Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, is the 2010 winner of the Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award. This award, created in honor of Chancellor Alexander Heard when he retired in 1982, recognizes a full-time faculty member at Vanderbilt University whose research has made distinctive contributions to the understanding of problems of contemporary society.
“Nancy serves as a model of how academia can impact our nation’s legal system,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos said. “She plays a vital role in shaping the criminal justice system at both the federal and state levels as a member of the prestigious Advisory Committee of the United States Judicial Conference on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which is responsible for proposing changes in the rules of procedure used in every federal criminal proceeding. She ranks among the nation’s top five contributors to the field of criminal procedure and perhaps the leading scholar on reform of habeas corpus litigation in the federal court system.”
Professor King is an expert in the field of criminal procedure. She recently led a national study of habeas litigation in U.S. District Courts funded by an award from the National Institute of Justice. She has authored or co-authored two important treatises on criminal procedure and the leading criminal procedure casebook as well as more than two dozen articles and book chapters. Her work focuses on the post-investigative features of the criminal process, including plea bargaining, trials, juries, evidence, sentencing, appeals, double jeopardy and post-conviction review.
Professor King served as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference for six years and presently serves the committee as as Assistant Reporter. In 2005, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Research at Vanderbilt for her research on jury sentencing, "Jury Sentencing in Practice: A Three-State Study" (with Rosevelt Noble, published in 57 Vanderbilt Law Review 885, 2004).
Professor King received a $2,500 award and an engraved silver tray, and she will be designated the Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor for 2010-11.