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Cleveland State University Faculty




J.D., University of Michigan, 2000

B.A., English, Goshen College, 1997



Professor Witmer-Rich's research focuses on criminal procedure and criminal law theory, covering areas such as warrants for covert searches, affirmative consent in rape and sexual assault law, the provocation doctrine and pretextual traffic stops. His articles have appeared in journals such as the American Criminal Law Review, the Florida Law Review, Criminal Law and Philosophy, the Pepperdine Law Review, the Case Western Reserve Law Review and the Texas Tech Law Review. He teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure and law and terrorism.

Witmer-Rich is active in ongoing criminal justice reform efforts. He served as a member of the Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force, examining bail and pretrial release practices within the county, and was the principal drafter of the Task Force's "Report and Recommendations" in March 2018. Since 2010, he has served as counsel to the Criminal Rules Committee of the Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, the body charged with drafting amendments to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Witmer-Rich appears regularly in local and national media, commenting on issues of criminal justice and counterterrorism. His awards include an Ohio Faculty Innovator Award from the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, the CSU College of Law Alumni Association Stapleton Award for Faculty Excellence and the 2015 Faculty of the Year Award (student-selected).

Following law school, Witmer-Rich clerked for Judge M. Blane Michael on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and for Judge Joseph R. Goodwin on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. He then worked as a litigation associate for three years at Jones Day in Cleveland.

Before joining the faculty in 2009, Witmer-Rich practiced at the Federal Public Defender's Office, where he represented defendants charged with a wide range of federal crimes, including a three-month terrorism trial in Toledo, Ohio. He also represented several detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in habeas corpus proceedings.