Paul Delano Butler (born January 15, 1961) is an American lawyer, former prosecutor, and current law professor of Georgetown University Law Center. He is a leading criminal law scholar, particularly in the area of race and jury nullification.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Butler attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory School. He graduated cum laude from both Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Lawyer and prosecutor
Paul Butler clerked for the Honorable Mary Johnson Lowe of the U.S. District Court in New York. He then joined the law firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in white collar criminal defense and civil litigation.
Following his time in private practice, Butler served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where his specialty was public corruption. His prosecutions included a U.S. Senator, two FBI agents, and several other law enforcement officials. While at the Department of Justice, Butler also served as a special assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting drug and gun cases.
His scholarship has been published in the Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and UCLA Law Review. He has authored chapters in several books, written a column for the Legal Times, and published numerous op-ed articles, including in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Dallas Morning News. He lectures regularly for the ABA and the NAACP, and at colleges, law schools, and community organizations throughout the U.S. Professor Butler is also a regular contributor at BlackProf.com. He is currently a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.
He was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Service Award three times by the GW graduating class and has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In 2003, he was elected to the American Law Institute. In 2009, his first book, Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, was published by The New Press.
- Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice (The New Press, 2009)
- If Hip-Hop Culture Reshaped Our Justice System.... Washington Post, 2009 December 1.
- Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Incarceration. The Nation, 2009 October 28.
- Justice Department change is a welcome one. The Progressive, 2009 September 11.
- Were Obama's Race Remarks Too Risky?: 'Race Man' to the Rescue!. New York Times, 2009 July 23.
- The Gates Case and Racial Profiling: More Ways of Looking at a Black Man. New York Times, 2009 July 22.
- My Jury Service to America. The Huffington Post, 2009 July 1.
- Should African-Americans Be Prosecutors?. The Crime Report, 2009 June 29.
- Smarter Punishment Needed, Chicago Tribune, 2009 June 11.
- Jury Nullification: Power to the People. Prison Legal News, 2009 June
- Obama Picks the Right Man for Drug Czar. The Progressive, 2008 March 18
- Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No. New York Times, 2011 December 20.
- When Judges Lie (and When They Should), 91 Minnesota Law Review 1785-1828 (2007)
- Blogging at Blackprof, 84 Washington University Law Review 1101-1104 (2006)
- Rehnquist, Racism, and Race Jurisprudence, 74 The George Washington Law Review 1019-1042 (2006)
- An Ethos of Lying (Colloquium: Zealous Advocacy in a Time of Uncertainty: Understanding Lawyers' Ethics), 8 University of the District of Columbia Law Review 269-274 (2004)
- In Defense of Jury Nullification, 31 Litigation 46-49 (Fall 2004)
- Much Respect: Toward a Hip-Hop Theory of Punishment, 56 Stanford Law Review 983 (2004)
- Should Radicals Be Judges? (Legal Ethics Conference: Judging Judges' Ethics), 32 Hofstra Law Review 1203-1214 (2004)
- The Case for Trials: Considering the Intangibles, 1 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 627-636 (2004)
- By Any Means Necessary: Using Violence and Subversion to Change Unjust Law, 50 UCLA Law Review 721-773 (2003)
- Foreword: Terrorism and Utilitarianism: Lessons from, and for, Criminal Law, 93 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 1-22 (2002)
- Panel V: Promoting Racial Equality (with Todd D. Rakoff, Deborah A. Ramirez, and Christopher F. Edley), 9 Journal of Law and Policy 347-386 (2001)
- A Panel Discussion on a Proposed Code of Ethics for Legal Commentators (Panel Discussion with Raymond C. Brown, Erwin Chemerinsky, Johnnie L. Cochran,Jr., Laurie L. Levenson, John H. McElhaney, Barry C. Scheck, and Mary Tillotson), 50 Mercer Law Review 681-736 (1999)
- Must Congress End the Disenfranchisement of the District of Columbia? A Constitutional Debate (Panel Discussion with Raskin, Jamin B., Stephen Markman, and Adam Kurland), 48 American University Law Review 634-663 (1999)
- Retribution, for Liberals, 46 UCLA Law Review 1873-1893 (1999)
- Starr is to Clinton as Regular Prosecutors are to Blacks, 40 Boston College Law Review 705-716 (1999)
- The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Revisited (with Alex Kozinski, Cass R. Sunstein, Robin L. West, Alan M. Dershowitz, and Frank H. Easterbrook), 112 Harvard Law Review 1876-1923 (1999).
- Affirmative Action and the Criminal Law, 68 University of Colorado Law Review 841 (1997)
- Race-Based Jury Nullification: Case in Chief (The Role of Race-Based Jury Nullification in American Criminal Justice), 30 John Marshall Law Review 911-922 (1997)
- Race-Based Jury Nullification: Surrebuttal (The Role of Race-Based Jury Nullification in American Criminal Justice), 30 John Marshall Law Review 933-935 (1997)
- The Evil of American Criminal Justice: A Reply (Response to article by D. Leipold in this issue, p. 109), 44 UCLA Law Review 143-157 (1996)
- Racially Based Jury Nullification: Black Power in the Criminal Justice System, 105 Yale Law Journal 677-725 (1995)