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Christopher Smith - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Christopher Smith

Professor of Criminal Justice | Michigan State University


U.S. Supreme Court scholar whose specific interests include judicial policymaking, constitutional rights and prisoners' rights



Christopher Smith Publication Christopher Smith Publication Christopher Smith Publication






Christopher E. Smith joined the faculty of the MSU School of Criminal Justice in 1994 after previously teaching political science at the University of Akron and the University of Connecticut-Hartford. His primary research interests are judicial policy-making, the U.S. Supreme Court, court processes, and constitutional rights in criminal justice, especially prisoners’ rights. He is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including The American System of Criminal Justice (13th ed. 2013), Constitutional Rights: Myths and Realities (2004), Law and Contemporary Corrections (2000), and Courts and the Poor (1991). He is also the author of more than 100 scholarly articles that have been published in such journals as Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Criminal Justice Studies, Criminal Justice Policy Review, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Justice System Journal, and Boston University Public Interest Law Journal.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Prisoners' Rights

US Supreme Court

Constitutional Rights

Accomplishments (3)

MSU College of Social Science Outstanding Teaching Award (professional)


MSU Nominee for National CASE Professor of the Year Competition (professional)

2004, 2014

Outstanding Professor Award ,(presented by Alpha Phi Sigma, MSU chapter of the criminal justice honor society) (professional)

1995 - 1996

Education (4)

University of Conneticut: Ph. D., Political Science 1988

University of Tennessee: J.D., Law 1984

J.D. - Univ. of Tennessee, 3d yr Univ. of Washington, 2d yr Univ. of Iowa, 1st yr (law schools attended) [Order of the Coif Honor Society]

University of Bristol: M. Sc., Social Sciences/Sociology 1981

Harvard University: A.B., Government 1980

National Merit Scholar

Affiliations (4)

  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Political Science Association
  • American Society of Criminology
  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Journal Articles (3)

26 Law of Corrections

Routledge Handbook of Corrections in the United States

Christopher E Smith

2018 For much of American history, law had little relevance for corrections. Law was at the heart of the processing of criminal cases. Laws of criminal procedure shaped the processing of criminal suspects' cases after they were arrested for violating criminal laws...

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The Roles of Sonia Sotomayor in Criminal Justice Cases

Cap. UL Rev.

Christopher E Smith, Ksenia Petlakh

2017 The unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 20161 reminded Americans about the uncertain consequences of changes in the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States. 2 It also serves as a reminder that this is an appropriate moment to assess aspects of the last major period of change for the Supreme Court when President Obama appointed, in quick succession, Justices Sonia Sotomayor in 20093 and Elena Kagan in 2010.4 Although it can be difficult to assess new justices' decision-making trends soon after their arrival at the high court, 5 they may begin to define themselves and their impact after only a few years...

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Criminal Justice and the 2015-2016 United States Supreme Court Term

Willamette L. Rev.

Michael A McCall, Madhavi M McCall, Christopher E Smith

2016 In this article we analyze criminal justice cases decided by the United States Supreme Court during the 2015-2016 Term. In each of the four previous terms, criminal justice decisions tended to be overshadowed by the Court's rulings in other areas such as marriage equality and mandatory health insurance coverage.'For the 2015-2016 Term, however, criminal justice issues featured prominently in several lists of the year's most important cases, as the Court considered racial discrimination in the jury selection process, 3 sentencing of those who committed capital offenses as juveniles, 4 restrictions on the lawful ownership of firearms, s and other issues...

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