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Jessica Smith

W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government
919.966.4105

Jessica Smith came to the School of Government in 2000, after practicing law at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., and clerking for Judge W. Earl Britt on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and for Judge J. Dickson Phillips Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. At the School of Government, Smith works with judges and others involved in the criminal justice system. Her numerous books, chapters, articles, and other publications deal with criminal procedure, substantive criminal law, and evidence. In 2015, Chief Justice Mark Martin appointed Smith as a Reporter for the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law & Justice. Smith played a central role in developing the Commission’s recommendation to raise North Carolina’s juvenile age, which was enacted into law by the state legislature. Smith offers numerous courses for judges and is actively involved in criminal justice reform projects, including pretrial justice and addressing overcriminalization. In 2006, she received the Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Term Professorship for Teaching Excellence; in 2013, she was named by the Chancellor as a W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, one of the University’s highest academic honors. Smith earned a BA, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was managing editor of the Law Review.

Fields of Expertise
Bail and Pretrial Release
Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal Law and Procedure
Evidence
Judicial Education
Juvenile Justice Reform
Post-Conviction Procedure
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