Introduction: Appreciating Bill Stuntz

Document Type



The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2012).


The past several decades have seen a renaissance in criminal procedure as a cutting edge discipline, and as one inseparably linked to substantive criminal law. The renaissance can be traced in no small part to the work of a single scholar: William Stuntz. This essay is the introductory chapter to The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2012), which brings together twelve leading American criminal justice scholars whose own writings have been profoundly influenced by Stuntz and his work. After briefly chronicling the arc of Stuntz’s career, the essay provides a detailed overview of his criminal justice scholarship, from his first major articles and his classic work on the political economy of criminal law to The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, the magisterial, posthumous book that brings together many of the themes that preoccupied his scholarly life. The essay also surveys Stuntz’s writings on Christianity and about his physical pain and the cancer that ultimately killed him. The essay concludes by describing each of the book’s chapters, including a brief epilogue by Stuntz himself.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Testimonial, tribute, scholarship, the life and work of Professor William J. Stuntz, criminal procedure, criminal law and politics, equal protection, policing, racial discrimination