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Wesley Oliver

Associate Professor and Criminal Justice Program Director
School of Law

Room 227 School of Law
Phone: 412.396.5846


J.S.D, Yale University Law School, 2009
LL.M., Yale University Law School, 2004
J.D., University of Virginia, 1996
B.A., University of Virginia, 1992
  • Advanced Criminal Law: Jail to Bail
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Criminal Process

Wesley M. Oliver is associate professor and director of the criminal justice program at Duquesne University School of Law. He teaches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure and constitutional law. His scholarship has examined numerous aspects of criminal law and procedure, including search and seizure, interrogations, material witness detentions, wiretapping, plea bargaining, Prohibition and the history of policing.

Oliver hosts a television program entitled Crime and Punishment on the Pennsylvania Cable Network and served as a legal analyst for NBC News' coverage of the criminal proceedings against Jerry Sandusky. He is a frequent commentator on criminal justice issues, having appeared on ABC World News, CBS This Morning, 48 Hours Investigates, NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show, MSNBC's Ed Show and commented on NPR. Oliver has been quoted by newspapers that include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.

Oliver earned J.S.D. and LL.M. degrees from Yale University and J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Virginia. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.


Please visit Professor Oliver's SSRN page to read a selection of his publications.


Tennessee Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (West 2011) (with Douglas A. Blaze)

Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (pending) (with Gabriel "Jack" Chin)             

The Rise of Modern Police and the Birth of Modern Criminal Procedure (pending)



Material Witness Detentions After al-Kidd, 100 Kentucky Law Journal 125 (2012).   (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1953377)            

Western Union, the American Federation of Labor, Google and the Changing Face of Corporate  Privacy Advocates, 80 Mississippi Law Journal 971 (2012) (Fourth Amendment symposium).

The Modern History of Probable Cause, 78 Tennessee Law Review 377 (2011). (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1594261)

 America's First Wiretapping Controversy in Context and as Context, 34 Hamline Law Review 205 (2011).

The Neglected History of Criminal Procedure, 1850-1940, 62 Rutgers Law Review 447 (2010). (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1463746)

Magistrates' Examinations, Police Interrogations and Miranda-like Rules in the Nineteenth Century,  81 Tulane Law Review 777 (2007). (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=979536)

The Rise and Fall of Material Witness Detention in Nineteenth Century New York, 1 NYU Journal of Law & Liberty 726 (2005). (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1495202)

                  cited by Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d 949, 959 (9th Cir. 2009) (cert. granted)

Toward a Better Categorical Balance of the Costs and Benefits of the Exclusionary Rule, 9 Buffalo Criminal Law Review 100 (2005).

A Round Peg in a Square Hole: Federal Forfeiture of State Professional Licenses, 28 American Journal of Criminal Law 179 (2001).

With an Evil Eye and an Unequal Hand: Pretextual Stops and Doctrinal Remedies to Racial Profiling, 74 Tulane Law Review 1409 (2000).



Portland, Prohibition and Probable Cause: Maine's Role in Shaping Modern Criminal Procedure, 23 Maine Bar Journal 211 (Fall 2008). (available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1341349)

Dred Scott and the Political Question Doctrine, 16 Widener Law Journal 13 (2007)

                 (essay from symposium on 150th anniversary of Dred Scott decision)


NBC News Legal Analyst                                                                               


Jerry Sandusky Trial Daily Commentary for:

·         NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

·         The TODAY Show

·         The News Channel (feeding local affiliates nationwide)

·         Local NBC Affiliates in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre

·         NBC Radio News  

·         Live Analysis Post-Verdict for:

·         MSNBC

·         Affiliates in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Johnstown




CBS This Morning (provided commentary on Penn State scandal)

CBS 48 Hours Investigates (provided commentary on Penn State scandal)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams (commentator on Penn State child abuse scandal)

NBC TODAY Show (multiple appearances discussing Penn State child abuse scandal)

ABC World News with David Muir (discussing Penn State child abuse scandal)

America This Morning (ABC) (discussing Penn State child abuse scandal)

"In Session with the Widener Law and Government Institute" Penn. Cable Network (host of show)

PBS Newshour (local portion), WHYY 12, Wilmington, DE (interviewed about Vice Presidential Debate 2008)

CBS-3, WKYW Philadelphia (interviewed about Presidential Primaries and Vice Presidential Debate 2008)

"207" News Magazine, NBC-6, WCSH Portland, Maine (interviewed about Maine's unique role in Prohibition)

"Smart Talk," WITF-TV (PBS) (guest on program dealing with First Amendment protection in secondary schools)

ABC-27, WHTM Harrisburg (frequent commentator on variety of legal issues)

CBS-21, WHP Harrisburg (frequent commentator on variety of legal issues)

NBC-8, WGAL Harrisburg (frequent commentator on variety of legal issues)



National Public Radio (interviewed about corruption trials of members of Pennsylvania Legislature and Penn State scandal)

ABC Radio News (discussing Penn State scandal)

CBS Radio News (multiple appearances discussing Penn State scandal)

News Radio WDEL, Wilmington, DE (frequent commentator on afternoon news)

"Smart Talk" WITF Public Radio, Harrisburg (frequent guest on public affairs show)     



New York Times (twice quoted about involvement in Ashcroft v. al-Kidd; quoted about Lafler v. Cooper and Frye v. Missouri, commentator on Penn State scandal)

Wall Street Journal (campaign work in Iowa Caucus described; frequent commentator on Penn State scandal)

Washington Post (quoted on Penn State scandal)

USA Today (frequent commentator on Penn State scandal)

Sports Illustrated (quoted on Penn State scandal)

San Francisco Chronicle (quoted about Penn State scandal)

Houston Chronicle (quoted about judge's efforts to hide a trial date from the media)

Chicago Sun-Times (quoted on Penn State scandal)

Dallas Morning News (interviewed about GPS tracking case in U.S. Supreme Court)

Atlanta Journal Constitution (quoted on Penn State matter)

Austin American Statesman (quoted on Penn State scandal)

Philadelphia Inquirer (frequently quoted on criminal justice matters)

Miami Herald (quoted on Penn State matter)

Seattle Times (quoted on Penn State matter)

(Raleigh) News and Observer (quoted on Penn State matter)

New Orleans Times Picayune (quoted on Penn State matter)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (quoted about Penn State scandal)

Portland Press Herald (discussing history of Prohibition)

Knoxville Sentinel (quoted on Penn State matter)

Hartford Courant (quoted on Penn State matter)

Chattanooga Times Free Press (frequently quoted on Tennessee criminal law)

Kansas City Star (quoted on Penn State matter)

Stars and Stripes (quoted on Penn State matter)

Delaware News Journal (frequently quoted on criminal justice matters)

(Harrisburg) Patriot News (frequently quoted on constitutional and criminal issues)




Toward a Common Law of Plea Bargaining, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Annual Criminal Law Section Meeting, Harrisburg, PA, May 31, 2012.

Toward a Common Law of Plea Bargaining, Pennsylvania Superior Court Conference, Harrisburg, PA, April 18, 2012.

Ashcroft v. al-Kidd and Material Witness Detentions, William W. Lipsitt American Inns of Court, Harrisburg, May 9, 2011.

Western Union, the Teamsters, Google, and the Changing Face of Corporate Privacy Advocates, National Judicial Conference, Oxford, MS, March 10, 2011.

Prosecutorial Discretion and Proposed Remedies for Its Abuse, Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Conference, Nashville, TN, August 28, 2010.

The History of Modern Criminal Procedure, Pennsylvania Appellate Courts Conference, Bedford Springs, PA, June 16, 2010.

Commenter on Bentham to Blackstone: The Nineteenth Century Transformation of Criminal Justice by Donald Dripps, Law and Society Conference, Chicago, IL May 28, 2010.

Should the Second Amendment be Incorporated Against the States?, Federalist Society Debate Against Alan Gura, Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA, March 11, 2010.

Blackberries, I-Phones and the Doctrine of Search Incident to Arrest, Widener Law Journal ymposium, Harrisburg, PA, Feb. 22, 2009.

The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Origins of Criminal Procedure, Central States Law School Association Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, October 24, 2009.

Should There Be a Limit on Prosecutorial Discretion?, Federalist Society Debate with Edward Marsico, D.A. for Dauphin County, PA, Widener Law School, November 12, 2008.

Maine's Role in Developing Modern Criminal Procedure, Gignoux Inns of Court, Portland, Maine, October 14, 2008.

Prohibition, Prostitution and Probable Cause, Maine Historical Society, Portland, Maine, October 9, 2008.

Nineteenth Century Prohibition and the Role of Portland, Maine, in Reshaping the Law of Search and Seizure, University of Maine School of Law, March 21, 2008.

Wiretapping and a Nineteenth Century Conception of a Living Constitution, J.S.D. & Fellows Workshop, Yale Law School, October 1, 2007.

Wiretapping and a Nineteenth Century Conception of a Living Constitution, Legal History Colloquium, University of Virginia School of Law,  September 10, 2007.

Dred Scott and the Political Doctrine Question at: Dred Scott After 150 Years, Widener University Law School, April 2, 2007.

Nineteenth Century History of Miranda Warnings at: Cautions and Confessions: Miranda v. Arizona After Forty Years, University of Colorado Law School, October 20, 2006.

Miranda-like Warnings in Nineteenth Century New York, Legal History Colloquium, Harvard Law School, October 9, 2006.

Material Witness Detention in Nineteenth Century New York, Author Lecture Series, NYU Journal of Law and Liberty, New York University School of Law, September 18, 2006.

Honors and Awards

Vincent L. McKusick Award                                                                                                                                                                     

State Bar of Maine Award for Best Article in Maine Bar Journal 2008

June 2009


John H. Streiker Research Grant                                                            

Yale Law School

Summer 2008


Mark DeWolfe Howe Research Grant                                                                  

Harvard Law School

Summer 2005