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William G. Otis

Adjunct Professor of Law

B.A., University of North Carolina; J.D., Stanford

University of North Carolina, BA, 1968; Stanford Law School, JD, 1974, Ohlman Prize for Legal Writing.  Professor Otis has held a number of positions in...

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University of North Carolina, BA, 1968; Stanford Law School, JD, 1974, Ohlman Prize for Legal Writing.  Professor Otis has held a number of positions in the federal government:  Chief of the Appellate Division, US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia; Counselor to the Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration; and Special Counsel to President George H. W. Bush.  He has written several op-ed pieces on criminal law for USA Today, Forbes, the Washington Post, and US News & World Report; has been interviewed and quoted by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; has testified as an expert witness before Congress; has appeared on various network programs such as MSNBC's Hardball, the O'Reilly Factor, Sixty Minutes and the PBS News Hour; and is a contributor to the blogs Crime and Consequences and Powerline.

In the News

"Poll: Americans Reject Black Lives Matter’s Myth of Racist Police," coverage by PoliZette, August 4, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Trump scores first favorable ruling on travel ban at Supreme Court, but pitfalls remain," coverage by the Washington Examiner, June 28, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"SCOTUS Delivers Trump Win: Lifts Most of Block on Travel Ban," coverage by Lifezette.com, June 27, 2016, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Trump lashes out at Russia probe; Pence hires a lawyer," coverage by The Washington Post, June 15, 2017, mentioning an article by Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Why Is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Ignoring Special Counsel Laws?," coverage by People's Pundit Daily, June 15, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

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All News

"Poll: Americans Reject Black Lives Matter’s Myth of Racist Police," coverage by PoliZette, August 4, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Trump scores first favorable ruling on travel ban at Supreme Court, but pitfalls remain," coverage by the Washington Examiner, June 28, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"SCOTUS Delivers Trump Win: Lifts Most of Block on Travel Ban," coverage by Lifezette.com, June 27, 2016, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Trump lashes out at Russia probe; Pence hires a lawyer," coverage by The Washington Post, June 15, 2017, mentioning an article by Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Why Is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Ignoring Special Counsel Laws?," coverage by People's Pundit Daily, June 15, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Robert Mueller should recuse himself from Russia investigation," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor William G. Otis, in USA Today, June 14, 2017.

"A Federal Judge Says Mandatory Minimum Sentences Often Don't Fit The Crime," broadcast by NPR/Morning Edition, June 1, 2017, featuring an interview with Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"This Week On The Call In: Criminal Justice Reform," coverage on NPR, May 21, 2017, featuring Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Former Prosecutors Rip Paul, Leahy Push for Sentencing Leniency," coverage by Lifezette, May 18, 2017, quoting Adjunct Profesor William G. Otis.

 "Does US need a new crime crackdown? Prosecutors see generational divide.", coverage in The Christian Science Monitor, May 17, 2017, quoting Professor William Otis.

"Sentencing Reform – And Reversal – In The Trump DOJ," coverage by WBUR Boston (NPR), May 16, 2017, a conversation with Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Comey, Stuck in the Swamp," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor William Otis, in U.S. News & World Report, on May 12, 2017.

"Reactions to Sessions’s call for tougher sentencing," coverage by The Washington Post, May 12, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Judges Can Blunt Harsh Gun Sentences, SCOTUS Says," coverage in Bloomberg BNA News, April 6, 2017, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Sessions Seeks To Dismantle Obama's Plan To Control Local Police Departments," coverage in Western Journalism, April 5, 2017, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Trump’s Orders Bring ‘New Day’ for Law Enforcement," coverage in Lifezette.com, February 14, 2017, quoting Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Obama Prison Break Continues: Nearing 1,000 Commutations," coverage in Lifezette, October 28, 2016, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Death penalty in Nebraska: Periodic rise and fall of opposition," coverage by Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), October 16, 2016, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Murders in U.S. Jump 10.8%," coverage in The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2016, quoting Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Where We Got Marilyn Mosby and the Amerika Stinks Crowd," a blog by Professor Bill Otis, in Crime and Consequences, July 28, 2016.

"Hillary Clinton: Too big for federal brig," coverage in the Statesman Journal, July 11, 2016, featuring Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

"Seven Questions for Director Comey," coverage in Crime and Consequences, July 7, 2016, mentioning Professor William Otis.

"Hillary Clinton’s too big for the federal brig," coverage in San Francisco Gate, July 6, 2016, mentioning Professor William Otis.

A Judge’s Recall Is Warranted for an Indecent Sentence,” a piece by Adjunct Professor William G. Otis, in The New York Times, June 8, 2016.

Pros and Cons: Our Criminal Justice System at Work – Podcast,” May 21, 2016, a Federalist Society’s Practice Groups Podcast with Professor William G. Otis.

"Criminal justice system needs fixing," coverage by Tulsa Business & Legal News, April 6, 2016, mentioning that Adjunct Professor William Otis was a speaker at a seminar on sentencing reform held at University of Tulsa College of Law.

"Reformer Sen. Cruz and brutal Mr. Hyde," coverage by The Statesman Journal, February 6, 2016, mentioning Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Let's remember why we locked these people up,"  coverage inThe Roanoke Times, November 15, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis

Death Penalty Debate On University Of Arkansas Campus,” coverage by KNWA (Fayetteville, AR), November 5, 2015, featuring Professor William Otis.

"Six thousand prisoners will be released in the US because of overcrowding," coverage by World Weekly, October 7, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

Crime Surges as Feds Restrain Police, Relax Sentences, Revive 1970s Just Before 2016 Election,” coverage by Breitbart, Oct. 6, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"California’s new Death Row — Virginia," coverage in SF Gate, September 30, 2015, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

U.S. judge pauses at cutting sentence of D.C. drug lord’s associate,” coverage in the Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor William G. Otis.

An opinion piece by Adjunct Professor William Otis, in The Detroit News, July 30, 2015.

"Last Man Standing," Slate, July 29, 2015, a profile of Adjunct Professor William Otis featuring Adjunct Professors Lee Liberman Otis and Kenneth Jost, L'81.

"Pardons Shouldn’t Take the Role of the Law and Courts," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor William G. Otis, in The New York Times, January 26, 2015.

"In a Safer Age, U.S. Rethinks Its ‘Tough on Crime’ System," coverage in The New York Times, January 13, 2014, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"It’s Perfectly Reasonable to Require an Admission for Parole," an opinion piece in the New York Times, November 13, 2014, by Professor William Otis.

"Rep. Richmond wants sentences reduced more for good behavior at federal prisons," coverage in The Time-Picayune, June 24, 2014, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Judge: Holder ‘Disrespected’ Judicial Branch In Sentencing Change," coverage in the National Review Online, April 10, 2014, quoting Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Would you trust the system if your kid were on trial?" Statesman Journal, January 22, 2014, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Mandatory life sentences are an injustice," an opinion piece in the Grand Island Independent, January 22, 2014, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"Prosecutors Draw Fire for Sentences Called Harsh," coverage in the New York Times, December 5, 2013, featuring Adjunct Professor William G. Otis. His perspective was also cited in the ABA Journal and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 6, 2013.

"Holder Calls for New Approach to Prosecuting Low-Level Drug Crimes," PBS "NewsHour" with Judy Woodruff, August 12, 2013, featuring Adjunct Professor William Otis.

"The Latest In The Debate Over Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," NPR's Diane Rehm Show, August 8, 2013, featuring Professor Paul Butler and Adjunct Professor William Otis.

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