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UC Law Professor Janet Moore Wins Junior Scholarship Competition

Cincinnati, OH—Janet Moore, Assistant Professor of Law, has won the Junior Scholar Competition, sponsored by the Criminal Justice section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS). The award was officially presented at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans, LA the first weekend in January.

Professor Moore won for her article, “Dangerous Hope: Oppositional Politics in Criminal Law and Procedure.” The article, which is currently in manuscript form, argues that a democracy deficit at the intersection of crime, race, and poverty calls for a democracy-enhancing theory of criminal law and procedure. She draws upon communicative ethics theory to prioritize self-governance in refocusing criminal law’s traditional justifications of retributivism, deterrence, and rehabilitation.  She applies the democracy-enhancing framework to map a collection of cutting-edge criminal justice reforms, along with some conditions that allowed reform to occur and occasionally survive counterattack. The article concludes that those conditions honor advocacy by elites, and highlights examples of direct action by low-income people and people of color as a vital component of a more broadly democratic foundation for criminal law and procedure. 

Moore, who joined the law school faculty two years ago, received joint JD/MA degrees from Duke University, an MA in Divinity from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Religion from Kalamazoo College (Michigan). At Duke, she served as editor-in-chief of Law & Contemporary Problems, the nation’s first interdisciplinary law journal. She then clerked for the Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Her scholarship focuses on the legal and political conditions that empower stakeholders to obtain greater transparency and accountability from criminal justice systems. Her work is informed by critical theory and long experience in capital defense and criminal justice reform research and advocacy. Since 1998, she has won some form of relief for about 80% of her capital clients.

In 2006, Moore joined the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to evidence-based justice reform. In 2007, she was awarded a Senior Justice Advocacy Fellowship by the Open Society Institute. Two years later the Ohio Supreme Court appointed her to the state Public Defender Commission. Finally, in 2012 she received the law school’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, an award based on student nominations which focuses on the professors’ research and public services as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.

Read a profile of Professor Moore.