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Joseph F. Rice School of Law


Seth W. Stoughton

Title: Professor of Law
Professor (Affiliate) of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Joseph F. Rice School of Law
Phone: 803-777-3055

1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208


CV [pdf]


Seth W. Stoughton


Seth Stoughton is a Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he is the Faculty Director of the Excellence in Policing & Public Safety (EPPS) Program.  He holds an affiliate position as a Professor in the university’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Seth’s scholarship on policing has appeared in the Emory Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and other top journals. He is the principal co-author of Evaluating Police Uses of Force (NYU Press 2020), and has written book chapters about police misconduct, the use of force, and use-of-force review. He is a frequent lecturer on policing issues; has regularly appeared on national and international media; has written about policing for The New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME, and other news publications; and has filed multiple amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. Seth has served as an expert in a number of high profile police cases, including testifying in the criminal prosecutions of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted for killing George Floyd, and Kim Potter, who was convicted for killing Daunte Wright, and providing expert analysis related to the police killing of Christian Glass and actions taken by the Seattle Police Department during the 2020 protests. He has testified for and against officers in both criminal and civil cases and provided independent investigation and review of use of force incidents.

Seth teaches Police Law & Policy, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and the Regulation of Vice. He is also instrumental in the design and delivery of a suite of professional development courses for police executives through the EPPS Program, including Principles of Leadership and Management, Collaborative Communications, Evidence-Based Policing, Civil Rights for Police Executives, and others.  Seth was honored with the School of Law’s Outstanding Classroom Teacher Award in 2016 and 2021 and the Outstanding Faculty Publication Award (Book) in 2021, and with the Honorable Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Chapter of the National Black Law Students Association’s Eboni S. Nelson Award in 2015 and 2018.

Prior to attending law school, Seth served as an officer with the Tallahassee Police Department for five years. In that time, he trained other officers, helped write policies to govern the use of new technologies, earned multiple instructor and operator certifications, and taught personal safety and self-defense courses in the community. In 2004, he received a Formal Achievement Award for his role as a founding member of the Special Response Team. After leaving the police department, Seth spent three years as an Investigator in the Florida Department of Education's Office of Inspector General, where he handled a variety of criminal and administrative investigations. In 2008, he received a statewide award for his work combating private school tuition voucher fraud.

Seth earned his B.A. in English from Florida State University. He attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was an articles editor on the Virginia Law Review, an Elsie Hughes Cabell Scholar, and the recipient of the Thomas Marshall Miller Prize. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Kenneth F. Ripple of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Prior to joining the faculty at South Carolina, Seth was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, where he taught legal writing and a Regulation of Vice seminar.

Follow him on Twitter @PoliceLawProf.


  • Criminal Law (LAWS 524)
  • Criminal Procedure (LAWS 544)
  • Police Law & Policy (LAWS 762)
  • Regulation of Vice (LAWS 756)


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