Image of Thomas H. Thornburg

Thomas H. Thornburg

Professor of Public Law and Government

Tom Thornburg retired from a full-time role at the School of Government in May 2023.

Thornburg works in criminal law and procedure, with a focus on assisting North Carolina magistrates. He coordinates the School’s annual Public Law for the Public’s Lawyers CLE event, and served as the School's senior associate dean from 2004 to 2020. He was also director of the North Carolina Judicial College from 2011 through 2015. He joined the School of Government (then the Institute of Government) in 1990 as an assistant professor. He was associate director, then associate dean, from 1996 until 2004.

Thornburg was a 2010–2011 Academic Leadership Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Thornburg has been a member of several commissions and boards, including the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the Earlham College Board of Trustees. Recent campus service has included: secretary to the School of Government Foundation, Senior Academic/ Associate Deans’ Council, the Provost’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Diversity; Faculty Grievance Committee; Project Working Group for Resource Management, Planning, and Allocation; Employee Procedures Working Group concerning Sexual Violence, Discrimination, and Related Misconduct; Advisory Committee on Transportation and Parking; and International Affairs Advisory Council. Thornburg was chief legal counsel to the North Carolina Department of Correction in 1992–1993.

He edited and revised North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime (Fourth Edition, 1995); revised Introduction to Law for North Carolinians (Second Edition, 2000); edited and revised Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina (Ninth Edition, 2004); and has published on the topic of juvenile curfews. Thornburg earned a B.A. from Earlham College and an M.P.P. and J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Fields of Expertise
Criminal Law and Procedure
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