- Professor of Law
- Director, Center for Criminal Justice
- Class of 1957 Research Professor of Law
Rachel Harmon is a leading scholar on policing and the laws that regulate police behavior. Her new casebook, “The Law of the Police” (2021), is the first resource for students and others seeking to understand and evaluate how American law governs police interactions with the public. Her scholarship on policing has appeared in the New York University, Michigan and Stanford law reviews, among others.
At UVA Law, she directs the Center for Criminal Justice, and teaches in the areas of criminal law and procedure, policing and civil rights. She is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an associate reporter for ALI’s project on Principles of the Law of Policing. She advises nonprofits and government actors on issues of policing and the law, and in the fall of 2017, served as a law enforcement expert for the “Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
Harmon moved into academia in 2006 after spending eight years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. At the Civil Rights Division, Harmon investigated and prosecuted civil rights crimes nationwide, including hate crimes and cases of excessive force and sexual violence by police officers and other government officials. Harmon attended Yale Law School after receiving two master’s degrees with distinction from the London School of Economics as a British Marshall Scholar. 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 School1996
- M.Sc.London School of Economics1993
- M.Sc.London School of Economics1992
- B.S.Massachusetts Institute of Technology1990
“Proactive Policing and the Legacy of Terry” (with Andrew Manns), 15 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 49 (2017).
“Evaluating and Improving Structural Reform in Police Departments,” 16 Criminology & Pub. Pol’y 617 (2017).
“Legal Remedies for Police Misconduct,” in Erik Luna, ed., 2 Reforming Criminal Justice: Policing 27 (Academy for Justice, 2017).
"Reconsidering Criminal Procedure: Teaching the Law of the Police," 60 St. Louis U. L. J. 391 (2016).
"Legal Control of the Police," in 6 Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice 2898 (Gerben Bruinsma & David Weisburd eds., 2014).
"Promoting Civil Rights Through Proactive Policing Reform," 62 Stan. L. Rev. 1 (2009).
The Supreme Court and Criminal Law