Laurence A. Benner
Professor of Law
Managing Director, Criminal Justice Programs
Visiting Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
J.D. University of Chicago
B.S. Michigan State University
[summa cum laude, political science]
Courses Taught: Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Justice/Bail Project, Advanced Criminal Litigation.
Recently elected to The Fellows of the American Bar Association in recognition of his service to the profession, Laurence Benner has been an active participant, educator and consultant in the criminal justice arena for over three decades. His scholarship has been cited in the United States Supreme Court as well as leading criminal justice textbooks and treatises on criminal procedure. Excerpts from his critique of the law on confessions, entitled “Requiem for Miranda” and his empirical research on search warrants have been extensively relied upon by both courts and scholars. The Other Face of Justice, which he co-authored, has also been nationally recognized as a basic resource for improving criminal defense representation for the indigent accused.
A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Benner joined the law faculty of California Western School of Law following a distinguished career as a trial and appellate advocate. He was National Director of Defender services for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, was Director & Chief Trial Counsel of the Office of the Defender in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and taught as a Clinician at the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. He also served in the South Pacific as Chief Legal Counsel to the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea, a constitutional office established to protect human rights.
Professor Benner is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) and is currently Co-Chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Defense Function Committee. He is also a member of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, the ABA Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section, Scribes, the Law & Society Program Advisory Committee of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Club. He served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Justice Department’s National Study Commission on Criminal Defense Services, which promulgated national standards for the delivery of indigent defense services, was NLADA’s liaison to the ABA Special Committee on Criminal Justice Administration, and is a past member of the Executive Committee of the American Association of Law School’s (AALS) Litigation Section. He has been a consultant to numerous governmental agencies, including the U.S. Justice Department, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, San Diego County and The Constitutional Review Commission of Papua New Guinea.
Professor Benner is Managing Director of Criminal Justice Programs at California Western School of Law, where he co-founded the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, which operates the California Innocence Project and the Janeen Kerper National Trial Skills Academy. He lectures regularly at NLADA’s annual ‘Life in the Balance’ Death Penalty Training Conference and the Advanced Appellate Defender Training Conference. He currently teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Advanced Criminal Justice, and directs the San Diego Search Warrant Project and CWSL’s Bail Project. He pioneered CWSL’s faculty exchange program with Victoria University in New Zealand, where he taught Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure and he teaches undergraduate courses in the Law & Society Program at UCSD.
- Redefining the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, 34 NLADA CORNERSTONE 4 (2013) with M. Hartman
- Expanding the Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel at Plea Bargaining, 27 ABA Criminal Justice Magazine 5 (2012)
- Social-Network Theory and Diffusion of the Search-and Seizure Exclusionary Rule Among State Courts Between Weeks and Wolf, 27 BYU Journal of Public Law 97 (2012) with D Smyth and R. Bird
- Eliminating Excessive Public Defender Workloads, 26 ABA CRIMINAL JUSTICE 24 (2011)
- When Excessive Public Defender Workloads Violate the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Without a Showing of Prejudice, AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY March 2011.
- The California Public Defender: Its Origins, Evolution, and Decline, 5 CAL. LEGAL HISTORY 173 (2010).
- Silencing Miranda, 32 CORNERSTONE 6 (2010) with Marshall Hartman.
- "Opening Pandora's Box: The Duty to Give Correct Guilty Plea Advice under Padilla v. Kentucky, 32 CORNERSTONE 6 (2010)
- Supreme Court Watch: Redrawing the Boundary Lines for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?, 31 CORNERSTONE 2 (2010). with Marshall Hartman.
- Police Practices and the Bill of Rights, in The Bill of Rights in Modern America, 2nd Ed. Indiana University Press (With M. Belknap).
- The Presumption of Guilt: Systemic Factors that Contribute to the Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in California, 45 Cal. W. L. Rev. 263 (2009)
- "Strip Searches, Lab Reports and Police-Initiated Interrogation of Your Client after Appointment, 31 CORNERSTONE 6 (2009)
- "Supreme Court Watch: A Fourth Amendment Trilogy," 31 NLADA Cornerstone 6 (2009).
- Systemic Factors Affecting the Quality of Criminal Defense Representation: Preliminary Report to the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice (2007)
- "The Role of Public Institutions and Legal Culture: The Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea," Symposium on Legal Reform, 35 California Western International Law Journal 258 (2005).
- Maintaining the Rule of Law, September/October San Diego Lawyer 29 (2004)
- "The Impact of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions on Illinois Law," in Defending Illinois Criminal Cases (2003) (with M. Hartman and Hon S. Singer).
- "Racial Disparity in Narcotics Search Warrants," 6 Journal of Gender, Race & Justice 193 (2002).
- "Protecting Human Rights in an Age of Anxiety: A New Approach," 29 Human Rights 11 (2002)
- Searching for Narcotics IN San Diego, 36 California Western Law Review 221 (2000)(with Charles T. Samarkos).
- Requiem for Miranda: The Rehnquist Court's Voluntariness Doctrine in Historical Perspective, 67 Washington University Law Quarterly 59 (1989).
Searching for Narcotics
The Presumption of Guilt: Systemic Factors that Contribute to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in California
225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101