Associate Professor of Law
Thea Johnson
Camden Campus
Campus Office
  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Courses Taught
  • Expertise

Professor Johnson’s scholarship concerns the development of criminal adversarial systems with an eye towards how lawyers and policymakers can improve the fairness of the criminal justice system. Her recent scholarship focuses on the role of plea bargaining in the criminal system and how relevant stakeholders make decisions about how and when to plea bargain. Her article, “Fictional Pleas,” was selected for inclusion in the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum and as the runner-up for the 2019 American Association of Law Schools’ Criminal Justice Section Junior Scholars’ Paper Competition.

Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers Law, Johnson was an associate professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law where she was awarded Law Professor of the Year in 2019 and 2020. She was also a Thomas C. Grey Fellow at Stanford Law School, and a public defender with both the Federal Defenders of New York and the Criminal Defense Division of The Legal Aid Society in New York.

Professor Johnson graduated from The George Washington University Law School where she spent a semester working for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. She received her degree in history from Harvard University.



  • Lying at Plea Bargaining (work-in-progress)


  • Crisis and Coercive Pleas (forthcoming Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online, Fall 2020)


  • Making Space in the Criminal Law Classroom, Book Chapter in Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion & Equity in the Law School Classroom (forthcoming Spring 2021)


  • Fictional Pleas, 94 L. J. 855 (2019) (selected for the 2018 Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum; selected as the runner-up for the 2019 American Association of Law Schools’ Criminal Justice Section Junior Scholars’ Paper Competition)


  • Public Perceptions of Plea Bargaining, 46 J. Crim. L. 133 (2019)


  • Measuring the Creative Plea Bargain, 92 L. J. 901 (2017)


  • What You Should Have Known Can Hurt You: Knowledge, Access and Brady in the Balance, 28 Geo. Legal Ethics1 (2015)


  • Why Not Treat Drug Crimes As White-Collar Crimes, 60 Wayne L. Rev. 1 (2015) (co-authored with Mark Osler)


  • Common Sense and the Cannibal Cop, 11 J. Civ. Rts. & Civ. Liberties 313 (2015) (co-authored with Andrew Gilden)


  • Guaranteed Access to Safe and Legal Abortions: The True Revolution of Mexico City’s Legal Reforms Regarding Abortions, 44 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 437 (2013), (an earlier version of the article won the 2009 Alice Paul Feminist Jurisprudence Essay Contest, Washington School of Law, American University)  
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminal Trial Practice
  • Evidence