Deborah A. Ramirez
Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director, Center for Law, Equity and Race
Harvard University, JD 1981
Professor Ramirez is a criminal justice expert. She teaches criminal justice for first-year students and advanced courses in criminal justice, race and reform. She also actively engages the student body in topics relating to criminal law and works on strategies and initiatives to reform the criminal justice system. Beyond this, she works extensively with Northeastern’s Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA).
Professor Ramirez frequently works with academia, law enforcement, politicians and community leaders to ensure police accountability. She has testified numerous times before the US House of Representatives and state legislatures about related issues, written about these issues for national media outlets, including The Boston Globe, and has been interviewed by ABC News, “Good Morning America,” and NPR, and quoted in The Washington Post and Risk & Insurance, among others. She has also published numerous articles on criminal justice in leading journals, including the American Journal of Criminal Law, Temple Political and Civil Rights Review and Georgetown University American Criminal Law Review.
Professor Ramirez is the chair and founder of Northeastern Law’s Criminal Justice Task Force, which brings together academics, lawyers, judges and allies focused on a myriad of criminal justice reform issues, including exploring the historical roots of racial disparity and mass incarceration, trying to harness the full strength of our reentry networks, bail reform, restorative justice practices and juvenile justice issues.
Before joining the Northeastern faculty in 1989, Professor Ramirez was an associate with the Boston law firm of Hale and Dorr and an assistant US attorney in Boston, where she was assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Task Force Unit. In that position, she was in charge of numerous investigations and trials, and handled appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Fields of Expertise
- Criminal Law
- Community Policing and Racial Profiling
- Criminal Procedure
- National Security Law
- Race and Racism and the Law
- “Multiracial Identity in a Color-Conscious World,” in The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier, ed. M. Root (Sage Publications, 1996).
- “Rethinking Public Safety,” (forthcoming 2022).
- “Fortifying the Rule of Law: Filling the Gaps Revealed by the Mueller Report and Impeachment Proceedings,” 13 Northeastern University Law Review (forthcoming 2021) (co-author).
- “Policing the Police: A Roadmap to Police Accountability Using Professional Liability Insurance,” 73 Rutgers Law Review 307 (2021) (co-author).
- “Policing the Police: Could Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance for Officers Provide a New Accountability Model?,” 45 American Journal of Criminal Law; Austin 407 (2019) (co-author).
- “To Fight Terrorism, Treat Muslim-Americans With Respect,” The Huffington Post (December 1, 2015) (co-author).
- “Shifting American Police From Warriors to Guardians,” The Huffington Post (May 28, 2015) (co-author).
- “A Blueprint for Local Police Reform to Improve Legitimacy,” The Huffington Post (December 24, 2014) (co-author).
- “This is What the End of Racial Profiling Looks Like,” The Guardian (December 7, 2014) (co-author).
- “Balancing Security and Liberty in a Post-September 11th World: The Search for Common Sense in Domestic Counterterrorism Policy,” 14 Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review 495 (2005).
- “Developing Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and the American Muslim, Arab, and Sikh Communities: A Promising Practices Guide,” The Partnership for Prevention and Community Safety Initiative (May 2004).
- “Defining Racial Profiling in a Post-September 11th World,” 40 Georgetown University American Criminal Law Review 1195 (Summer 2003).
- “Contemporary Challenges to Gender Equality,” 43 New York Law Review 159 (1999).
- “Affirmative Jury Selection: A Proposal to Advance Both the Deliberative Ideal and Jury Diversity,” 1998 University of Chicago Legal Forum 161 (1998).
- “Multicultural Empowerment: It’s Not Just Black and White Anymore,” 47 Stanford Law Review 957 (1995).
- “A Brief Historical Overview of the Use of the Mixed Jury,” 31 American Criminal Law Review 1213 (1994).
- “How to Prevent Cops from Killing: Weaken Unions and Make Police Pay for Misconduct,” USA Today (June 25, 2022).
- “SJC Takes Big Step Backward on Racial Justice,” CommonWealth (February 12, 2022).
- “3 Changes That Mayor Wu and Boston’s Next Police Commissioner Must Make,” Cognoscenti (January 26, 2022).
- Video: “Why Rachael Rollins’ Confirmation Was So Divisive,” CBS Boston (December 8, 2021).
- “NH Police Department Under Fire for Listing ‘Qualified Immunity’ as Job Perk in Recruitment Post,” 7News Boston (August 4, 2021).
- “Should Police Pay For Their Own Liability Insurance? This Law Professor Thinks So,” Wisconsin Public Radio (May 5, 2021).
- “Special Report on the Trial of Former Police Office Derek Chauvin,” ABC News (April 7, 2021).
- “Chauvin’s Lawyer Asked a Black Witness About Anger, Conjuring Centuries-Old Tropes, Scholars Say,” The Washington Post (March 30, 2021).
- “Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance for California Police? Lawmakers Are Interested,” Mission Local (December 18, 2020).
- “Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance for California Police? Lawmakers are Interested,” Mission Local (December 18, 2020).
- “Legal Industry Forms Fund to Honor Late Chief Justice Ralph Gants,” The Boston Globe (December 1, 2020).
- “Guest Op-Ed: Chief Gants Saw Coming Evictions as Looming Civil Rights, Public Health Crisis,” Chelsea Record (November 12, 2020).
- “Police Release ‘Traumatic’ and ‘Graphic’ Video of Walter Wallace,” The Washington Post (November 4, 2020).
- “Justice Demands That We Strengthen Eviction Protections,” CommonWealth (October 31, 2020).
- “Northeastern Law Professor, Community Activist Work To Keep SJC Chief Justice Gants' Legacy Alive,” GBH News (October 20, 2020).
- “Extending Eviction Moratorium Would Finish Ralph Gants’s Last Project,” The Boston Globe (October 18, 2020).
- “Can Requiring Police Professional Insurance Tame Police Misconduct?,” Criminal Injustice (August 25, 2020).
- “How Qualified Immunity Became The Sticking Point In Mass. Police Reform Debates,” WBUR News (July 30, 2020).
- Video: “Professor Calls For Liability Insurance For Cops To Help Prevent Misconduct,” WGBH News Greater Boston with Jim Braude (July 15, 2020).
- Video: “Police Brutality Calls for Police Accountability,” ABC News Good Morning America (July 10, 2020).
- “Mandatory Professional Liability for Police Officers: How Insurance Can Step Up According to This Criminal Law Scholar,” Risk & Insurance Magazine (June 29, 2020).
- “The Dirty Secret Behind Qualified Immunity for Police,” The Boston Globe (June 10, 2020) (co-author).
- “Liability Insurance Could Hold 'Reckless' Police Officers Accountable,” NPR's All Thing Considered (June 7, 2020).
- Podcast: “Policing The Police with Professor Deborah Ramirez,” The PowerPLAY Looks At America Under Siege (June 3, 2020).
- “Aggressive Stops And Frisks Won’t Make Chicago Safer,” Law360 (November 4, 2018).
- “Trump’s Achilles Heel: State Crime Prosecution,” The Huffington Post (August 3, 2017).
- Video: “Policing Testimony from Professor Deborah Ramirez,” House Judiciary Committee (May 19, 2015).