Thea Johnson joined Maine Law as an associate professor in 2016. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence, as well as a seminar on plea bargaining.

Professor Johnson’s scholarship concerns the development of criminal adversarial systems with an eye towards how lawyers and policymakers can improve the fairness of the criminal justice system. Her recent scholarship focuses on the role of plea bargaining in the criminal system and how relevant stakeholders make decisions about how and when to plea bargain. Her recent article, “Fictional Pleas,” was selected for inclusion in the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum. This article was also selected as the runner-up for the 2019 American Association of Law Schools’ Criminal Justice Section Junior Scholars’ Paper Competition.

Prior to joining the faculty at Maine Law, Johnson was a public defender with both the Federal Defenders of New York and the Criminal Defense Division of The Legal Aid Society in New York. She was also a Thomas C. Grey Fellow at Stanford Law School, where she taught federal litigation and worked with Stanford’s Criminal Justice Center.

Professor Johnson graduated from The George Washington University Law School, where she spent a semester working for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. She received her degree in history from Harvard University.


Selected Publications:

Public Perceptions of Plea Bargaining, _ AM. J. CRIM. L. _ (forthcoming). [SSRN]

Fictional Pleas, 94 IND. L. J. 855 (2019). [SSRN]

Measuring the Creative Plea Bargain, 92 IND. L. J. 901 (2017). [SSRN] [PDF]

Why Not Treat Drug Crimes as White-Collar Crimes?,  61 WAYNE L. REV. 1 (2015), UNIV. of ST. THOMAS (MINN.) LEGAL STUDIES RESEARCH PAPER NO. 15-17 (2015) (with Mark William Osler). [SSRN]

What You Should Have Known Can Hurt You: Knowledge, Access, and Brady in the Balance, 28 GEO. J. LEGAL ETHICS 1 (2015). [SSRN]


Common Sense and the Cannibal Cop, 11 STAN. J. C.R. & C.L. 313 (2015) (with Andrew Gilden). [SSRN]

Guaranteed Access to Safe and Legal Abortions: The True Revolution of Mexico City’s Legal Reforms Regarding Abortion, 44 COLUM. HUM. RTS. L. REV. 2 (2013). [SSRN]