Catherine M. Grosso
Professor Grosso has been a member of the MSU College of Law faculty since 2008. Her scholarship primarily focuses on the role of race, victim/defendant relationships, and other extra-legal factors in the administration of capital punishment.
In August 2010, Grosso and Professor Barbara O’Brien released a comprehensive study showing striking patterns of racial discrimination in North Carolina capital case charging, sentencing, and juror selection decisions. The project, which was conducted in response to the state’s Racial Justice Act, has been cited in claims by more than 150 North Carolina death row inmates seeking to prove racial bias at the time of their charging or sentencing; those who succeed will be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Another recent study that Grosso co-authored with the late University of Iowa Professor David Baldus found even more dramatic racial disparities in military death penalty cases. Professors Grosso and O’Brien teamed up with the Michigan State Law Review to host a spring 2011 symposium on the effect of race in capital punishment cases.
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a Middle East concentration from Earlham College in 1990, Grosso spent two years in Washington, D.C., as an editorial assistant for the Middle East Journal. She was a liaison for the Middle East Council of Churches in East Jerusalem from January 1993 through October 1994, then served as project coordinator for the Human Rights Action Project at Birzeit University in the West Bank through August 1997.
Grosso graduated Order of the Coif in 2001 from University of Iowa College of Law, where she was an articles editor for the Iowa Law Review. She returned to the nation’s capital to clerk for the Honorable Frank E. Schwelb of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals before joining the D.C. firm of WilmerHale. Her practice included several capital defense cases, corporate litigation, and securities investigations. Grosso was a visiting assistant professor for three years at the University of Illinois College of Law prior to joining the MSU Law faculty.
J.D. 2001, with high distinction, Order of the Coif, University of Iowa College of Law; B.A. 1990, with honors, Earlham College
- Criminal Procedure: Investigation
(Formerly Criminal Procedure I)This course provides students with an introduction to federal constitutional limits on police investigation under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. This includes the governance of search and interrogation, and the right to counsel. Students can take Criminal Procedure: Investigation and Criminal Procedure: Adjudication in any order or at the same time. Students who have taken Criminal Procedure I are ineligible to enroll in this course.
- Foundations of Law
The primary focus of this course is to provide first-year students with an introduction to the study of law, with preliminary exposure to legal reasoning, the structure of the American legal system, and fundamental legal-theoretical concepts. This course also seeks to put students who come to the law from a variety of academic backgrounds on a more equal footing.
- Law and Policy of Corrections
This course could be offered for 2 or 3 credits. This is a course on applied or advanced constitutional law in the context of prisoners and pretrial detainees. The first part of the course will provide an introduction to punishment and sentencing. The second part of the course provides a survey of the constitutional law of incarceration, including materials on procedural and substantive due process, equal protection, the ban on cruel and unusual punishment, First Amendment protections, and rights of access to the courts and attorneys. The final section considers the mechanics of prisoners' rights litigation under Section 1983.
District of Columbia, Virginia (inactive)
Law Review Articles
A Stubborn Legacy: The Overwhelming Importance of Race in Jury Selection in 173 Post-Batson North Carolina Capital Trials, First Author with Barbara O'Brien. Iowa Law Review (forthcoming 2012).
Statistical Proof of Racial Discrimination in the Use of Peremptory Challenges: The Impact and Promise of the Miller-El Line of Cases, As Reflected in the Experience of One Philadelphia Capital Case, Second Author with David C. Baldus (deceased at time of final drafting and publication), Robert Dunham, George Woodworth & Richard Newell. Iowa Law Review (forthcoming 2012).
Confronting Race: How A Confluence of Social Movements Convinced North Carolina to Go Where the McCleskey Court Wouldn't, Barbara O'Brien & Catherine Grosso. Mich. St. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2012).
Racial Discrimination in the Administration of the Death Penalty: The Experience of the United States Armed Forces (1984-2005), David C. Baldus, George Woodworth, Catherine M. Grosso & Richard Newell. 101 J. Crim. L. & Criminology (forthcoming Winter 2012).
The Role of Intimacy in the Prosecution and Sentencing of Capital Murder Cases in the United States Armed Forces, 1984-2005, Catherine M. Grosso, David Baldus & George Woodworth. 40 N.M. L. Rev. 273 (2010).
The Impact of Civilian Aggravating Circumstances on the Military Death Penalty: Another Chapter in the Resistance of the Armed Forces to the Civilianization of Military Justice, 1984-2005, Catherine M. Grosso, David C. Baldus & George Woodworth. 43 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 569 (2010).
Race and Proportionality Since McCleskey v. Kemp (1987): Different Actors with Mixed Strategies of Denial and Avoidance, David C. Baldus, George Woodworth, and Catherine M. Grosso. 39 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 143 (2007).
Arbitrariness and Discrimination in the Administration of the Death Penalty: A Legal and Empirical Analysis of the Nebraska Experience (1973–1999), David C. Baldus, George Woodworth, Catherine M. Grosso, and Aaron M. Christ. 81 Neb. L. Rev. 486 (2002).
International Law in the Domestic Arena: The Case of Torture in Israel, Catherine M. Grosso.86 Iowa L. Rev. 305 (2000).
Empirical Studies of Race and Geographic Discrimination in the Administration of the Death Penalty: A Primer on the Key Methodological Issues, David Baldus, George Woodworth, Neil Alan Weiner, David Zuckerman, and Catherine M. Grosso. In Capital Punishment: The Defining Issues for the Next Generation (Charles S. Lanier, William J. Bowers, and James Acker eds.) (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Acad. Press 2008).
James Skelly Wright, Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court (forthcoming 2008).
Mapping Work and Outcomes: Participatory Evaluation of the Farm Preservation Advocacy Network, Cornelia Butler Flora and Catherine M. Grosso. 1 Soc. Prac. 133–155 (1999).
Human Rights and Norwegian Aid to the Palestinian Areas: A Self-Monitoring Exercise, Catherine M. Grosso and Lars Gule. In Human Rights in Developing Countries 1997 (Hugo Stokke, Astri Suhrke, and Arne Tostensen eds.) (1997).