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Professor of Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure, New York University

James Jacobs holds a JD (1973) and a PhD in sociology (1975) from the University of Chicago. He holds the Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Law chair at NYU School of Law. He is the author of "Can Gun Control Work?" and many scholarly articles on the regulation of firearms. He teaches a law school seminar on “The Regulation of Weaponry in a democratic Society.”

Before joining the NYU Law faculty in 1982, he was a member of the Cornell Law School faculty. He teaches first-year criminal law and upper-year electives on criminal procedure, federal criminal law, and juvenile justice, as well as various specialized seminars, e.g. this year on asset forfeiture and money laundering.

Jacobs has published 16 books and more than 100 articles. His first book, Stateville: The Penitentiary in Mass Society (1977), regarded as a penological classic, deals with the impact of gangs, public employee unionism, prisoners’ rights litigation, and other post–World War II phenomena on the social organization of the American prison.

Five of his books, including most recently Breaking the Devil’s Pact: The Battle to Free the Teamsters from the Mob (2011), document the government’s long-term campaign to eradicate Italian-American organized crime. Among his books on other criminal justice topics are Can Gun Control Work? (2004); Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics (2000); The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity (1996); and Drunk Driving: An American Dilemma (1992). His most recent book, The Eternal Criminal Record (2015), was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship.


  • –present
    Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University