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John Rubin

Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government; Director, Public Defense Education

John Rubin joined the School of Government in 1991, where he specializes in criminal law and public defense education. He has written several books, articles, and other resources on criminal law, including a book on The Law of Self-Defense in North Carolina and a guide to Relief from a Criminal Conviction, among other publications. He is also the editor of a seven-volume practice manual series on indigent defense. He regularly teaches and consults with judges, magistrates, prosecutors, public defenders, and other criminal justice officials.

In 2004, John created the Public Defense Education program at the School of Government, supported by contract revenue, grants, registration fees and sales, and fundraising. As director of the program, he oversees the work of several lawyers and professional employees who develop and deliver a curriculum of annual training programs, a library of reference materials, online educational offerings, and consultation services. He helped establish and continues as a consultant to the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, the statewide agency responsible for overseeing and enhancing legal representation for indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law.

In 2008, John was awarded a two-year distinguished professorship for faculty excellence. In 2012, he was named Albert Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government. He has served as the faculty director for UNC’s honors study abroad program in London, teaches an honors undergraduate seminar on criminal law and justice at UNC, and beginning Summer 2022 will co-teach a Burch Field Research Seminar on criminal justice and health policy. Before joining the School of Government, John practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California. He earned a J.D. from UNC–Chapel Hill in 1982 and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978.

Fields of Expertise
Bail and Pretrial Release
Collateral Consequences (Criminal Convictions)
Criminal Law and Procedure
Domestic Violence
Public Defense Education
Public Defender Training
search and seizure
Sentencing Law
Sex Offender Registration
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