Alexandra Natapoff

Chancellor's Professor of Law
Joint Appointment in Criminology, Law & Society
Co-Director, Center in Law, Society and Culture
Alexandra Natapoff


Criminal law and procedure, misdemeanors, informants, public defense, law and inequality


Professor Natapoff’s scholarship has won numerous awards, including a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2013 Law and Society Association Article Prize, and two Outstanding Scholarship Awards from the AALS Criminal Justice Section. Her new book, Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal (Basic Books, 2018), describes the powerful influence that misdemeanors exert over the entire U.S. criminal system. It was selected by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2018. 

Professor Natapoff is also author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice (NYU Press) which won the ABA Silver Gavel Award Honorable Mention for Books; her original work on criminal informants has made her a nationally-recognized expert.  Professor Natapoff is a member of the American Law Institute; in 2015 she was appointed as an Adviser to the ALI Policing Project. She has helped draft legislation at both the state and federal levels and is quoted frequently by major media outlets.

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Natapoff served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Baltimore, Maryland, and was the recipient of an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship. She clerked for the Honorable David S. Tatel, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, and for the Honorable Paul L. Friedman, U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C.

Current Courses:

Criminal Procedure

Prior Courses:

Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice Seminar, Evidence, Statutory Analysis

  • A Stop is Just a Stop: Terry’s Formalism, 15 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. (forthcoming 2017)
  • The New Criminal Justice Thinking (co-editor, with Sharon Dolovich) (14-essay collection) (NYU Press, 2017)
  • Negotiating Accuracy: DNA in the Age of Plea Bargaining, in Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent (editor, Daniel Medwed) (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • Misdemeanor Decriminalization, 68 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 1055 (2015)
  • Gideon’s Servants and the Criminalization of Poverty, 12 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 445 (2015)
  • Misdemeanors, 85 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1313 (2012)
  • Snitching:  Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice (NYU Press, 2009)
  • Underenforcement, 75 Fordham L. Rev. 1715 (2006)
  • Speechless: The Silencing of Criminal Defendants, 80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1449 (2005)
  • Jan. 13, 2020: 
    Speaker, Punishment Without Crime, Duke Center for Science and Justice, Durham, NC 
  • Sept. 20, 2019:
    Distinguished Speaker, The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • July 24, 2019:
    Speaker, Punishment Without Crime Book Talk, Women For: Orange County, Irvine, CA
  • July 17, 2019:
    Speaker, Lunch with League: Punishment Without Crime, League of Women Voters of Orange Coast, Irvine, CA
  • May 19, 2019:
    Keynote Speaker, Annual Conference of the Office of the Maryland Public Defender, Ocean City, MD
  • March 20, 2019:
    Speaker, Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal, Cleveland City Club, Cleveland, OH
  • March 19, 2019:
    Speaker, Friedman and Gilbert Criminal Justice Forum, Cleveland, OH 
  • March 12, 2019: 
    Speaker, UC Davis Law, Davis, CA
  • Feb. 26, 2019: 
    Speaker, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA
  • Feb. 25, 2019: 
    Speaker, “Punishment Without Crime,” Powell’s Bookstore, Portland, OR
  • Jan. 28, 2019:
    Speaker, Petty Crimes and Petty Laws: A Hard Look at the Broken Misdemeanor System, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY
  • Jan. 3, 2019:
    Speaker, Alexandra Natapoff - Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal — in conversation with Jonathan Capehart, Politics and Prose at The Wharf, Washington, DC
  • Feb. 16, 2018: 
    Presenter, Faculty Colloquium Series, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO
  • April 6-7, 2017
    Moderator, Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts, Hofstra University Law School, New York
  • March 16, 2017
    Panelist, The National Registry for Exonerations as a Resource for Social Change, Newkirk Center for Science & Society, U.C. Irvine
  • March 2017
    Testimony before the California Legislature, Assembly Committee on Public Safety, (AB 359 jailhouse informant compensation and disclosure reform)
  • Feb. 10, 2017
    Panelist and Moderator, Bridging the Gap: A Conference on Scholarship and Criminal Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
  • Jan. 5, 2017
    Commenter, ACS Junior Scholars Public Law Workshop, American Constitution Society, San Francisco
  • Sept. 9-10, 2016
    Panelist, Privatized Probation and Modern Debtor’s Prisons, Practicing Public Interest Law in the South Conference, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Aug. 24, 2016
    Keynote Speaker, Mississippi Public Defender Statewide Training on Misdemeanors, Biloxi, MS
  • June 28, 2016
    Testimony before the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission, Austin, TX
  • June 2016
    Keynote Speaker, Innocence Network Policy Conference, Kansas City, MO
  • June 9-10, 2016
    Speaker, AALS Workshop for New Law Teachers, Washington, D.C.
  • February 2016
    Panelist, 11th Annual Summit on Public Defense, ABA Midyear Meeting, San Diego, CA
  • Oct. 15, 2015
    Panelist, Elephants in the Courtroom: Examining Overlooked Issues in Wrongful Convictions, National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA