Pamela R. Metzger

Professor Pam Metzger

Full-time faculty

Director of the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center and Professor of Law


Pamela Metzger is the inaugural Director of the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center. She comes to SMU from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, where she has taught since 2001.
Professor Metzger received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.  A nationally recognized Sixth Amendment and ethics scholar, Professor Metzger’s scholarship combines theory and practice in seeking improvements in criminal justice.  Most recently she has explored how a data-driven systems approach to high-risk practices can improve the implementation of public defense services.

She captured a national spotlight for her round-the-clock work to help 8,000 indigent defendants left incarcerated without legal representation after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. She was interviewed recently on 60 Minutes, in a segment titled “Overburdened NOLA public defenders say innocents went to prison because they lacked resources and time to defend them properly.”
Professor Metzger’s work has appeared in publications such as the Yale Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, Southern California Law Review and Northwestern University Law Review, and has been widely cited by leading authorities and by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Professor Metzger will oversee the new Deason Center’s independent research and its development of educational opportunities focused on issues ranging from wrongful convictions to over-incarceration. This fall, Professor Metzger will also teach Professional Responsibility.

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law


B.A., Dartmouth College
J.D.,  cum laude, New York University School of Law


Professional Responsibility




Punished Without Process (work-in-progress)

Confrontation as a Rule of Production, 24 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal __
(2016) (forthcoming)

Defending Data, 88 Southern California Law Review 1057 (2015) (co-authored with Andrew Ferguson) (Selected for plenary presentation at 2013 ABA/AALS Conference on Criminal Justice)

Me and Mr. Jones: A Systems Approach to an Indigent Defense Catastrophe, 78 Albany Law
1261 (2015) (invited paper)

Fear of Adversariness: Using Gideon to Restrict Defendants’ Invocation of Adversary Procedures, 122 Yale Law Journal 2550 (2013) (invited paper)

Confrontation Control, 45 Texas Tech Law Review 83 (2012) (invited paper)

Doing Katrina Time, 81 Tulane Law Review 1175 (2007)

Cheating the Constitution, 59 Vanderbilt Law Review 475 (2006)

Beyond the Bright Line: A Contemporary Right To Counsel Doctrine, 97 Northwestern University Law Review 1635 (2003)

Trustees’ Confidential Report Concerning Health Care Fraud: Investigation, Detection
and Solutions (Report of internal investigation) (1999)

AIDS and the Federal Criminal Defendant, THE DEFENDER, Vol. XIII, No. 1, (1993)

A Beginner’s Guide To Feminist Theory, Senior Fellowship project, Dartmouth College
(1987) (chapters of this work are used to teach Women’s Studies courses at Dartmouth).


Ethics Panel
Federal Bar Association Annual Conference on Immigration
New Orleans, LA (May 2016)

NLADA Defender Research Consortium
Baltimore, MD (December 2015)

Measuring Quality in Prosecution
University of Pennsylvania Law School,
Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice (November 2015)

Confrontation as a Rule of Production
Vanderbilt Law School Scholarship Roundtable
Nashville, TN (November 2015)

Measuring Quality in the Delivery of Indigent Defense Services
American Society of Criminology
Washington, DC (November 2015)

Ethical Issues in Corporate Practice
Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
(September 2015)

Data-Driven Indigent Defense
Washington Defender Association
(April 2015)

Defining Quality in Indigent Defense
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice
(March 2015)

Defending Data
National Institute of Justice’s Working Group on Indigent Defense
(March 2015) (by invitation)

Defending Data (plenary presentation)
AALS Section on Criminal Justice and
ABA Section on Criminal Justice for Legal Educators, Judges, Practitioners, and Prosecutors
San Diego, CA (2013)

Fear of Adversariness
Yale Law Review Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright
(2013) (by invitation)

Fifty Years of Gideon in New Orleans
Symposium on Indigent Defense
New Orleans, LA (2013)