Tamar Birckhead is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill where she teaches the Juvenile Justice Clinic, the Criminal Lawyering
Process, and Juvenile Courts and Delinquency. Her research interests focus on issues
related to juvenile justice policy and reform, criminal law and procedure, and indigent
criminal defense. 

Professor Birckhead's scholarly writing appears in the Buffalo Law Review, North
Carolina Law Review, Rutgers Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review, and Washington
University Law Review, among other law journals. She also regularly writes commentary,
which has been published in several newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, and she
is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the Juvenile Justice Information
Exchange. In addition, she recently launched a legal blog, Juvenile Justice Blog. She has
presented her work at Harvard Law School, George Washington Law School, Washington &
Lee Law School, Brooklyn Law School, and the Law & Society Association, among other
venues. Professor Birckhead is co-editing the third edition of a casebook, Children,
Parents, and the Law, with Professor Leslie J. Harris. She is also an adjunct professor
at Duke Law School where she teaches a course on juvenile courts and delinquency during
the spring semester. 

Professor Birckhead's article on raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in
North Carolina has received significant attention at both the state and national levels.
She has published several opinion pieces on the subject of raising the age and has been
interviewed by radio and print reporters across the state on her findings. She has
testified before the N.C. Governor's Crime Commission on the history of raising the
age of juvenile court jurisdiction, and Action for Children North Carolina, the
state's premier child advocacy organization, has issued white papers on her
research. In addition, The Campaign for Youth Justice, a national organization dedicated
to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the
adult criminal justice system, highlighted Professor Birckhead's research in their
newsletter and interviewed her for their weekly radio program, Juvenile Justice Matters. 

Prior to joining the UNC School of Law faculty in 2004, Professor Birckhead taught at
Suffolk University Law School in the Suffolk Defenders Program, a year-long criminal
defense clinic. After clerking for the late and the Honorable Edith Fine in the
Massachusetts Appeals Court, she practiced for ten years as a public defender,
representing indigent criminal defendants in the Massachusetts trial and appellate courts
as a staff attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services and in federal
district court in Boston as an Assistant Federal Public Defender. Professor Birckhead has
defended clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, from violent felony offenses in
state court to acts of terrorism in federal court. Among her clients was Richard Reid,
the attempted "Shoe Bomber" prosecuted in the First Circuit under the U.S.A.
Patriot Act. 

Licensed to practice in North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts, Professor Birckhead
has been a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education programs across the United
States as well as a faculty member at the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School.
She is a member of both the board and the advisory committee of the Campaign for the Fair
Sentencing of Youth. She is President of the Board for the North Carolina Center on
Actual Innocence and has been appointed to the Executive Council of the Juvenile Justice
and Children's Rights Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is also a
member of the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Juvenile Defender as well as a member
of the Criminal Defense Section and the Juvenile Defender Section of the North Carolina
Academy of Trial Lawyers. Professor Birckhead received her B.A. degree in English
Literature with Honors from Yale University and her J.D. with Honors from Harvard Law
School, where she served as Recent Developments Editor of The Harvard Women's Law
Journal. 

Criminal Law and Procedure

PDF

Closing the Widening Net: The Rights of Juveniles at Intake, Texas Tech Law Review (2013)

Should juveniles have more, fewer, the same or different procedural rights than are accorded to...

 

PDF

Delinquent by Reason of Poverty, Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y (2012)

This Article, written for the 12th Annual Access to Equal Justice Colloquium, explores the disproportionate...

 

PDF

Good Guys, Bad Guys -- and Miranda, Los Angeles Times (2011)

This op-ed argues that we as a society must get beyond our single-minded focus on...

 

PDF

Juvenile Justice Reform 2.0, Journal of Law & Policy (2011)

Before the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court’s...

 

PDF

The "Youngest Profession": Consent, Autonomy, and Prostituted Children, Washington University Law Review (2011)

Although precise estimates do not exist, the data suggests that the number of children believed...

 

Juveniles

PDF

Closing the Widening Net: The Rights of Juveniles at Intake, Texas Tech Law Review (2013)

Should juveniles have more, fewer, the same or different procedural rights than are accorded to...

 

PDF

Delinquent by Reason of Poverty, Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y (2012)

This Article, written for the 12th Annual Access to Equal Justice Colloquium, explores the disproportionate...

 

PDF

Good Guys, Bad Guys -- and Miranda, Los Angeles Times (2011)

This op-ed argues that we as a society must get beyond our single-minded focus on...

 

PDF

All Teens Deserve a Chance to Succeed, Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) (2011)

This op-ed argues that the failure to raise the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction...

 

PDF

Juvenile Justice Reform 2.0, Journal of Law & Policy (2011)

Before the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court’s...

 

Constitutional Law

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Closing the Widening Net: The Rights of Juveniles at Intake, Texas Tech Law Review (2013)

Should juveniles have more, fewer, the same or different procedural rights than are accorded to...

 

PDF

A Missed Chance for Justice in Court, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2011)

This op-ed argues that Osama bin Laden should have been captured and tried in a...

 

PDF

Juvenile Justice Reform 2.0, Journal of Law & Policy (2011)

Before the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court’s...

 

PDF

When Juveniles Face Questioning, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2010)

This op-ed argues that the age of a suspect should be considered when evaluating whether...

 

PDF

Graham v. Florida: Justice Kennedy's Vision of Childhood and the Role of Judges, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy (2010)

This short essay examines Graham v. Florida, the United States Supreme Court decision holding that...

 

Legal History

PDF

Delinquent by Reason of Poverty, Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y (2012)

This Article, written for the 12th Annual Access to Equal Justice Colloquium, explores the disproportionate...

 

PDF

Juvenile Justice Reform 2.0, Journal of Law & Policy (2011)

Before the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court’s...

 

PDF

North Carolina, Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, and the Resistance to Reform, North Carolina Law Review (2008)

North Carolina is the only state in the United States that treats all sixteen- and...

 

Criminal defense

PDF

A Missed Chance for Justice in Court, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2011)

This op-ed argues that Osama bin Laden should have been captured and tried in a...

 

PDF

When Juveniles Face Questioning, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2010)

This op-ed argues that the age of a suspect should be considered when evaluating whether...

 

PDF

Culture Clash: The Challenge of Lawyering Across Difference in Juvenile Court, Rutgers Law Review (2010)

In analyzing the causes of wrongful convictions of youth in juvenile court, the role of...

 

PDF

The Conviction of Lynne Stewart and the Uncertain Future of the Right to Defend, American Criminal Law Review (2006)

At the heart of the attorney-client relationship lies the ability to communicate freely and without...

 

PDF

Detention Hearings (with Wendy S. Wayne), Massachusetts District Court Criminal Defense Manual (2000)
 

Family law, doctor-patient confidentiality, privacy, law and literature

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To Bedlam and Part Way Back: Anne Sexton, Her Therapy Tapes, and the Meaning of Privacy, UCLA Women's Law Journal (1992)

The poet Anne Sexton committed suicide in October, 1974, at the age of forty-five. Three...

 

Social science research

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Toward a Theory of Procedural Justice for Juveniles, Buffalo Law Review (2009)

Courts and legislatures have long been reluctant to make use of the data, findings, and...

 

Juvenile defense practice

PDF

Closing the Widening Net: The Rights of Juveniles at Intake, Texas Tech Law Review (2013)

Should juveniles have more, fewer, the same or different procedural rights than are accorded to...

 

PDF

When Juveniles Face Questioning, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2010)

This op-ed argues that the age of a suspect should be considered when evaluating whether...

 

PDF

Culture Clash: The Challenge of Lawyering Across Difference in Juvenile Court, Rutgers Law Review (2010)

In analyzing the causes of wrongful convictions of youth in juvenile court, the role of...

 

PDF

The Right Thing for Juveniles, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2008)

This op-ed argues that the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in North Carolina should...

 

Op-Eds

Link

Huffington Post Commentary, The Huffington Post (2012)

Link to my author page at the Huffington Post where I have published commentary in...

 

Link

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange Commentary, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (2012)

Link to my author page for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, the only publication covering juvenile...

 

PDF

A Missed Chance for Justice in Court, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (2011)

This op-ed argues that Osama bin Laden should have been captured and tried in a...

 

PDF

Good Guys, Bad Guys -- and Miranda, Los Angeles Times (2011)

This op-ed argues that we as a society must get beyond our single-minded focus on...

 

PDF

All Teens Deserve a Chance to Succeed, Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) (2011)

This op-ed argues that the failure to raise the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction...