Melvyn Zarr

Melvyn Zarr has been at the center of legal instruction and public policy related to criminal law and procedure in Maine for 40 years. After 40 years of full-time teaching, he now teaches in the Fall semester only. Students describe his classes as fresh and innovative, and among their favorites during their law school careers. His “Zarrian approach” to learning and the “Zarrian Principles,” such as “The law is a Lawyer-Driven Process,” are cemented in Maine Law tradition and serve as an educational foundation for generations of law students.

Professor Zarr began his career in 1963 as a civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he developed an expertise in helping his clients, including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., find refuge in the federal courts. He also conducted civil rights litigation in Mississippi and Alabama. He later served as co-director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, focusing on poverty law.

Professor Zarr contributes generously to the legal community. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute. He helps draft Maine criminal statutes as a member of the Maine Criminal Advisory Commission, which advises the Legislature on criminal law matters. Professor Zarr helps draft Maine criminal rules as Consultant to the Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure. He was formerly a federal magistrate. Professor Zarr was named the Law School’s 2003 Teacher of the Year for teaching excellence.

Selected Publications

The Supreme Court’s Long and Perhaps Unnecessary Struggle To Find a Standard of Culpability To Regulate the Federal Exclusionary Remedy for Fourth/Fourteenth Amendment Violations, 62 ME. L. REV. 265 (2010).  [PDF]

Recollections of My Time in the Civil Rights Movement, 61 ME. L. REV. 365 (2009). [PDF]