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Samuel R. Gross 

Samuel R. Gross joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 1987.


Samuel R. Gross, the Thomas and Mabel Long Professor of Law, graduated from Columbia College in 1968 and earned a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973. He was a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco for several years, and worked as an attorney with the United Farm Workers Union in California and the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Committee in Nebraska and South Dakota. As a cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. in New York and the National Jury Project in Oakland, California, he litigated a series of test cases on jury selection in capital trials and worked on the issue of racial discrimination in the use of the death penalty. He was a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and came to the University of Michigan from the Stanford Law School faculty. Professor Gross teaches evidence, criminal procedure, and courses on the use of the social sciences in law. His published work focuses on the death penalty, false convictions, racial profiling, eyewitness identification, the use of expert witnesses, and the relationship between pretrial bargaining and trial verdicts.

On Thursday, July 14, 2005, Bob Herbert, editorial columnist for The New York Times, turned the spotlight of his column on the case of Larry Griffin, who was executed in Missouri 1995 for a murder that took place in St. Louis in 1980. In his column titled, "Convicted, Executed, Not Guilty," Herbert explains the problems with the case, and the unusual fact that a detailed reinvestigation was conducted years after execution. The investigation was sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and led by University of Michigan Law School Professor Samuel R. Gross. New facts were uncovered that now prove that Larry Griffin was innocent of that murder. As a result, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, the chief prosecutor for the jurisdiction in which the underlying crime took place, took the unprecedented step of reopening the official investigation of the case 10 years after Mr. Griffin’s execution and 25 years after the original crime.

Please visit for a complete copy of the report by Professor Gross that describes the facts of the Griffin case and the findings of the new investigation.

Professor Gross has long been interested in false convictions and exonerations. In 2005 he issued a comprehensive study on the topic, Exonerations in the United States, 1989 through 2003, which was published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
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Class Notes

Oral History

Law Quadrangle Notes Articles

*    "Elizabeth Long's gift endows three new faculty chairs," 41 L. Quadrangle Notes 37-39 (Summer, 1998).

*    "Samuel Gross," 32 L. Quadrangle Notes 3-4 (Winter, 1988).


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