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 Corinna Barrett Lain
Corinna Barrett Lain
S. D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law
Courses Taught Criminal Procedure Evidence

Professor Corinna Barrett Lain is a constitutional law scholar who writes about the influence of extralegal norms on Supreme Court decisionmaking, with a particular focus on the field of capital punishment. Her scholarship, which often uses the lens of legal history, has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Duke Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, and Georgetown Law Journal, among other venues. Professor Lain is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and received the University of Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award in 2006. She is a former prosecutor and an Army veteran.

Founder, Richmond Law Faculty Colloquy Series
Founder, Richmond Law Teaching & Scholarship Workshop Series
Founder, Virginia Junior Facuilty Forum
Bar Admissions
Professional Experience
S. D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law (2017 - present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law (2011 - 2017)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Professor of Law (2008 - 2011)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Acting Associate Dean (2008 - 2008)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Associate Professor of Law (2005 - 2008)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Assistant Professor of Law (2002 - 2005)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney (1997 - 2000)
Henrico Commonwealth Attorney's Office, Richmond, VA
Judicial Clerkship, the Hon. John C. Porfilio (1996 - 1997)
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Denver, CO
Journal Articles

Mostly Settled, but Right for Now, 33 Constitutional Commentary 355 (University of Minnesota Law School) (2018).

The Highs and Lows of Michael Meltsner -- A Tribute, Northeastern Law Review Extra Legal: A Festschrift Honoring Michael Meltsner (2018).

Soft Supremacy, 58 William & Mary Law Review 1609 (2017).

Death Row, Calls for Indifference, and Redemption of the Soul, 77 Ohio State Law Journal Furthermore 106 (2016).

Three Supreme Court Failures and a Story of Supreme Court Success, 69 Vanderbilt Law Review 1019 (2016) (symposium contribution; reviewed by Jotwell).

Death Penalty Drugs and the International Moral Marketplace, 103 Georgetown Law Journal 1215 (with James Gibson) (2015).

The Politics of Botched Executions, 49 University of Richmond Law Review 825 (2015) (symposium contribution).

Passive-Aggressive Executive Power, 73 Maryland Law Review 227 (2013) (symposium contribution).

The Virtues of Thinking Small, 67 University of Miami Law Review 397 (2013) (symposium contribution).

Upside-Down Judicial Review, 101 Georgetown Law Journal 113 (2012).

Lessons Learned from the Evolution of Evolving Standards, 4 Charleston Law Review 661 (2010).

The Doctrinal Side of Majority Will, 2010 Michigan State Law Review 775 (2010) (symposium contribution).

The Unexceptionalism of Evolving Standards, 57 UCLA Law Review 365 (2009).

Deciding Death, 57 Duke Law Journal 1 (2007).

Furman Fundamentals, 82 Washington Law Review 1 (2007).

Accuracy Where It Matters: Brady v. Maryland in the Plea Bargaining Context, 80 Washington University Law Quarterly 1 (2002).

Outraged over Immigration: Rethinking Doctrinal Responses, 82 Virginia Law Review 987 (1996).

Prosecutorial Ethics and the Reno Rule: Authorized by Law, 14 Criminal Justice Ethics 17 (1995).

Book Chapters

Distorting Death, in Painting Constitutional Law (2019).

The Power, Problems, and Potential of "Evolving Standards of Decency", in The Eighth Amendment and Its Future in a New Age of Punishment (2019).

Following Finality: Why Capital Punishment Is Collapsing under Its Own Weight, in Final Judgments: The Death Penalty in American Law and Culture (Cambridge University Press) (2017).

Book Reviews

Feminist Justice, The New Rambler (2016).

The Highs and Lows of Wild Justice, 50 Tulsa Law Review 503 (2015).

Magazine/Trade Publications

The International Market for Death Penalty Drugs, NCAA News (with Jim Gibson) (Winter 2015).


Following Finality: An Observation About the Death Penalty Over Time, 37 The National Association of Appellate Court Attorneys Newsletter 16 (2016).

Newspaper Articles

What would RBG do?, Richmond Times Dispatch (September 2020).

Capital Punishment, Illuminated, Richmond Times-Dispatch (with Jim Gibson) (May 2014) (Op-Ed.).

Europe Taught America How To End the Death Penalty. Now Maybe It Finally Will., Guardian (with Jim Gibson) (May 2014) (Op-Ed.).

Additional Publications

Lethal Injection, Politics, and the Future of the Death Penalty Allen Chair Symposium University of Richmond Law Review (October 2014).

Death Penalty in America: Perceptions, Reflection, and Reform Allen Chair Symposium University of Richmond Law Review (April 2007).

In the News

Justice Alito Ripped for Repeatedly Ignoring That It Was Justice Sotomayor’s Turn to Speak (Law & Crime)
Mon., Nov. 30, 2020

Op-ed: Corinna Barrett Lain column: What would RBG do? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Mon., Sep. 21, 2020

What makes George Floyd’s death different? (Interfases)
Fri., Jul. 24, 2020

Priests Defeated in Lawsuit to Delay Executions During Covid-19 (Courthouse News Service)
Fri., Jul. 17, 2020

Justice Kennedy and Criminal Procedure (C-SPAN)
Fri., Oct. 5, 2018

March for Truth draws Saturday crowd (Style Weekly)
Tue., Jun. 6, 2017

Texas suit over death penalty drug faces steep odds (Law 360)
Wed., May. 10, 2017

Op-ed: Is the White House creating havoc on purpose? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Mon., Feb. 6, 2017

Virginia's lethal injection costs set to skyrocket as secret drug vendor charges $16.5K per execution (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Fri., Sep. 30, 2016

As Arizona, other states struggle to find execution drugs, how far should states go to carry out executions? (KJZZ)
Thu., Dec. 3, 2015

Where do the death penalty abolitionists go from here? (Bloomberg Business)
Tue., Jun. 30, 2015

On Glossip (PrawfsBlawg)
Mon., Jun. 29, 2015

Gay marriage shows court at its best (Bloomberg View)
Fri., Jun. 26, 2015

'An antidemocratic and largely foreign conspiracy' (PrawfsBlawg)
Thu., Jun. 25, 2015

In anticipation of Glossip (PrawfsBlawg)
Wed., Jun. 24, 2015

Is criticism of lethal injection just a front for opposing the death penalty? (PrawfsBlawg)
Tue., Jun. 16, 2015

Is lethal injection about us or them? (PrawfsBlawg)
Wed., Jun. 10, 2015

Unconstitutional repeal? (PrawfsBlawg)
Fri., Jun. 5, 2015

Got drugs? (PrawfsBlawg)
Thu., Jun. 4, 2015

Why is Glossip so hard? (PrawfsBlawg)
Fri., May. 1, 2015

Pharmacy Groups Balk at Supplying Lethal Injection (NBC News)
Mon., Mar. 30, 2015

McAuliffe officials try to get Va. House to change vote on lethal injection (The Washington Post)
Wed., Feb. 25, 2015

Against Lethal Injection Secrecy in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sat., Feb. 14, 2015

Va. Senate Backs Secrecy on Execution Drugs (Courthouse News Service)
Wed., Feb. 11, 2015

Virginia Senate approves bill aimed at continuing executions by lethal injection (The Republic)
Tue., Feb. 10, 2015

Capital Punishment Cover-Up (Slate)
Tue., Feb. 3, 2015

Bill proposes secrecy on Virginia executions (Daily Press)
Thu., Jan. 29, 2015

Va. Senate panel advances bill to ensure supply of lethal-injection drug (The Washington Post)
Thu., Jan. 29, 2015

Botched US execution sparks death penalty debate (Channel News Asia)
Sun., May. 18, 2014

Gibson and Lain: Capital punishment, illuminated (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Wed., May. 7, 2014

Europe taught America how to end the death penalty. Now maybe it finally will (The Guardian)
Mon., May. 5, 2014

Painful Death Penalty Failure (95bFM)
Fri., May. 2, 2014

Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas? (
Thu., Apr. 24, 2014

Death penalty crisis reveals macabre options still open in US (The Conversation)
Thu., Feb. 6, 2014

Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney addresses political ties to Morrissey (NBC12, CapitalBay Online)
Fri., Aug. 30, 2013

12 Investigates: Growing number of guilty pleas (NBC12)
Thu., Feb. 21, 2013

"Upside-Down Judicial Review" is the download of the week (Legal Theory Blog)
Sat., Jan. 14, 2012

B.A., College of William & Mary 1992
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law 1996
Contact Information
Room 254, Law School
(804) 289 8738
(804) 289 8992 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional Law
Death Penalty
Criminal Procedure