W&L Law Prof Erik Luna Named to Sydney and Frances Lewis Professorship

Lexington, VA Friday, June 01, 2012


Prof. Erik Luna
Erik Luna, professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been appointed the Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law.

Luna joined the W&L faculty in 2009. An expert in criminal law and procedure, Luna is has written on an array of domestic and comparative criminal law topics, including mandatory sentencing, over-criminalization, the war on drugs, and search and seizure law. His current scholarly projects include two books, The Prosecutor in Transnational Perspective and The Law of Terrorism. In 2011, Luna was elected to the American Law Institute, the most prestigious law reform body in the U.S.

"Erik Luna is a most worthy holder of the Sydney and Frances Lewis Professorship," said interim dean Mark Grunewald. "His teaching and scholarship are exemplary.  Erik's students consistently praise his enthusiasm for his subject and his skill in the classroom.  Similarly, Erik's multi-faceted work on the prosecutorial function in both domestic and international criminal justice systems is widely recognized and highly regarded."

Luna is frequently called upon to testify regarding issues of criminal justice. He previously offered testimony before a U.S. congressional subcommittee on the judiciary on the ability of U.S. states to provide legal services to indigent defendants as required by law. Luna also testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs for a hearing examining whether violence against America's homeless population is on the rise. Most recently, his testimony and scholarship on federal mandatory minimum penalties were cited extensively in a report to Congress by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

"The law school is quite literally built upon the extraordinary generosity of Frances and Sydney Lewis," Luna said.  "I am humbled to receive the chair named in their honor, and I hope that my work can pay tribute to their commitment to scholarly excellence."  

Luna's varied experience includes service as a Fulbright Scholar researching restorative justice in New Zealand, a visiting scholar in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, and a visiting professional at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is also an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a public policy research foundation. His commentary on criminal justice issues appears frequently in the national media, including the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, NPR, and the National Law Journal.

Luna graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California and received his J.D. with honors from Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. Upon graduation, Luna was a prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney's Office and a fellow and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to coming to Washington and Lee University, Luna was the Hugh B. Brown Professor of Law at the University of Utah.

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