Areas of Expertise
- Common Law
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Criminal Justice Politics
- Criminal Law
Carissa Byrne Hessick joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2016. She serves as the Anne Shea Ransdell and William Garland “Buck” Ransdell, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law and 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, the powers and selection of 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 she currently serves as the Reporter for the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Sentencing Standards Task Force.
Hessick attended 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, she 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.
- J.D., Yale University (2002)
- B.A., Linguistics, Columbia College of Columbia University (1999)
Nondelegation and Criminal Law (C. Hessick and F.A. Hessick), 107 VA. L. REV. (forthcoming 2021).
Picking Prosecutors (with M. Morse), 105 IOWA L. REV. 1537 (2020).
In the Media
- C. Hessick and Rodney 3L: Give Nebraskans a choice in county attorney elections (Omaha World-Herald)
- C. Hessick: What the Judge Overseeing Michael Flynn’s Case Can Do Now (Slate)
- C. Hessick: Is the Coronavirus Really a Biological Weapon? (Slate)
- C. Hessick: The Supreme Court Let States Kill the Insanity Defense (Slate)
- Few Elections for Prosecutors Give Voters a Choice: Report by C. Hessick (Crime Report)
- C. Hessick: The Battle for the Constitution Bribery Is Right There in the Constitution (The Atlantic)
- An Illusion of Justice: C. Hessick Quoted (Washington Post)
- Carissa Byrne Hessick Wants to Hold Prosecutors Accountable (Ms. Magazine)
- C. Hessick: Elizabeth Warren’s Proposal to Imprison More Corporate Executives Is a Bad Idea (Slate)
- C. Hessick and Jenny Cofer 2L: Voters Need More Information About Their Prosecutors (Kansas City Star)
- C. Hessick and Cofer 2L Op-Ed: NC Campaign Finances Need Scrutiny (News and Observer)
- Op Ed: C. Hessick and Rachel Geissler 1L Discuss Pennsylvania Prosecutor Elections (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Carissa Hessick and Alison Rossi 1L: California Voters Deserve to Know Who Is Bankrolling Our District Attorneys (Los Angeles Times)
- Child Porn Gets Longer Sentences than Rape, Molestation, C. Hessick Quoted (Bloomberg BNA)