University of Pittsburgh
January 11, 2011

“Why Would a Lawyer Defend Someone Like Jared L. Loughner?” Asks Pitt Law Professor David Harris, who Is Available for Interviews

Loughner is accused of murder and attempted murder in the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, wounding Giffords and 13 others, leaving six dead
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Why would a lawyer defend someone like Jared L. Loughner—charged with murder and attempted murder in the Arizona shooting that left six dead and 14 wounded—who is obviously guilty, asks David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh professor of law. 

A leading national authority on racial profiling who studies, writes, and teaches about police behavior and regulation as well as law enforcement, Harris poses the following questions as they relate to the Arizona shootings: Will Loughner’s lawyer use the insanity defense? If so, will he get off? When we know who committed a crime, why is a trial even held? Harris is willing to discuss these points as well as other aspects of the shootings and Loughner’s subsequent defense. 

Harris is the author of Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing (The New Press, 2005) and Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (The New Press, 2002). Profiles in Injustice led to federal efforts to address profiling and to legislation and voluntary efforts in more than half the states and reforms in hundreds of police departments. Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing uses case studies from around the country to show that citizens need not trade liberty for safety: They can be safe from criminals and terrorists without sacrificing their civil rights if law enforcement uses strategies based on prevention. 

Harris does professional training for law enforcement officers, judges, and attorneys throughout the country and the world and presents his work regularly to government bodies. He also works with public officials and citizens’ groups both locally and nationally to improve police services and public safety. 

Harris writes and comments frequently in the media on police practices, racial profiling, and other criminal justice and national security issues. He has appeared on NBC’s Today show, CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, among other media outlets. In 1996, Harris served as a member of the Civil Liberties Advisory Board to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. 

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