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Criminal Justice Faculty Spotlight: James Acker, Distinguished Teaching Professor

James Acker is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the criminal justice program at the University at Albany. His research interests include the integration of social science into law, and legal doctrine relating to criminal procedure, criminal law, juvenile justice, miscarriages of justice, and capital punishment. Professor Acker began his career as a lawyer with a JD from the Duke University School of Law. After four years in private practice, he returned to school to earn an MA and a PhD in criminal justice from the University at Albany. He became a University faculty member in 1988.

Professor Acker has written or contributed to many books that can be found in the Libraries’ collection. Recent books include:

Criminal Law by David C. Brody and James R. Acker, 2nd edition, Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2010.
Dewey Library / KF 9219 B73 2001

“Scrutinizing the Death Penalty: State Death Penalty Study Commissions and Their Recommendations” in The Death Penalty Today edited by Robert M. Bohm, New York: CRC Press, 2008, pages 29-59.
Dewey Library / KF 9227 C2 D43 2008

The Future of America’s Death Penalty: An Agenda for the Next Generation of Capital Punishment Research edited by Charles S. Lanier, William J. Bowers and James R. Acker, Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2009.
Dewey Library / KF 9227 C2 F885 2008

“Capital Punishment,” in Governing America: Major Decisions of Federal, State, and Local Governments from 1789 to the Present edited by Paul J. Quirk & William Cunion, New York: Facts on File, 2011, pages 829-839.
Dewey Library / Reference: JK 468 P64 Q55 2011

“Hearing the Victim’s Voice Amidst the Cry for Capital Punishment,” in Handbook of Restorative Justice: A Global Perspective edited by Dennis Sullivan & Larry Tifft, Taylor and Francis, 2006, pages 246-260.
Dewey Library / HV 8688 H36 2006

Scottsboro and Its Legacy: The Cases That Challenged American Legal and Social Justice by James R. Acker, Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 2008.
Dewey Library / KF 224 S34 A25 2008

Wounds That Do Not Bind: Victim-Based Perspectives on the Death Penalty edited by James R. Acker & David R. Karp, Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2006.
Dewey Library / HV 8694 W68 2006

Wrongful Conviction: Law, Science, and Policy
by James R. Acker & Allison D. Redlich, Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2011.
Dewey Library / KF 9756 A25 2011

Professor Acker has also published many articles in journals you can find in the Libraries’ databases. Some of the most recent include:

“Firmament or Folly? Protecting the Innocent, Promoting Capital Punishment, and the Paradoxes of Reconciliation” by James R. Acker and Rose Bellandi, Justice Quarterly: JQ, 29.2 (2012), 287-307.

“Miscarriages of Justice: ‘Better that Ten Guilty Persons Escape than that One Innocent Suffer’: Appraising the Blackstone Ration in 2011” by James R. Acker, foreword, Albany Law Review, 74.3 (2011), 1067-1070.

“’Than That One Innocent Suffer’: Evaluating State Safeguards Against Wrongful Convictions” by Robert J. Norris, Catherine L. Bonventre, Allison D. Redlich and James R. Acker, Albany Law Review, 74.3 (2011), 1301-1361.

“Protecting the Innocent in New York: Moving Beyond Changing Only Their Names” by James R. Acker and Catherine L. Bonventre, Albany Law Review, 73.4 (2010), 1245-1356.

“Wrongful Convictions Then and Now: Lessons to Be Learned” by James R. Acker, Albany Law Review, 73.4 (2010), 1207-1211.

“The Death Penalty Loses Its Mind: An Interview with James Acker” by Dennis Sullivan, Contemporary Justice Review 13.4 (2010), 477-486.

“The Power to be Lenient: Examining New York Governors’ Capital Case Clemency Decisions” by Talia Harmon, James R. Acker and Craig Rivera, Justice Quarterly 27.5 (2010), 742-764.

“Merciful Justice: Lessons from Fifty Years of New York Death Penalty Commutations” by James R. Acker, Talia Harmon and Craig Rivera, Criminal Justice Review 35.2 (2010), 183-199.

“Actual Innocence: Is Death Different?” by James R. Acker, Behavioral Sciences and Law 27.3 (2009), 297-311.

“’The Time . . . Has Surely Arrived’: Justice Stevens and the Death Penalty” by James R. Acker, Contemporary Justice Review 13.3 (2008), 287-289.

“Be Careful What You Ask For: Lessons from New York’s Recent Experience with Capital Punishment” by James R. Acker, Vermont Law Review 32.4 (2008), 683-763.

“Impose an Immediate Moratorium on Executions” by James R. Acker, Criminology & Public Policy 6.4 (2007), 641-650.

“Accommodation, Sponsorship and Religious Activities in Prison” by Hans Toch and James R. Acker, Criminal Law Bulletin 42.3 (2006), 261-288.

For assistance researching these and other criminal justice topics, contact subject specialist Dick Irving at rirving@albany.edu or 442-3698.

Blog post created by Cary Gouldin