Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
Areas of Expertise
B.A., Franklin and Marshall College
J.D., Brooklyn Law School
Professor Lisa Smith, an expert in criminal law and domestic violence law, has been a go to person in the media dialogue surrounding the NFL’s decision to indefinitely suspend former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice after a video emerged of him assaulting his then fiancée.
Professor Lisa Smith recently appeared on WNYC’s “Freakonomics Radio” to comment on “the perfect crime” – that is, driving a car and running over a pedestrian in New York, where convictions for such cases are rare.
Professor Lisa Smith was interviewed on the Ask Dr. Annie Abram show on BlogTalkRadio about providing legal help and support to women who have survived domestic abuse.
Professor Lisa Smith spoke to the Christian Science Monitor about the upcoming trial of Ariel Castro, who was charged with the kidnapping and rape of three women he allegedly held in his house in Cleveland for a decade.
Professor Lisa Smith recently spoke to the Christian Science Monitor about the developing role of digital devices and social media in the criminal justice system. She commented in particular about the ongoing case in Ohio, in which two teenage boys are accused of raping their female classmate. Due to the lack of physical evidence, evidence is based primarily on photos, text messages, and emails that were shared among the victim, accusers, and their classmates.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle recently profiled Professor Lisa Smith and the Law School’s Prosecutor’s Clinic for its pioneering work. Professor Smith spoke about how students learn in a clinical setting and described how the clinic is focusing on community prosecution, specifically in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park.
Professor Lisa Smith and 15 Brooklyn Law School students teamed up with pediatricians from the Maimonides Pediatric Residency Program to simulate a child abuse case that demonstrated proper medical and legal procedures.
In light of the school sex abuse scandal in Los Angeles, legal experts, child protection organizations, and concerned parents are questioning who to blame. In a statement to the Christian Science Monitor, Professor Lisa Smith said that regardless of who the courts determine are financially liable, society already expects the schools to be responsible.
In light of recent child sex abuse scandals about the former coaches at Pennsylvania State University and Syracuse University, Professor Lisa Smith, an expert in domestic violence and sex crimes, spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the importance of reporting abuse. "There are many groups addressing this issue," she said, "But the problem of adults failing to report when they know abuse is occurring is unfortunately something we still see all the time, and very much a part of what happened at both Penn State and Syracuse."
Professor Lisa Smith's definition of stalking was referenced in an Internet Evolution article that explored potential remedies for cyberstalking. Professor Smith separates stalking into three categories, including that which happens online: "The last category is a hybrid – parties who get to know each other online, have never actually met, and the stalker insists on pursuing this online relationship."
In light of a Los Angeles report that in 2010 the city had its lowest homicide rate in 40 years, the Christian Science Monitor explored how several major cities in the United States are announcing a significant progress against crime across the board. Professor Lisa Smith spoke to the magazine: "It is instructive to look at the individual precincts and compare their year-to-year homicides. How many of those homicides involved strangers and how many are interpersonal disputes? How many homicides are solved versus unsolved?"
A precedent-setting case is unfolding where an Ohio man is accused of trying to force his girlfriend at gunpoint to have an abortion. While he will likely be charged with attempted murder of his girlfriend, legal experts are asking, will he also be charged with attempted murder of her unborn child? Professor Lisa Smith spoke to the AP on the case, saying, "It would be highly unlikely that anyone could reasonably think there would be a completed act here, as he would have had to convince someone at the clinic to then complete the abortion."
Professor Lisa Smith, an expert in domestic violence and criminal law, spoke to The Chief Leader on the case of Sean Bell, a 23-year-old man who was wrongfully shot and killed by NYPD officers the day before his wedding in 2006. Last week, the city decided to settle the civil case, awarding Bell's family $7.15 million, instead of bringing the police officers to trial. Professor Smith explained why the city chose to settle, even though the defendants were acquitted in criminal court. "The standard for conviction in a criminal case is guilty beyond reasonable doubt," she told The Chief Leader, "while in civil cases it is the preponderance of evidence, a much, much, much lower standard."
An alarming rise in attacks against witnesses to crimes is troubling law enforcement nationwide. Despite a declining murder rate, more and more people are becoming victims of intimidation and assault, sometimes ending in death. "Keeping a 'Snitch' from Being Scratched," in the December 2008 issue of the ABA Journal, explores solutions state legal systems have begun to create to protect witnesses and their families. The piece quoted Professor Lisa Smith, an expert on domestic violence. "Even though we have [witness intimidation] statutes, there may be a lot more that needs to be done," she says. "A mentality has started to seep into the neighborhood where ordinary, upstanding people who would come forward because a crime occurred are now being told they are snitches."