in September 2012.) Read More
The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions and the Norfolk Four (New York: The New Press , 2008) (Co-authored with Tom Wells.) Read More
The Miranda Debate: Law, Justice and Policing (Boston: Northeastern University Press , 1998) (Co-edited with George C. Thomas III.) Read More
The American Criminal Justice System ( Simon & Schuster , 1998) (Editor)
Law Review and Journal Articles
“Police Interrogation, False Confessions, and Alleged Child Abuse Cases,” 50 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform (2017). SSRN
“The Criminology of Wrongful Conviction: A Decade Later,” 33 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 82-106 (2017). SSRN
“The Miranda App: Metaphor and Machine,” Boston University Law Review (Forthcoming, 2017). (Co-authored with Andrew Guthrie Ferguson)
“False Confessions in the Twenty-First Century,” The Champion Magazine (2016). (Co-authored with Professor Brian Cutler, University of Ontario Institute of Technology) SSRN
“Analyzing Videotaped Interrogations and Confessions,” The Champion Magazine (Forthcoming: 2016). (Co-authored with Professor Brian Cutler, University of Ontario Institute of Technology) SSRN
“What Innocence Means Today and Why It Matters,” 68 Florida Law Review (Forthcoming, 2017). (Part of a larger essay entitled, “Voices on Innocence” with Lucian Dervan, Meghan Ryan, Valena Beety, Gregory Gilchrist and William Berry. ) SSRN
“The Path to Exoneration,” Albany Law Review (2016). SSRN
“The Justice Gap and the Promise of Criminological Research,” 15 Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society 1-37 (2014). Read More
“Police Interrogation and Coercion in Domestic American History: Lessons for the War on Terror,”  Torture, Law and War: What Are the Moral and Legal Boundaries on the Use of Coercion in Interrogation? (2010). SSRN
“The Problem of Interrogation-Induced False Confession: Sources of Failure in Prevention and Detection,” Handbook of Forensic Sociology and Psychology 47-75 (2014).
“Promoting Accuracy in the Use of Confession Evidence: An Argument for Pre-Trial Reliability Assessments to Prevent Wrongful Convictions,” 85 Temple Law Review 759-838 (2014). SSRN
“The Sound of Silence: Miranda Waivers, Selective Literalism and Social Context,” Lawrence Solan, Janet Ainsworth, & Roger Shuy, eds., Speaking of Language and Law (2014). SSRN
“Predicting Erroneous Convictions,” 99 Iowa Law Review p. 471-552 (2014). (Co-authored with Jon Gould, Julia Carrano and Katie Hail-Jares.) SSRN
“Why Interrogation Contamination Occurs,” 11 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law (2013). SSRN
“Promoting Accuracy in the Use of Confession Evidence: An Argument for Pretrial Reliability Assessments to Prevent Wrongful Convictions,” Temple Law Review (2013). (Co-authored with Peter J. Neufeld, Steven A. Drizin, and Andrew E. Taslitz.) SSRN
“Interrogation-Regulatory Decline: Ego Depletion, Failures of Self-Regulation and the Decision to Confess,” 18 Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 673 (2012). (Co-authored with Deborah Davis.) SSRN
“To Walk in Their Shoes: The Problem of Missing, Misunderstood, and Misrepresented Context in Judging Criminal Confessions,” 46 New England Law Review 4 (2012). (Co-authored with Deborah Davis.) SSRN
“Jurors Believe Interrogation Tactics Are Not Likely To Elicit False Confessions: Will Expert Witness Testimony Inform Them Otherwise?,” 17 Psychology, Crime & Law 239 (2011). (Co-authored with Iris Blandon-Gitlin & Kathryn Sperry.) SSRN
“Reply to Samuel R. Gross and Barbara O'Brien,” 8 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 277-279 (2010). SSRN
“Moving Targets: Placing the Good Faith Doctrine in the Context of Fragmented Policing,” 37 Fordham Urban Law Journal 709 (2010). (Co-authored with Hadar Aviram and Jeremy Seymour.) SSRN
“From False Confession to Wrongful Conviction: Seven Psychological Processes,” 38 Journal of Psychiatry and Law 9 (2010). (The article was excerpted in Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology and co-authored with Deborah Davis.) SSRN
“Overcoming Judicial Preferences for Person Versus Situation-Based Analyses of Interrogation Induced Confessions,” 38(2) The Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 187 (2010). (Co-authored with Deborah Davis.) SSRN
“Police-Induced Confessions, Risk Factors, and Recommendations: Looking Ahead,” 34 Law and Human Behavior 39 (2010). (The article was also written with Saul Kassin, Steven Drizin, Thomas Grisso, Gisli Gudjonsson, and Allison Redlich and published online in January 2010.) SSRN
“Selling Confession: Setting the Stage with the Sympathetic Detective with a Time-Limited Offer,” 26 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 441 (2010). (Co-authored with Deborah Davis and William Follette.) SSRN
“One Hundred Years Later: Wrongful Conviction After a Century of Research,” 100(3) Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 825 (2010). (Co-authored with Jon Gould.) SSRN
“The Gatehouse and Mansions: 50 Years Later,” 6 Annual Review of Law and Social Science 323 (2010). (Co-authored with Alexa Koenig.) SSRN
“Studying Wrongful Convictions: Learning from Social Science,” 7 The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 7 (2009). (Co-authored with Jon Gould.) SSRN
“Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations,” 34 Law and Human Behavior 3 (2010). (Co-authored with Saul Kassin, Steven Drizin, Thomas Grisso, Gisli Gudjonsson, and Allison Redlich. Published online July 2009.) SSRN
“False Confessions: Causes, Consequences and Implications,” 37 The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 332 (2009). SSRN
“What Do Potential Jurors Know About Police Interrogation Techniques and False Confessions?,” 27 Behavioral Sciences and the Law 381 (2009). (Co-authored with Brittany Liu.) SSRN
“Mental Health Status and Vulnerability to Police Interrogation Tactics,” 22 Criminal Justice 42 (2007). (Co-authored with William C. Follette and Deborah Davis.)
“Police Interviewing and Interrogation: A Self-Report Survey of Police Practices and Beliefs,” 31 Law and Human Behavior 381 (2007). (Co-authored with Saul M. Kassin, Christian A. Meissner, Kimberly D. Richman, Lori H. Colwell, Amy Leach, & Dana LaFon.) SSRN
“Mandate the Electronic Recording of Police Interrogations,” 6 Crime and Public Policy 791 (2007). (With Kimberly D. Richman) SSRN
“Bringing Reliability Back In: False Confessions and Legal Safeguards in the 21st Century,” 2006 Wisconsin Law Review 479 (2006). (Co-authored with Steven Drizin, Peter Neufeld, Brad Hall, and Amy Vatner.) SSRN
“Psychological Weapons of Influence: Applications in the Interrogation Room,” 14 Nevada Lawyer 14 (2006). (With Deborah Davis)
“Re-Thinking the Study of Miscarriages of Justice: Developing a Criminology of Wrongful Conviction,” 21 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 205 (2005). SSRN
“Beating a Bum Rap,” 3 Contexts 68 (2004). SSRN
“The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World,” 82 North Carolina Law Review 891 (2004). (The article was written with Steve Drizin. It was reprinted in Japan as the book The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World (Nippon Hyoronsha Co., Ltd., 2008). It was also reprinted in Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases, Comments, Questions (West Publishing, 2008) and Constitutional Criminal Procedure (Foundation Press, Third Edition 2007) SSRN
“The Effects of Miranda v. Arizona: Embedded in Our National Culture?,” 29 Crime and Justice: A Review of Research (2002). (Co-authored with George C. Thomas III.) SSRN
“Questioning the Relevance of Miranda in the Twenty-First Century,” 99 Michigan Law Review 1000 (2001). (The article was reprinted in Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases, Comments, Questions (West Publishing, Ninth Edition 2002) SSRN
“The Truth About False Confessions and Advocacy Scholarship,” 37 Criminal Law Bulletin 293 (2001). (With Richard Ofshe) SSRN
“Autism, Rape, and Arson,” 4 Sexual Assault Report 17 (2000). (Co-authored with Ann Burgess, David Elkovitch, and Jay Jackman.)
“Adapting to Miranda: Modern Interrogators' Strategies For Dealing With The Obstacles Posed By Miranda,” 84 Minnesota Law Review 397 (1999). (Co-authored with Welsh S. White.) SSRN
“Witness for False Confession No Expert,” II(3) The Forensic Echo: The Monthly Newsmagazine of Psychiatry, Law & Public Policy 14 (1998).
“Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Videotaping the Police,” 17 Criminal Justice Ethics 44 (1998).
“The Consequences of False Confessions: Deprivations of Liberty and Miscarriages of Justice in the Age of Psychological Interrogation,” 88 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 429 (1998). (The article was co-authored with Richard Ofshe and reprinted in Law, Social Science, and the Criminal Courts (Carolina Academic Press, 2004) SSRN
“False Confessions and Miscarriages of Justice,” The Defender 3 (1998).
“Using the Innocent to Scapegoat Miranda: Another Reply to Paul Cassell,” 88 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 557 (1998). (Co-authored with Richard Ofshe.) SSRN
“The Decision to Confess Falsely: Rational Choice and Irrational Action,” 74 Denver University Law Review 979 (1997). (Co-authored with Richard Ofshe.) SSRN
“Missing the Forest for the Trees: A Response to Paul Cassell's 'Balanced Approach' to the False Confession Problem,” 74 Denver University Law Review 1135 (1997). (Co-authored with Richard Ofshe.) SSRN
“The Social and Legal Construction of Repressed Memory,” 22 Law & Social Inquiry 653 (1997). SSRN
“The Social Psychology of Police Interrogation: The Theory and Classification of True and False Confessions,” 16 Studies in Law, Politics & Society 189 (1997). (Co-authored with Richard Ofshe.) SSRN
“The Ethics of Deceptive Interrogation,” 11 Criminal Justice Ethics 3 (1992). (The article was co-authored with Jerome H. Skolnick. It was reprinted in Justice, Crime, and Ethics (Anderson Publishing Co., Fifth Edition 2005); Criminal Justice Ethics (Prentice-Hall, 2000); The Leadership Journal (January-March 1993); and The Boalt Hall Transcript (1993). It was also revised and expanded as a book chapter in Issues in Policing: New Perspectives. (Autumn House Publishing, 1992) SSRN
“The Impact of Miranda Revisited,” 86 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 621 (1996). (Reprinted in The Miranda Debate: Law, Justice, and Crime Control (Northeastern University Press, 1998) SSRN
“Inside the Interrogation Room,” 86 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 266 (1996). (The article was reprinted in Police and Policing Law (Ashgate Publishing, 2006) and Cases and Materials on Criminal Procedure (West Publishing, 1999.) SSRN
“Miranda's Revenge: Police Interrogation as a Confidence Game,” 30 Law & Society Review 259 (1996). SSRN
“Police Scholarship for the Future: Resisting the Pull of the Policy Audience,” 30 Law & Society 865 (1996). SSRN
“Trial and Tribulations: Courts, Ethnography, and the Need for an Evidentiary Privilege for Academic Researchers,” 26 American Sociologist 113 (1995). (The article was reprinted in Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations (Waveland Press, Second Edition 2001.)
“Police Interrogation and Social Control,” 3 Social and Legal Studies: An International Journal 93 (1994). SSRN
“The Yale White-Collar Crime Project: A Review and Critique,” 18 Law & Social Inquiry 63 (1993). (The article was co-authored with David T. Johnson and reprinted Fraud: Organizational, Motivation, and Control (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 1998.) SSRN
“From Coercion to Deception: The Changing Nature of Police Interrogation in America,” 18 Crime, Law, and Social Change: An International Journal 35 (1992). (The article was reprinted in The Miranda Debate: Law, Justice, and Crime Control. (Northeastern University Press, 1998) SSRN