Alice Ristroph studies and teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law at Seton Hall University School of Law. She is trained as a political theorist, and is especially interested in the relationships among legal concepts and legal practices. In a number of recent works, Ristroph shows how dominant conceptual assumptions in criminal law and criminal procedure have impeded reform efforts, and she suggests more promising alternative frameworks. For example, one recent article examines the philosophy and laws of war as an effort to minimize the state’s use of force (Just Violence, Arizona Law Review). Some of the key concepts of the laws of war could be applied to the constitutional regulation of punishment to generate more powerful Eighth Amendment constraints, Ristroph suggests.
In another current project, Ristroph reassesses the common suggestion that constitutional criminal procedure serves to regulate the police (Regulation or Resistance? A Counter-Narrative of Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Boston University Law Review). Paradoxically, this suggestion has fueled doctrinal developments that have granted the police increasing discretion and failed to establish mechanisms of police accountability. At a time when police regulation is desperately needed, we should disentangle the regulatory project from criminal defendants’ articulations of constitutional rights.
Ristroph’s previous work has addressed various topics in constitutional theory and criminal law theory, and has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Duke Law Journal, and other journals. Ristroph joined the Seton Hall faculty in 2008 after serving as Associate Professor at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law. Before she began law teaching, Ristroph was an associate in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. She has a J.D. and Ph.D. in political theory from Harvard University.
Regulation or Resistance? A Counter-Narrative of Constitutional Criminal Procedure, 95 B.U. L. Rev._ (forthcoming 2015)
Sovereignty and Subversion, 101 Va. L. Rev. 1029 (2015)
Just Violence, 56 Ariz. L. Rev. 1017 (2014)
Covenants for the Sword, 61 U. Toronto L.J. 657 (2011)
Criminal Law in the Shadow of Violence, 62 Ala. L. Rev. 571 (2011)
Disestablishing the Family, 119 Yale L. J. 1236 (2010) (with Melissa E. Murray)
How (Not) to Think Like a Punisher, 61 Florida L. Rev. 727 (2009)
Is Law? Constitutional Crisis and Existential Anxiety, 25 Constitutional Commentary 431 (2009)
Respect and Resistance in Punishment Theory, 97 California L. Rev. 601 (2009)
Professors Strangelove, 11 Green Bag 2d 243 (2008)
State Intentions and the Law of Punishment, 98 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 1353 (2008)
Desert, Democracy, and Sentencing Reform, 96 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 1293 (2006)
Sexual Punishments, 15 Colum. J. Gender & Law 139 (2006)
Proportionality as a Principle of Limited Government, 55 Duke L. J. 263 (2005)