Robert J. Smith

Print This Page (PDF) Assistant Professor of Law


  • J.D., Harvard University
  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley

Rob Smith is an assistant professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he teaches and writes about criminal law and evidence. Smith previously served as the legal and policy advisor to Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ), where he was responsible for the Institute's litigation efforts. Before joining the CHHIRJ, Smith represented death-sentenced inmates as a staff attorney at the Louisiana Capital Appeals Project. He also founded MyGideon, an online resource for indigent defense offices funded by the CHHIRJ. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Smith was on leave from Carolina Law to serve as the litigation director for the 8th Amendment Project.

Smith's scholarship has appeared in the New York University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Boston University Law Review, Washington Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Hastings Law Journal and Cardozo Law Review, among other journals, and in the online editions of the Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, and Harvard Law and Policy Review. His co-edited book, Implicit Bias Across the Law, was published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press. He has also published shorter works in The Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Salon, Slate and The Hill. His work has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, New Yorker, Atlantic, Harper's, Mother Jones, USA Today, ThinkProgress, Jurist and the ABA Journal, among other outlets.

Twitter: @thisisrobsmith

Selected Publications

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  • Forgetting Furman, 100 IOWA L. REV. 1149 (2015). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • Implicit White Favoritism in the Criminal Justice System (with J. Levinson and Z. Robinson), 66 ALA. L. REV. 871 (2015). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Devaluing Death: An Empirical Study of Implicit Racial Bias on Jury-Eligible Citizens in Six Death Penalty States (with J. Levinson & D. Young), 89 N.Y.U. L. REV. 513 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • The Failure of Mitigation (with S. Cull & Z. Robinson),  65 HASTINGS L. J.  1221 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • The Way the Court Gauges Consensus (And How to Do It Better) (with B. Sarma & S. Cull), 35 CARDOZO L. REV. 2397 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • IMPLICIT RACIAL BIAS ACROSS THE LAW (Justin D. Levinson and Robert J. Smith eds.) (Cambridge University Press 2012). [SSRN KF384 .I48 2012]
  • Recalibrating Constitutional Innocence Protection, 87 WASH. L. REV. 139 (2012). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • The Geography of the Death Penalty and its Ramifications, 92 B.U. L. REV. 227 (2012). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • Redemption Song: Graham v. Florida and the Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence (with G. Ben Cohen), 108 MICHIGAN L. REV. FIRST IMPRESSIONS 86 (2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, BEPress]
  • The Racial Geography of the Federal Death Penalty (with G. Ben Cohen), 85 WASH. L. REV. 425 (2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
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