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Terry  Maroney - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Terry Maroney Terry  Maroney

Professor of Law | Vanderbilt University


Expert on emotion in law and emotional maturity, focusing on juvenile crime, mental illness and judicial temperament.






Federal judges to recharge at Vanderbilt Law School Are angry judges bad judges?



Terry Maroney’s research focuses primarily on the role of emotion in law. She was selected as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University to pursue a theoretical and empirical investigation on the role of emotion in judicial behavior and decision-making; she will continue that work as a 2017-19 Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow. Her scholarship on judges’ emotions—including “Angry Judges,” “Emotional Regulation and Judicial Behavior” and “The Persistent Cultural Script of Judicial Dispassion”—has been widely read by both judges and scholars of judicial behavior. Professor Maroney works closely with the Federal Judicial Center, both offering regular emotion-regulation workshops for newly-appointed federal judges and co-directing the annual Mid-Career Seminar for U.S. District Judges, an innovative program she developed with Judge Jeremy Fogel, who directs the FJC. She has worked on issues of emotion and its regulation with state court judges as well, in jurisdictions ranging from Alaska to Florida, and frequently lectures on these topics internationally. In her work, Professor Maroney relies heavily on interdisciplinary research, particularly psychology. Reflecting both that interdisciplinary grounding and her legal practice experience, she has also written and lectured extensively on juvenile justice topics, particularly adolescent brain science. Professor Maroney teaches a course on wrongful conviction, another area in which she has practiced. Prior to joining Vanderbilt's law faculty in 2006, she held academic fellowships at New York University School of Law and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, litigated at WilmerHale, served as a Skadden Fellow at the Urban Justice Center, and clerked for Judge Amalya L. Kearse on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Before earning her J.D. summa cum laude at New York University, she worked as a rape crisis counselor, HIV educator and advocate for crime victims.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Juvenile Crime

Law and Emotion

Law and Human Behavior

Juvenile Justice

Judicial Temperament

Education (2)

New York University: J.D., Law 1998

Oberline College: B.A., English and Women's Studies 1989

Affiliations (3)

  • Society for Affective Science
  • American Psychology-Law Society
  • Law and Society Association

Selected Media Appearances (5)

Justice : comment les préjugés peuvent affecter les juges

BBC News Africa  online


Terry Maroney est professeure de droit à l'Université de Vanderbilt aux États-Unis, où elle enseigne de nouveaux juges dans le cadre d'un programme affectueusement surnommé "baby judge school".

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As youths charged in Kyle Yorlets' death head to court, new details emerge about their past

The Tennessean  print


“Of course there was a flurry of shock and outrage and sadness,” said Vanderbilt Law School professor Terry Maroney. “What I’d like to see us do in response to that is have a very tailored response and solution."

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Lawmakers to reexamine Tennessee's juvenile sentencing laws after Cyntoia Brown case

Tennessean  online


Vanderbilt Law School professor Terry Maroney said Brown's case embodied the “bad old days” in juvenile justice, when it was easier to transfer juvenile cases to adult court and dole out heavy punishments.

“She is being freed at a moment in which we have gotten back to the historical recognition of the fact that youth matters,” Maroney said. “She can be a symbol of the direction that we should be continuing to go in juvenile justice.”

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The real meaning of judicial temperament

Quartz  online


Because these qualities are hard to measure, suitable temperament can seem like a mysterious and elusive quality, more a gut feeling than anything else. Some argue that it’s a kind of smokescreen, code for whether or not a person is popular rather than qualified. As Vanderbilt University law and medicine professor Terry Maroney points out in the introduction to a 2018 article posted on the University of California-Berkeley law school site (pdf), “Judicial temperament is simultaneously the thing we think all judges must have and the thing that no one can quite put a finger on.”

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Judges Wouldn’t Consider Forgiving Crippling Student Loans—Until Now

The Wall Street Journal  online


Frustrated judges are more likely to “look for wiggle room and try to find solutions that will allow them to sleep at night, ”said Terry Maroney, a Vanderbilt Law School professor who studies judicial decision-making.

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Selected Articles (3)

A Field Evolves: Introduction to the Special Section on Law and Emotion Emotion Review

Terry A. Maroney


"Law and emotion has evolved into a vibrant and diverse field, drawing in legal scholars and interdisciplinary partners from across the social sciences, hard sciences, and humanities. This introduction to the special section on law and emotion traces the history and theoretical underpinnings of this movement and situates the special section within it."

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The Persistent Cultural Script of Judicial Dispassion Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper

Terry A. Maroney


"In contemporary Western jurisprudence it is never appropriate for emotion - anger, love, hatred, sadness, disgust, fear, joy - to affect judicial decision-making. A good judge should feel no emotion; if she does, she puts it aside."

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Angry Judges Vanderbilt Law Review

Terry A. Maroney


"Judges get angry. Law, however, is of two minds as to whether they should; more importantly, it is of two minds as to whether judges’ anger should influence their behavior and decision making. On the one hand, anger is the quintessentially judicial emotion..."

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