Melanie D. Wilson

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
Primary office:
505 Green Hall

Melanie Wilson serves as both a professor and the associate dean for academic affairs.  As the academic dean, she oversees the law school’s twelve joint degree programs, eight certificate programs, its academic regulations, course scheduling, the Registrar’s office and collaborates with other units in the law school on all other academic matters.  Wilson is also a criminal procedure scholar.  Her scholarship views the world of criminal procedure from the perspective of a former federal prosecutor and seeks to reconcile the desire of participants in the criminal justice system (particularly prosecutors, judges and police officers) to act ethically and professionally with the sometimes competing imperative that guilty defendants be swiftly and successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced proportionally. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where she served on the Law Review. Before turning to law teaching, Wilson served as an assistant United States attorney in Georgia for six years.  Before that she spent four years as an assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia. She also clerked for Richard Freeman, United States District Court Judge, Northern District of Georgia. She joined the KU Law faculty in 2007. In 2011, Wilson sat on an expert panel at William & Mary Law School discussing U.S. v. Jones4, a Supreme Court case focusing on whether the government may attach a GPS to a car without a warrant and whether receiving information from the device is a search. As part of the U.S. Courts Landmarks series, Wilson spoke about the important Fourth Amendment case Mapp v. Ohio (1961)5. And in 2013, Wilson provided expertise on a HuffPost Live panel6 discussing warrantless wiretapping and the future of privacy and national security. She presented "The Moral Impediment to Justice: How the Multiple Occupational Identities Embedded in the Role of Prosecutor Impede Prosecutors from Complying with their Ethical Obligation to 'Do Justice'" at Chapman University School of Law's 2014 Chapman Dialogue. 

Courses Taught:
  • Art of Advocacy
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence


Representative Publications

Criminal Procedure in Practice (forthcoming 2014) (with Paul Marcus and Jack Zimmermann); 
Criminal Procedure, Eighth Edition (with Joseph G. Cook and Paul Marcus) (LexisNexis 2014); 
Gilbert Law Summaries, Criminal Procedure, 18th Edition (West Academic Publishing 2011) (with Paul Marcus); 
Criminal Procedure, Seventh Edition (with Joseph G. Cook and Paul Marcus) (LexisNexis 2009);
Anti-Justice, __ Tenn. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2015); 
Juror Privacy in the Sixth Amendment Balance, 2012 Utah Law Review 2023 (2013); 
Quieting Cognitive Bias With Standards for Witness Communications, 62 Hastings L.J. 1227 (2011); 
Improbable Cause: A Case for Judging Police by a More Majestic Standard, 15 Berk. J. Crim. L. 259 (2010); 
“You Crossed the Fog Line!” – Kansas, Pretext, and the Fourth Amendment, 58 Kan. L. Rev. 1179-1220 (2010); 
An Exclusionary Rule for Police Lies, 47 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1-55 (2010); 
The Return of Reasonableness: Saving the Fourth Amendment From the Supreme Court, 59 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 1-60 (2008);
The Price of Pretrial Release: Can We Afford to Keep Our Fourth Amendment Rights?, 92 Iowa L. Rev. 159-211 (2006).


Research Interests
Federal criminal procedure, Fourth Amendment, prosecutorial ethics.

J.D., A.B.J., University of Georgia, 1990, 1987.

Georgia 1990; Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals; Northern, Middle and Southern federal district courts in Georgia.

Career History
Clerk, Judge Richard C. Freeman (deceased), United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 1992-1993; Associate, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, 1993-1995; Adjunct Professor, Emory Law School, 1993-1999; Assistant Attorney General, State of Georgia, 1995-1999; Assistant United States Attorney, Middle District of Georgia, 1999-2001, Northern District of Georgia, 2001-2005; Associate Professor, John Marshall Law School, 2005-2007; Associate Professor, University of Kansas, 2007-2011; Professor, 2011-present; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 2011-present.

Order of the Coif.

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms