Rachel A. Harmon

  • F.D.G. Ribble Professor of Law

Rachel Harmon teaches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure and civil rights. Her scholarship focuses on policing and its regulation, and her work has appeared recently in the NYU, Michigan and Stanford law reviews, among others. She serves as associate reporter on the American Law Institute’s project on policing.

From 1998 to 2006, Harmon served as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice. After a brief stint at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, Harmon worked in the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, prosecuting hate crimes and official misconduct cases, many of which involved excessive force or sexual abuse by police officers. She left the Justice Department to join the law faculty as an associate professor of law in the fall of 2006.

Harmon received her law degree at Yale Law School, where she was articles editor for the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities. Before law school, as a British Marshall Scholar, she earned an M.Sc. in political theory and an M.Sc. in political sociology, both with distinction, from the London School of Economics. After law school, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Scholarship Profile: Promoting Policing at its Best (Virginia Journal 2012)


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • M.Sc.
    London School of Economics
  • M.Sc.
    London School of Economics
  • B.S.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Proactive Policing and the Legacy of Terry," Ohio St. J. Crim. L. ( forthcoming).

The Law of the Police (casebook in progress).

"Why Arrest?" 115 Mich. L. Rev. 307 (2016).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Reconsidering Criminal Procedure: Teaching the Law of the Police," 60 St. Louis U. L. J. 391 (2016). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Federal Programs and the Real Costs of Policing," 90 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 870 (2015).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Legal Control of the Police," in 6 Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice 2898 (Gerben Bruinsma & David Weisburd eds., 2014).

"Why Do We (Still) Lack Data on Policing?" 96 Marq. L. Rev. 1119 (2013) (symposium on the Wickersham Commission).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Limited Leverage: Federal Remedies and Policing Reform,” 32 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 33 (2012) (symposium on controlling police misconduct after the exclusionary rule). 
 | HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Problem of Policing," 110 Mich. L. Rev. 761 (2012) (awarded honorable mention in the Association of American Law Schools Scholarly Papers Competition, 2012).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Promoting Civil Rights Through Proactive Policing Reform," 62 Stan. L. Rev. 1 (2009).  
HeinOnline (PDF)

"When is Police Violence Justified?," 102 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1119 (2008).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

Current Courses

All Courses

Criminal Law
Criminal Investigation
The Supreme Court and Criminal Law
Police Misconduct


The State of Community Policing and the Future of Police Reform