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School of Law


Seth W. Stoughton

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

1525 Senate Street
Room 325
Columbia, SC 29208


CV [pdf]


Seth W. Stoughton


Seth Stoughton is a Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a Professor (Affiliate) in the university’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He is a core faculty member with the Rule of Law Collaborative. He studies on policing and how it is regulated, and his scholarship has appeared in the Emory Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, other top journals. He is the principal co-author of Evaluating Police Uses of Force (NYU Press 2020), and has written book chapters about the police misconduct, the use of force, and use-of-force review. He is a frequent lecturer on policing issues; regularly appears 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.  In 2021, he testified as a use-of-force expert for the prosecution in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted for killing George Floyd.

Stoughton teaches Police Law & Policy, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and the Regulation of Vice.  He 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.

Stoughton 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, Stoughton 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.

Stoughton 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, Stoughton 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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