Eric M. Freedman                      Eric M. Freedman

Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law

My academic interests center in two areas.  One is constitutional law, particularly the First Amendment and issues of Presidential power, and constitutional history, with an emphasis on the Revolutionary and early national periods.  The other is litigation-centered, and includes civil and criminal procedure and strategy, with a special concentration on the death penalty and habeas corpus.


My scholary writing include Habeas Corpus: Rethinking the Great Writ of Liberty (NYU 2002), and I ordinarily teach such courses as:  Constitutional Law, The Constitution and Social Reform, Mass Media and the First Amendment, The Death Penalty in Contemporary America, Critical Events in Anglo-American Legal History, Civil Procedure, Pre-trial Litigation, and Trial Techniques.


I currently serve as Reporter to the ABA's Guidelines for Defense Representation in Capital Cases (2d ed.).   The public interest litigations for which I have had primary responsibility include a challenge to the constitutionality of the prisoner exchange treaty between the United States and Mexico; collateral attacks on death penalties imposed in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Virginia, two of which resulted in a gubernatorial clemencies; the defense of two multimillion dollar libel actions; the representation of a literary agent claiming a First Amendment privilege against disclosure of his client's projects; a number of lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act, including one on behalf of the families of four American nuns killed in El Salvador; actions arising out of a rent strike by the tenants of a deteriorating apartment building; two claims on behalf of prisoners seeking damages for illegal arrests and searches; and a suit to nullify discriminatory zoning conditions imposed on a home for disturbed boys.


My private sector experience has been varied, and included representations before state and federal trial and appellate courts and administrative agencies in connection with actions ranging from complex antitrust, commodities, real estate, entertainment, and international controversies to straightforward matrimonial and contract disputes.


I am extensively involved in providing counsel to others in my fields of expertise. In the death penalty area, I actively advise attorneys, contribute to amicus briefs, organize and appear on educational programs for lawyers and judges, and have testified before Congress.  I regularly teach litigation-oriented continuing legal education courses for such organizations as the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the Practicing Law Institute.  I have also submitted extensive written and oral testimony to Congress on whether a sitting President may be indicted.


I am an elected member of the American Law Institute, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation , and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  I have previously chaired the Committee on Civil Rights of  that Association   and been a member of its Committees on Capital Punishment and Communications Law and a consultant to its Committee on Legal History.  I am actively involved
in providing pro bono litigation advice and representation.  My current projects include several arising out of post-September 11 detentions.


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