Richard A. Leo

Richard A. Leo

Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

University of San Francisco

Richard A. Leo, Ph.D., J.D., is a professor of law at University of San Francisco, a Fellow in the Institute of Legal Research at U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law, and formerly a professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine, and a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Leo is internationally recognized for his pioneering empirical research on police interrogation practices, the impact of Miranda, psychological coercion, false confessions, and wrongful convictions. Dr. Leo has authored more than eighty articles in leading scientific and legal journals as well as several books, including the multiple award-winning Police Interrogation and American Justice (Harvard UP, 2008); The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions and the Norfolk Four (The New Press, 2008) with Tom Wells; and, most recently, Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond (Oxford UP, 2012) with George C. Thomas III. Dr. Leo has won individual and career achievement awards for research excellence and distinction from many organizations, including the Law and Society Association, the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychology-Law Society, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Pacific Sociological Association. Dr. Leo has been the recipient of Soros and Guggenheim fellowships and was recently elected to the American Law Institute. Dr. Leo is one of the most cited criminal law and procedure professors in the nation.

Dr. Leo is often featured and/or quoted in national print and electronic media, and his research has been cited by numerous appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court on multiple occasions. Apart from his academic endeavors, he is regularly invited to lecture and present training sessions to lawyers, judges, police, forensic psychologists, and other criminal justice professionals. Dr. Leo is also often called to advise and assist practicing attorneys and has served as a litigation consultant and/or expert witness in hundreds of criminal and civil cases. The work Dr. Leo did to help free the four innocent prisoners in Virginia (known as the “Norfolk 4”) was the subject of a story in The New Yorker magazine in 2009 and a PBS Frontline documentary in 2010.


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