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Gabriel "Jack" Chin

Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, and Director of Clinical Legal Education


LL.M. Yale Law School 1995

J.D., cum laude University of Michigan Law School 1988

B.A. History, Wesleyan University 1985


Gabriel "Jack" Chin is a teacher and scholar of Immigration Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race and Law. His scholarship has appeared in the Penn, UCLA, Cornell, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law reviews and the Yale, Duke and Georgetown law journals among others.  The U.S. Supreme Court cited his work on collateral consequences of criminal conviction in Chaidez v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 1103, 1109 (2013), in which the Court called his Cornell Law Review article “the principal scholarly article on the subject” and in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), which agreed with his contention that the Sixth Amendment required defense counsel to advise clients about potential deportation consequences of guilty pleas.  Justice Sotomayor cited his Penn Law Review article in her dissent in Utah v. Strieff, 136 S. Ct. 2056, 2070 (2016).

He teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Immigration, and is Director of Clinical Legal Education.  He also works with students on professional projects. His efforts with students to repeal Jim Crow laws still on the books includes a successful 2003 petition to the Ohio legislature to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, 136 years after the state disapproved it during the ratification process. He and his students also achieved the repeal of anti-Asian alien land laws which were on the books in Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming. For this work, "A" Magazine named him one of the “25 Most Notable Asians in America.” In connection with classes with a practical component, he has tried felony cases and argued criminal appeals with his students.

Professor Chin earned a B.A. at Wesleyan, a J.D. from Michigan and an LL.M. from Yale. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch in Denver and practiced with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and The Legal Aid Society of New York. He taught at the Arizona, Cincinnati, NYU and Western New England law schools before joining the UC Davis faculty. His professional activities include service as Reporter on the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act, approved in 2009 by the Uniform Law Commission, and for the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Collateral Sanctions and Discretionary Disqualification of Convicted Persons (3d ed. 2003).  Chin is a founding board member of the Collateral Consequences Resource Center and a member of the American Law Institute.

Subject Areas

Criminal Law And Procedure, Immigration Law And Policy, Civil Rights, Asian Americans And The Law

Selected Career Highlights

  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Chester H. Smith Professor of Law, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Rufus King Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • Visiting Professor, NYU School of Law
  • Asst. Professor of Law, Western New England College School of Law

Selected Publications

Model law proposes automatic expungement of non-conviction records

Pleading Guilty Without Client Consent, 57 William & Mary Law Review 1309 (2016)

Is Multicultural America the Product of A Mistake?:  The 1965 Immigration Act and Evidence From Roll Call Votes, 2015 University of Illinois Law Review 1239  (with Douglas M. Spencer)

Reasonable but Unconstitutional: Racial Profiling and the Radical Objectivity of Whren v. United States, 82 George Washington Law Review 882 (2015) (with Charles Vernon)

Race and the Disappointing Right to Counsel, 122 Yale Law Journal 2236 (2013)

The New Civil Death: Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Conviction, 160 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1789 (2012)

The Unconstitutionality of State Regulation of Immigration Through Criminal Law, 61 Duke Law Journal 251 (2011) (with Marc Miller)

Illegal Entry as Crime, Deportation as Punishment: Immigration Status and the Criminal Process, 58 UCLA Law Review 1417 (2011)

A Legal Labyrinth: Issues Raised by Arizona Senate Bill SB1070, 25 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 47 (2010) (with Carissa Byrne Hessick, Toni M. Massaro & Marc L. Miller), reprinted in a slightly different form as The Constitutionality of Arizona SB 1070 and Other State Immigration Laws, American Constitution Society Issue Brief (Nov. 2010) (with Toni M. Massaro and Marc L. Miller)

Unjustified: The Practical Irrelevance of the Justification/Excuse Distinction, 43 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 79 (2009) (symposium)

The Jena Six and the History of Racially Compromised Justice in Louisiana, 44 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 361 (2009) (symposium)

Beyond the Super-Majority: Post-Adoption Ratification of the Equality Amendments, 50 Arizona Law Review 25 (2009) (with Anjali Abraham) (faculty symposium)

Why Senator John McCain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship, 107 Michigan Law Review FirstImpressions 1 (2008). Featured in Adam Liptak, A Hint of New Life to McCain Birth Issue, N.Y. Times, July 11, 2008, at A11 (

Unexplainable on Grounds of Race: Doubts About Yick Wo, 2008 University of Illinois Law Review 1359

The Tyranny of the Minority: Jim Crow and the Counter-Majoritarian Difficulty, 43 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 65 (2008) (with Randy Wagner)

Book Chapter, Chae Chan Ping and Fong Yue Ting: The Origins of Plenary Power, Immigration Law Stories 7 (David Martin & Peter Schuck, eds., Foundation 2005)

Reconstruction, Felon Disenfranchisement and the Right to Vote: Did the Fifteenth Amendment Repeal Section 2 of the Fourteenth?, 92 Georgetown Law Journal 259 (2004), reprinted in 21 Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fees Annual Handbook Ch. 11 (Steven Saltzman, ed., 2005)

The “Voting Rights Act of 1867:” The Constitutionality of Federal Regulation of Suffrage During Reconstruction, 82 North Carolina Law Review 1581 (2004) (symposium)

Rehabilitating Unconstitutional Statutes: A Case Study of Cotton v. Fordice, 71 University of Cincinnati Law Review 421 (2003) (faculty symposium)

Are Collateral Sanctions Premised on Conduct or Conviction? The Case of Abortion Doctors, 30 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1685 (2003) (symposium)

Race, the War on Drugs, and the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction, 6 Iowa Journal of Gender, Race & Justice 253 (2003) (symposium), reprinted in Civil Penalties, Social Consequences 27 (Christopher Mele & Teresa Miller eds., Routledge 2005)

Effective Assistance of Counsel and the Consequences of Guilty Pleas, 87 Cornell Law Review 697 (2002) (with Richard W. Holmes, Jr.)

Preserving Racial Identity: Population Patterns and the Application of Anti-Miscegenation Laws to Asian Americans, 1910-1950, 9 Asian Law Journal 1 (2002) (with Hrishi Karthikeyan)

Book Chapter, Twenty Years on Trial: Takuji Yamashita’s Struggle for Citizenship 103, Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Annette Gordon-Reed ed., Oxford 2002)

Is There a Plenary Power Doctrine? A Tentative Apology and Prediction for Our Strange but Unexceptional Constitutional Immigration Law, 14 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 257 (2000) (symposium)


Hong Yen Chang project. Professor Chin and the UC Davis APALSA successfully obtained posthumous admission to the California Bar for Hong Yen Chang, the first Chinese American lawyer in the United States. In re Hong Yen Chang, 60 Cal. 4th 1169, 344 P.3d 288 (2015), overruling In re Hong Yen Chang, 24 P. 156, 84 Cal. 163 (1890). Represented by the UC Davis California Supreme Court Clinic and then the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP,  the project was honored by the APA Bar Association of Los Angeles in 2016, and by the Asian American Bar Association of Sacramento in 2015.  Details and documents can be found at Gabriel J. Chin, Hong Yen Chang, Lawyer and Symbol, 21 UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal 1 (2015-16). The story was covered on NPR's Morning Edition and in Maura Dolan, Chinese Immigrant, Denied Law License in 1890, Gets One Posthumously, L.A. Times, Mar. 16, 2015. 

Chinese Restaurant Project.   Professor Chin and John Ormonde '14 identified a previously unknown effort to eliminate Chinese restaurants from the United States using legal techniques from discriminatory zoning to prohibitions on white women working or dining in Chinese restaurants.  Their paper, The War Against Chinese Restaurants, will appear in the Duke Law Journal.  The research was discussed by, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Colorlines, and The Bob Zadek Show.  A shorter version was published by the Cato Institute's Regulation magazine.

Service Activities

Member, UC Davis Police Accountability Board

Founding Board Member, Collateral Consequence Resource Center