Faculty News

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    Congressman David Cicilline quietly paid a lunch-hour visit to RWU Law, reminiscing about his law school days, and reflecting on today's divided Congress.
  • Professor Niki Kuckes
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  • Yelnosky on Tuition and Guarantee
    RI Lawyers Weekly speaks with Dean Michael Yelnosky about Affordable Excellence, the Clinical Guarantee and "giving young lawyers leg up" in a today's market.

David M. Zlotnick

David M. Zlotnick
Professor of Experiential Education

J.D., Harvard
B.A., State University of New York at Binghamton

Leave of Absence (2013-2014)

After graduating from the Harvard Law School, cum laude, Professor Zlotnick clerked for a federal appellate judge, worked as a white collar defense attorney in a national law firm, and served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. In 1995, Professor Zlotnick founded a litigation project for the public interest group, Families Against Mandatory Minimums ("FAMM"), which opposes the indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum penalties for non-violent crimes. As the Litigation Director and afterwards, Dean Zlotnick has worked on U.S. Supreme Court cases as co-counsel and as amicus curie. In 2002, he was selected to be a Soros Senior Justice Fellow to document judicial opposition to the federal sentencing regime. Professor Zlotnick's work on sentencing issues has received coverage in a variety of media including; Rolling Stone, BBC Television, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has also testified before the Judiciary Committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives and his articles on sentencing and other subjects have appeared in top fifty legal journals including, most recently, the Colorado Law Review.

Professor Zlotnick teaches Criminal law, Criminal Procedure, and Trial Advocacy. His students appreciate his quick wit, his focus on problem solving, and his funny exams. More recently, he has sought to infuse his teaching with lessons he has learned from yoga and meditation. This process was accelerated in 2008 when he was awarded a Contemplative Practice Fellowship by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society to teach a course in trial advocacy that integrated mindfulness concepts and practices. He has also taught at the Washington College of Law at American University and Stetson College of Law and has been a Visiting Scholar at the George Washington University Law School.


Selected Publications


The Future of Federal Sentencing Policy: Learning Lessons from Republican Judicial Appointees in the Guidelines Era, 79 University of Colorado Law Review 1 (2008)

Sentencing Rhetoric in the Post-Booker Era, 11 Roger Williams University Law Review 449 (2006)

The War Within the War on Crime: The Congressional Assault on Judicial Sentencing Discretion, 57 Southern Methodist University Law Review 211 (2004)

Shouting into the Wind: District Court Judges and Federal Sentencing Policy, 9 Roger Williams University Law Review 645 (2004)

The Buddha's Parable & Legal Rhetoric, 58 Washington and Lee Law Review 957 (2001)

Justice Scalia & His Critics: An Exploration of Justice Scalia's Fidelity to His Constitutional Methodology, 48 Emory Law Journal 101 (1999)

Battered Women & Justice Scalia, 41 Arizona Law Review 847 (1999)

Empowering the Battered Woman: The Use of Criminal Contempt Sanctions to Enforce Civil Protection Orders, 56 Ohio State Law Journal 1153 (1995)