Levin College of Law

Katheryn Russell-Brown

Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law
Director, Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations
Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center

Mailing Address:
Box #117625 Gainesville, FL 32611

(352) 273-0912


Campus Climate  • Criminal Law  • Race & Crime  • 


Katheryn Russell-Brown is the Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law.  Professor Russell-Brown received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, her law degree from the University of California, Hastings and her Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Maryland.

Prior to joining the University of Florida law faculty in 2003, Professor Russell-Brown taught in the Criminology and Criminal Justice department at the University of Maryland for 11 years.  She has been a visiting law professor at American University and the City University of New York (CUNY).  She has been a lecturer at Howard University and her first teaching position was at Alabama State University.

Professor Russell-Brown teaches, researches, and writes on issues of race and crime and the sociology of law.  Her article, “The Constitutionality of Jury Override in Alabama Death Penalty Cases,” was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Harris v. Alabama (1995).

In 2009, Professor Russell-Brown was awarded a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship.  Her project focused on ways to integrate criminal justice issues into the elementary education curriculum.

Professor Russell-Brown’s books include Criminal Law  (SAGE, 2015) an undergraduate textbook, The Color of Crime, 2d edition (New York University Press, 2009), Protecting Our Own: Race, Crime and African Americans, Rowman and Littlefield (2006), and Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires (New York University Press, 2004).  Her first children’s book is Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, a picture book biography (Lee & Low, 2014).


Ph.D., University of Maryland
J.D., University of California – Hastings
B.A., University of California – Berkeley

Teaching and Scholarship

Race and Crime, Sociology of Law, Criminal Law

Professional Activities

  • University of Florida: Joined College of Law in 2003 as Professor and Director, Center for Study of Race and Race Relations.
  • University of Maryland: Criminology and Criminal Justice Department: Associate Professor (1998 – 2003), Director of Undergraduate Studies (1998-2002), Assistant Professor (1992-98).
  • Previous Academic Experience: American University School of Law, Visiting Associate Professor (1997); City University of New York (CUNY) Law School, Visiting Associate Professor (1994); Howard University, Instructor (1991); Alabama State University, Assistant Professor (1987-89).


Race, Crime & the Law - LAW 6237
  • This course examines the interplay between race, crime and the law in the US; covers the role of history as context for understanding contemporary laws that govern the criminal justice system, and how existing laws, their applications, and justice system practices, could be restructured and re-imagined to further racial justice.



  • Criminal Law (SAGE Publications, 2015)
  • The Color of Crime, 2d Ed. (New York University Press, 2009)
  • Protecting Our Own: Race, Crime and African Americans (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)
  • Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires (New York University Press, 2004)
  • Petit Apartheid in the US Criminal Justice System: The Dark Figure of Racism (edited with Dragon
  • Milovanovic) (Carolina Academic Press, 2001)

Book Chapters

  • “Go Ahead and Shoot, the Law Might Have Your Back: Race, Implicit Bias, and Justice in Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law. In Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal System (D. Johnson, et al., eds.). New York University Press [2015]
  • “The Myth of Black Crime,” in Demystifying Crime and Criminal Justice (2d ed.) (Robert M. Bohm and Jeffrey T. Walker, eds.) (Roxbury Press, 2012)
  • “While Visions of Deviance Danced in Their Heads,” in After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina (David Troutt, ed.) The New Press (2006)

Law Review & Social Science Publications

  • Guest Editor, J. Criminology & Pub. Pol’y, Special issue on Race and Policing, Vol. 6(1):1-181 (2007)
  • “Black Protectionism as a Civil Rights Strategy” 53 Buff. L. Rev. 1 (2005) [SSRN]
  • “Racial Profiling: A Status Report of the Legal, Legislative and Empirical Literature,” 3 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 61 (2001)