Josephine Ross

Professor of Law

J.D., Boston University School of Law
B.A., Oberlin College


Professor Ross currently teaches Criminal Procedure, Evidence, a Criminal Defense Externship, and a seminar where students explore current topics in policing and punishment. After joining the faculty in 2005, she co-taught the Criminal Justice Clinic for a decade, supervising students who represented clients charged with misdemeanors in D.C. Superior Court. Professor Ross then launched a legislative clinic where students worked with the Justice Roundtable and ACLU on sentencing reform and other projects. In the summer of 2013, she taught International Criminal Law at the University of the Western Cape through the Howard’s South Africa Program. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans in 2006, she began planning a trip to that city for students to engage in legal work, that became an annual Alternative Spring Break in New Orleans. Community groups occasionally invite Professor Ross and her students to present “Know Your Rights” trainings and she enjoys working with Howard law student volunteers in these endeavors.

Although Professor Ross has written on an array of criminal justice topics, her recent work focuses on policing. She is currently writing a book for Cambridge University Press that provides a feminist critique of stop & frisk. Her book builds on earlier publications including “Blaming the Victim: ‘Consent’ Within the Fourth Amendment and Rape Law,” the lead article in the Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice. Her most recent article, “What the #MeToo Campaign Teaches About Stop & Frisk,” is available on SSRN.

She has written seventeen law review articles and given dozens of talks across the country and abroad. Before gay marriage was recognized in any U.S. state, Professor Ross published some of the first law review articles on the subject, helping to lay the philosophical groundwork for change.

Shortly after graduating law school, Prof. Ross accepted a job with the public defender’s office in Massachusetts, where she handled serious felony cases and supervised other lawyers. She began her academic career at Boston College Law School and she’s visited at Michigan State University.

Selected Publications

Josephine Ross’s Scholarly Papers-SSRN 

What the #MeToo Campaign Teaches About Stop & Frisk, Idaho Law Review (forthcoming 2018). 

Warning: Stop and Frisk May Be Hazardous To Your Health, 25 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 689 (2016). 

Cops on Trial: Did Fourth Amendment Case Law Help George Zimmerman’s Claim of Self-Defense?  40 Seattle Law Review 1 (2016). 

Can Social Science Defeat a Legal Fiction? Challenging Unlawful Police Stops Under the Fourth Amendment, 18 Washington & Lee Journal of Civil rights and Social Justice 315 (2012). 

Blaming The Victim: ‘Consent’ Within The Fourth Amendment And Rape Law, 26 Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice 1 (2010) 

After Crawford Double-Speak: “Testimony” Does Not Mean Testimony And “Witness” Does Not Mean Witness, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology (2006). 

 “He Looks Guilty”: Reforming Good Character Evidence to Undercut the Presumption Of Guilt, 65 Pittsburgh Law Review 227 (2004). 

The Sexualization Of Difference: A Comparison of Mixed-Race And Same-Gender Marriage, 37 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 255 (2002) 

Autonomy Versus A Client’s Best Interest: The Defense Lawyer’s Dilemma When Mentally Ill Clients Seek to Control Their Defense, 35 American Criminal Law Review 1343 (1998).