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About David Aaronson

David E. Aaronson is Professor of Law and B. J. Tennery Scholar. He is Director of WCL’s nationally recognized Trial Advocacy Program and WCL’s Advocacy LL.M Program. His areas of specialization include: Criminal and Civil Trial Advocacy, Evidence, and Criminal Law and Procedure. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he was selected to be a Prettyman Fellow in the Georgetown University Graduate Law Center's Legal Internship Program, the first LLM program in the United States focusing on trial advocacy skills. He represented indigent persons accused of crime in Federal and local courts and served as a clinical instructor. Prior to joining the Washington College of Law faculty, he practiced civil and criminal law with a private law firm. As a WCL professor, he served as Interim Director of WCL’s Clinical Programs and Director of the Maryland Criminal Justice Clinic, creating the prosecutor component. He was a co-principal investigator of two U.S. Department of Justice funded national criminal justice studies, including a path-breaking study of “Alternatives to Conventional Criminal Adjudication,” and “Decriminalization of Public Drunkenness Laws.”
Professor Aaronson is a past chair of the Maryland State Bar Association's Section of Criminal Law and Practice and, currently, is an ex officio member. He has served on the executive committee of the Association of American Law School’s Criminal Justice Section. He is a member, former co-chair and chair of the ABA's Criminal Justice Section's Rules of Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Police Practices Committee. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation. He received the Robert C. Heeney Award in 1999 (presented “to those individuals exemplifying the highest professional standards and achievement in the field of criminal law during their distinguished careers”) from the Maryland State Bar Association, Section of Criminal Law and Practice. In 2011, he received WCL’s Pauline Ruyle Moore Scholar Award in recognition of his scholarly work. He has been twice honored as "Outstanding Teacher" and as American University Scholar/Teacher of the Year. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Law.
Professor Aaronson has authored or co-authored eight books and monographs and numerous articles on topics such as crime victims’ rights and remedies, criminal jury instructions, cross-racial eye witness identification, the insanity defense, the death penalty, and police discretion and public policy. He authored Maryland Criminal Jury Instructions and Commentary (MCJIC) in 1975, Maryland’s first book of criminal pattern jury instructions. The second edition was published in 1988. The two volume third edition, was published in 2009 and supplemented annually. Starting with the 2014-2015 edition, MCJIC is published annually in a multi-volume soft bound set. See This work includes more than 270 jury instructions and detailed commentary on Maryland criminal law, aspects of criminal procedure and evidence, and applicable U.S. Supreme Court decisions. It has been in cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.


Present B.J. Tennery Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law

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Contact Information

American University Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Room Y332
Washington, D.C. 20016
Phone: 202-274-4201


Articles (5)

Books (2)

Research Works (4)

Congressional and Other Testimony (2)