Program for Public Discourse
Anne Shea Ransdell and William Garland “Buck” Ransdell, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law
UNC School of Law
Carissa Byrne Hessick is the Anne Shea Ransdell and William Garland “Buck” Ransdell, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she also serves as the Director of the Prosecutors and Politics Project. Her teaching and research interests include criminal law, the structure of the criminal justice system, criminal sentencing and child pornography crimes. Hessick is the author of multiple law review articles, essays and op eds on plea bargaining, prosecutors, Sixth Amendment sentencing rights and criminal statutes. Her work has appeared in the California Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the L.A. Times, the UCLA Law Review and the Virginia Law Review, among others. She founded the Prosecutors and Politics Project in 2018 and also currently serves as the Reporter for the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Sentencing Standards Task Force.
Hessick received her B.A. from Columbia University. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, she won the 1999 American Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship. Hessick is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and winner of the Potter Stewart Prize for the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals. After graduating from law school, Hessick clerked for Judge Barbara S. Jones on the Southern District of New York and for Judge A. Raymond Randolph on the D.C. Circuit. She also worked as a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City. Before joining the faculty at Carolina Law, Hessick taught on the faculties at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. She also spent two years as a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School.