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Sandra Mayson

Professor of Law

Sandy Mayson researches and writes in the fields of criminal law, constitutional law, and legal theory, with a focus on the role of preventive restraint in the criminal legal system. Her academic work draws on her experience as a trial lawyer at Orleans Public Defenders, where she represented indigent clients in criminal proceedings and trained public defenders on immigration-sensitive defense practice. Her articles have appeared in top legal journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Duke Law Review, Law & Philosophy, and Criminal Law & Philosophy. Mayson is also engaged in pretrial law reform. She served as the Associate Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Pretrial Release & Detention Act, co-authors amicus briefs in lawsuits challenging aspects of money-bail systems, and advises public and private stakeholders on pretrial reform initiatives.

Mayson clerked for Judge Dolores K. Sloviter on the U.S. Third Circuit and Judge L. Felipe Restrepo in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Penn faculty she was on the faculty of the University of Georgia School of Law, where she received the C. Ronald Ellington Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020.

Mayson’s current projects include historical research on bail in the founding era, an article on the constitutional standards governing pretrial detention, and a theoretical line of inquiry into law as a social practice enabled by recursive theory-of-mind (a concept from developmental psychology).