Pamela R. Metzger
Professor Metzger came to SMU in 2017 from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, where she taught for 16 years. From 2001 to 2008 she directed Tulane’s Criminal Litigation Clinic, becoming a leading voice in reforming the criminal justice system in Louisiana. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, she fought tirelessly to help 8,000 indigent defendants left incarcerated without legal representation.
Professor Metzger oversees the Deason Center’s independent research on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, criminal legal systems in small, tribal, and rural (STAR) communities, prosecutorial discretion, and early-stage criminal procedure. She has helped secure millions of dollars in funding for the Deason Center to conduct innovative research and amplify compelling stories that promote criminal legal reform.
Professor Metzger’s work has appeared in publications such as the Yale Law Journal, George Washington Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Southern California Law Review, and has been cited by leading authorities and by the United States Supreme Court.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, Professor Metzger served as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and worked in private criminal practice in New York City. She was also a visiting law professor at Washington and Lee University, where she directed the Alderson Legal Clinic for Women in Prison.
Areas of Expertise
- Criminal Law
- Family Law
J.D., cum laude, New York University School of Law
Criminal Justice Policy Practicum (EL)
TRANSFORMING CRIMINAL JUSTICE: AN EVIDENCE-BASED AGENDA FOR REFORM (NYU Press, Jon B. Gould and Pamela R. Metzger eds. 2022)
CARRIE MAE WEEMS AND THE LOUISIANA PROJECT: LEGISLATING AND LITIGATING WHITENESS IN LOUISIANA (Exhibit Catalogue, Woldenberg Art Gallery, 2004)
Constitutional Outcomes as Measure of Quality in Indigent Defense Systems (in progress)
An Empirical Comparison of Outcomes in Vertical and Horizontal Public Defender Structures (research-in-progress with the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice; funded by The Laura and John Arnold Foundation)
Me and Mr. Jones: A Systems Approach to an Indigent Defense Catastrophe, 78 Albany Law Review 1261 (2015)
SSRN | SMU Repository
Fear of Adversariness: Using Gideon to Restrict Defendants’ Invocation of Adversary Procedures, 122 Yale Law Journal 2550 (2013)
SSRN | SMU Repository
How to Solve the Initial Appearance Crisis, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (May 2023) (with Malia N. Brink and Jiacheng Yu) (Report)
Fewer, Not Fairer, The DALLAS Project, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (November 2021) (with Victoria M. Smiegocki, et al.) (Report)
Budding Change: Marijuana Prosecution Policies and Police Practices in Dallas County, 2019, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (July 2021) (with Victoria M. Smiegocki, et al.) (Report)
The ABCs of Racial Disparity: Enforcement of Low-Level Drug Crimes in Dallas County in 2018, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (July 2021) (with Kristin Meeks, et al.) (Report)
The Rural Texas Sheriff: A Study of Law Enforcement in Texas’s Rural Places Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (April 2021) (with Andrew L.B. Davies et al.) (Report)
Greening the Desert: Strategies and Innovations to Recruit, Train, and Retain Criminal Law Practitioners for STAR Communities, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center (September 2020) (with Kristin Meeks, et al.) (Report)
What This Law Prof Has Learned About Rural Justice, ABA Journal Online (February 2020)
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)
The Marshall Project, quoted in Mississippi Says Poor Defendants Must Always Have a Lawyer. Few Courts Are Ready to Deliver (July 2023)
USA Today, Op-ed, Rural Justice Systems Low on Pretrial Resources Leave Some to Languish, Die (December 2019)
Dallas Morning News, Op-ed, Why Rural Americans Struggle for Equal Justice (November 2019)
The Hill, Op-ed, Equal Justice Depends on Properly Funding Public Defenders (May 2019)