John W. Poulos

John W. Poulos

Position Title
Professor of Law Emeritus

2114 King Hall

Professor John Poulos is an expert on criminal law and procedure.

"When you think of a crime, what are the fundamental requirements?" he asks. "There are many protections in the Constitution that apply to crime and criminal behavior, but often these protections are circumvented because we don't have a clear idea of what a crime is."

Such topics have long occupied Poulos, who has argued criminal cases-and particularly death penalty cases -- at every judicial level in the land. "Most of what I teach deals with how the state exercises its power against the individual and how the individual can exercise his rights against the state," Poulos said.

Education and Degree(s)
  • A.B. Economics, Stanford University, 1958
  • J.D. UC Hastings College of the Law, 1962
Honors and Awards
  • Fulbright scholar 1976-77, legal adviser to Afghanistan's minister of justice
  • Author of The Anatomy of Criminal Justice, 1976
  • Roger Traynor Summer Research Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law, 1991
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Criminal Law And Procedure
  • Constitutional Law


The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, in The Constitutions of the Countries of the World, (Oceana Publications, 1980)

The Biography of a Homicide: A Case Study from Arrest through Trial, (Foundation Press, 1976)

The Dynamics of Criminal Corrections: A Case Study from Conviction through Parole, Foundation Press, 1976)

The Anatomy of Criminal Justice, (Foundation Press, 1976) (reprint of "Biography" and "Dynamics" in a single volume)

A Rationale For the Specific Intent-General Intent Dichotomy In Anglo-American Criminal Law

The Judicial Process and the Substantive Criminal Law: The Legacy of Roger Traynor, 29 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 429 (1995)

The Judicial Philosophy of Roger Traynor, 46 Hastings L. J. 1643 (1995)

The Lucas Court and the Penalty Phase of the Capital Trial: The Original Understanding, 7 San Diego L. Rev. 521 (1990)

Liability Rules, Sentencing Factors and the Sixth Amendment Right to a Jury Trial: A Preliminary Inquiry, 44 U. Miami L. Rev. 643 (1990)

The Lucas Court and Capital Punishment: The Original Understanding of the Special Circumstances, 390 Santa Clara L. Rev. 333 (1990)

Capital Punishment, the Legal Process, and the Emergence of the Lucas Court in California, 3 U.C. Davis L. Rev., 157, (1990)

The Metamorphosis of the Law of Arson, 521 Mo. L. Rev. 295 (1986)

The Supreme Court, Capital Punishment and the Substantive Criminal Law: The Rise and Fall of Mandatory Capital Punishment, 28 Ariz. L. Rev. 143 (1986)

The Trial of a Celebrated Criminal Cases: An Analysis of Evidentiary Objections, 56 Tul. L. Rev. 602 (1982)

Speedy Trial, Slow Implementation: The ABA Standards in Search of a Statehouse, 28 Hastings L.J. 357 (1976) (with Coleman)

Review of Intermediate Appellate Court Decision in California, 15 Hastings L.J. 11 (1973) (with Varner)

Quasi Contractual Recovery -- breach of Oral Contract to Perform Services in Exchange for Compensation by Will, 12 Hast. Law J. 408 (1961)

Foreword: The Academy in the Courts: A Symposium on Academic Freedom, 16 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 143 (1983)

People of the State of California v. Jonathan Todd Byers, U.S. Supreme Court) (brief for respondent) (1976)

Recent Developments in Criminal Law, 18th Annual Summer Program for California Lawyers (University of California, Extension) (1972)