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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

The Life and Work of Christian Legal Theorist William Stuntz

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life


Further Reading

Introduction to The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz, edited by David Skeel, Michael J. Klarman, and Carol S. Steiker (forthcoming Cambridge University Press, 2012).

In this introduction, Skeel discusses the arc of Stuntz’s career, his criminal justice scholarship, and Stuntz’s writings on Christianity as well as the cancer that ultimately killed him.

William J. Stuntz, The Uneasy Relationship Between Criminal Procedure and Criminal Justice, 107 YALE L.J. 1 (1997).

According to Skeel, this is the single most important criminal procedure article of the past twenty-five years. Considering Supreme court doctrine, the article expands the frame of reference to encompass the criminal justice system as a whole, as well as the general surge in crime during this period.

William J. Stuntz, The Collapse of American Criminal Justice (Harvard University Press, Harvard University Press, Sept. 2011.

Digging into the dramatic history of American crime—bar fights in nineteenth-century Chicago, New Orleans bordellos, Prohibition, and decades of murderous lynching--and the strategies that attempted to control them, Stuntz reveals the high costs of abandoning local democratic control to state legislators and federal judges.

David A. Skeel, Jr. and William Stuntz. "The Puzzling History of the Criminal Law of Gambling" in Gambling and the American Moral Landscape, eds. Alan Wolfe and Erik Owens, Baylor Press, 2009.

Here Stuntz and Skeel unpack five puzzles that largely define the history of the criminal law of gambling: the rise of gambling prohibition, the focus on federal law, the persistence and expansion of federal gambling law after Prohibition was abandoned, the ineffectiveness of federal law enforcement, and the lower priority with the religious right of a vice that once was at the core of its political agenda.

William Stuntz. "The Pathological Politics of Criminal Law" in Michigan Law Review, Vol. 100, December 2001.

This article argues that, criminal law's breadth and severity flow not from electoral politics but from institutional politics, from the interacting incentives of prosecutors, legislators, and judges. The most promising solutions, Stuntz argues, involve a substantial increase in judicial power over criminal law - more precisely, a substantial degree of constitutionalization of criminal law.

William J. Stuntz, "Three Gifts for Hard Times: What I've learned as life has taken a turn for what most people think is the worst"  in Christianity Today, September 20, 2011.

William Stuntz reflects on his diagnoses and lessons learned from the bible.

William Stuntz (1958-2011): In Memoriam, Harvard Law and Policy Review

A collection of rememberances from his students, colleagues, and friends. Please email us with your contribution or comments.

Richard A. Oppel, "Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors,"New York Times, 25 September 2011.

Oppel comments on the new leverage that prosecutors now possess to extract guilty pleas from defendants, thereby reducing the number of cases that actually go on trial.



Less Than the Least, a blog by David Skeel and Bill Stuntz.