Experts: Politics, Law + Criminology

Paolo Annino

Glass Professor of Public Interest Law

Annino is an expert in health care access for young people and children, and legal issues involving Medicaid.

(850) 644-9930

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William D. Bales

Professor of Criminology, Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research

Bill Bales is an expert on sentencing, the effectiveness and consequences of punishment strategies, the evaluation of correctional practices and programs, and prisoner recidivism.

(850) 644-7113

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Kevin Beaver

Kevin Beaver

Beaver is an expert on biosocial criminology, which explores the biological and environmental factors involved in crime and antisocial behavior.

(850) 644-9180

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Thomas Blomberg

Blomberg is an expert on criminology research and public policy; delinquency, education and crime desistance; penology and social control; and victim services. His ongoing research includes examining the relationship between educational achievement among incarcerated youthful offenders and successful community reintegration.

(850) 644-7365

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Courtney Cahill

Donald Hinkle Professor, College of Law

Cahill is FSU’s Donald Hinkle Professor at the College of Law. Her expertise includes the legal and social debates surrounding same-sex relationships and reproductive rights, as well as general family law.

(850) 644-9028

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Terence C. Coonan

Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights

Terry Coonan is an internationally known human rights lawyer who has advised U.S. judges on immigration and refugee law, worked with the United Nations and the U.S. Justice Department, and litigated asylum and torture victim protection cases for more than two decades. He has done leading advocacy and policy work regarding human trafficking and has trained law enforcement, service providers and judges nationwide on the topic. Coonan serves as an associate professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and a courtesy professor in the FSU College of Law and the FSU Film School.  He teaches courses on international human rights, human trafficking, refugee and asylum law, and human rights and film.

(850) 644-4550

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Carter Hay

Professor & Graduate Program Director, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Hay is an expert on the causes of crime and delinquency, particularly causes related to the family environment and its implication for the development of self-control. He also is an expert on the use of evidence-based practices in the juvenile justice system.

(850) 644-1594

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Randall G Holcombe

DeVoe L. Moore Professor of Economics

Holcombe is an expert on the effect of government activity on economic growth.

(850) 644-7095

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Davis Houck

Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies

Houck is FSU’s Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies in the College of Communication and Information. Houck, who earned a doctorate in communication at Penn State University, offers expertise on political advertising, speech-making and news coverage. He’s also an expert on the American civil rights movement, war rhetoric, propaganda and media campaigns.

Houck is one of the nation’s leading experts on Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder in the Mississippi Delta helped launch the civil rights movement. Houck helped create and lead the Emmett Till Memory Project, which developed a 21st-century digital historical record of the people, places and episodes associated with Till’s murder and legacy. Houck coauthored “Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press” with Matthew A. Grindy.

Houck is collaborating with FSU Libraries’ Division of Special Collections and Archives to continue to build the only existing Emmett Till Archive. The archive  houses several collections from leading scholars, filmmakers, historians and activists, many of which are digitized for a global audience.

(850) 980-2656

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Mark Isaac

Quinn Eminent Scholar Professor

Isaac is an expert on the national economy as it relates to energy policy and government regulation.

(850) 644-7081

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Jay Kesten

Associate Professor

Kesten is an expert on the legal aspects of corporate governance and corporate finance.

(850) 644-1596

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Gary Kleck

David J. Bordua Professor Emeritus

Kleck is an expert on gun control, deterrence, crime control and violence. Some of his recent research has found that higher general gun ownership rates reduce homicide rates, probably because the violence-reducing effects of guns among noncriminal victims and prospective victims outweigh the violence-increasing effects of guns among criminals.

(850) 644-7651

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Carla Laroche

Clinical Professor, College of Law

Professor Laroche directs and teaches in the Gender and Family Justice Clinic within our Public Interest Law Center. She conducts research and presentations on criminal justice reform, family law, gender, implicit bias, access to justice and legal resources, voting rights restoration for people with felonies (Florida’s Amendment 4), and diversity in the legal profession.

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Wayne Logan

Steven M. Goldstein Professor

Logan has published widely on a variety of issues, including capital punishment, police search and seizure, sex offender registration and community notification and the interplay among state, federal and local criminal justice systems.

(850) 644-7215

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Milton H Marquis

Professor Emeritus

Marquis, who served the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as Research Department senior economist from 2000 to 2003 and as visiting scholar in 2005-2006 and 2009, can discuss national economic issues, including monetary theory and policy, and macroeconomic theory, which relates to taxes and budget deficits.

(850) 645-1526

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Michael J. McVicar

McVicar is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion. He researches the relationship between religion and politics in 20th century U.S. history, with a specific focus on the emergence of the American conservative movement in the post-World War II era.

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Daniel P. Mears

Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology

Dan Mears is an expert on mental health, public opinion and other aspects of mass shooting tragedies. His research expertise includes juvenile and criminal justice policy, crime theory, public opinion, “supertax” prisons, mental health, religion, sentencing and reentry.

(850) 644-7376

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Patrick Merle

Associate Professor, School Director

Merle is an Associate Professor in the College of Communication & Information. He focuses on international comparisons, cultural differences, as well as international media behaviors and attitudes. Merle, a French native and former international journalist who covered Olympic sports and international news, offers particular expertise on how international media view political issues and how certain news topics get covered across cultures.

(850) 644-8773

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Matthew Pietryka

Associate Professor

Pietryka’s research focuses on understanding how the social and political contexts of life influence the political attitudes and behavior of individuals. In particular, he studies how political discussion with friends and family can affect individual political behavior.

(530) 574-6175

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Deana A Rohlinger

Sociology Professor, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Community Engagement

Rohlinger is an expert on the sociology of mass media (including social media), social movements, digital participation and democratic processes. She is the chair of the American Sociological Association’s section for Communication, Information Technologies & Media Sociology and the author of two books, Abortion Politics, Mass Media and Social Movements in America (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and New Media and Society (New York University Press, 2019). Her current research examines deliberation online around controversial issues such a gun control.

(850) 644-2493

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Erin Ryan

Elizabeth C. and Clyde W. Atkinson Professor, and associate dean of Environmental Programs, College of Law

Ryan specializes in environmental governance and environmental, water, property and land use law. She is a prolific legal scholar who presents widely in the United States, Europe and Asia, and she appears regularly in news media. A former U.S. Forest Service ranger, she was a Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Research Project, a Fulbright Scholar in China, and a Research Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich.

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Mark R. Schlakman

Senior Program Director

Schlakman serves as senior program director for the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and as coordinator of its Human Rights & National Security in the 21st Century lecture series. He is regarded as an expert on Florida’s death penalty process and the state’s policy on restoring former offenders’ civil rights. Schlakman served as principal investigator for the Center’s Florida Bar Foundation/Administration of Justice grant-funded projects relating to the American Bar Association Florida Death Penalty Assessment Team report, which examined the fairness, accuracy and impartiality of Florida’s death penalty process. It also led to a project known as Rethinking Civil Rights Restoration in Florida several years before the ballot initiative that became known as Amendment 4.

Schlakman teaches Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy at the College of Law and two unique interdisciplinary courses on Felony Disenfranchisement in Florida after Amendment 4, and Executive Clemency in Florida including pardon power, sentence commutations, civil rights restoration after Amendment 4 and death penalty case review. He also teaches courses for graduate, honors and undergraduate students in Human Rights & National Security. Schlakman designed the courses, and they are informed by his experiences and engagement abroad, including Afghanistan and the United Nations in Geneva.

(850) 644-4614 or (850) 766-2146

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Darby Kerrigan Scott

Clinical Professor, College of Law

Professor Scott directs the Immigration and Farmworker Project within the Public Interest Law Center. She is a proud member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 33. She is the recipient of the 2016 Thomas M. Ervin, Jr. Distinguished Young Lawyer Award and the 2016 Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency Chapter 2 Judicial Distinguished Service Award, and was recognized on the Florida TrendLegal Elite list in the area of Government/Non-Profit attorneys in 2016, 2017 and 2019.


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Samuel R. Staley

DeVoe L. Moore Center Director

Staley, director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center, is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and professor at FSU where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation and urban economics. He has authored several books and has published more than 100 articles, studies and reports.

(850) 645-9694

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Patricia Warren-Hightower

Professor & Director, Undergraduate Program

Warren-Hightower is a professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the director of the college’s undergraduate program.  She is an expert on social control and punishment, racial and gender stratification, racial profiling, collateral consequences of incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.

(850) 644-5587

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Carol Weissert

Professor and LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar & Chair of Civic Education and Political Science

Weissert teaches American national and state politics. Her research interests include Florida politics, elections, intergovernmental relations, federalism and health policy.

(850) 644-7320 or (850) 297-0111

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Hannah Wiseman


Wiseman is an expert on the role of regulation in protecting the character of living spaces and environmental quality, including regulations surrounding fracking, oil and gas and energy.

(850) 645-0073

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Samuel Wiseman

McConnaughhay and Rissman Professor

Wiseman’s research focuses on pre- and post-trial issues in criminal procedure, including the use of DNA evidence, postconviction litigation and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive bail.

(850) 645-0093

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