Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prof. Natapoff Receives Guggenheim Fellowship for Scholarship on Misdemeanors & Criminal Justice System

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Associate Dean Alexandra Natapoff has been named as the recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship for her scholarly work on misdemeanors and the American criminal justice system. The highly prestigious award is bestowed annually on a short list of scholars and artists from among 3,000-4,000 applicants, and less than 1 percent of recipients since 2000 have been in the legal field.

Natapoff is an award-winning legal scholar and criminal justice expert at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She has been writing about misdemeanors for the past several years and is a leading expert in the field.  She has published in-depth articles on urban misdemeanor policing and race, the prevalence of wrongful misdemeanor convictions, the challenges of misdemeanor decriminalization, the enormous hurdles facing misdemeanor public defenders, and the close linkages between the petty offense process and the welfare state. The Guggenheim Fellowship will support her current book project, which explores the profound significance of misdemeanors for the entire U.S. criminal system.

“I’m honored to receive this award, and thrilled that the Guggenheim Foundation is supporting  scholarship about this vital aspect of American justice,” said Natapoff.  “Eighty percent of arrests and cases in this country are misdemeanors. It is an enormously powerful legal and social institution. This book will offer new perspectives on how our criminal system truly functions for most Americans.”

Natapoff, a former federal public defender, also is a national expert on the use of criminal informants.  Her previous book, Snitching, won the 2010 ABA Silver Gavel Award Honorable Mention for Books and was a 2010 Barnes & Noble Best Pick. She is a graduate of Yale and Stanford, and an elected member of the influential American Law Institute. She has testified before Congress and is frequently quoted by major media outlets.

“Loyola’s faculty has always been deeply invested in producing high-level scholarship that makes a significant impact, and Alexandra Natapoff leads by example,” said Interim Dean Paul T. Hayden. “Loyola is delighted that the Guggenheim Fellowship has been awarded to Professor Natapoff. It is a well-deserved and very prestigious honor in which we take great pride.”

Since 1925 Guggenheim Fellowships have been awarded annually to an elite group who demonstrate impressive past achievement and future promise in their fields. Finalists undergo rigorous critical review by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, peer experts and past recipients. Only about 5 percent of applicants are selected for the honor. The field of law is particularly selective, with just two honorees in 2016. The fellowship includes a grant to support the recipient’s work.

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