Shima Baradaran Baughman

Woodruff J. Deem Professor of Law

Shima Baradaran Baughman has returned to BYU Law School as the Woodruff J. Deem Professor of Law and a Distinguished Fellow at the Wheatley Institute. She is one of the top cited faculty in her field and a nationally recognized expert on bail, prosecutors, and police. Her current scholarship examines criminal justice policy, forgiveness, prosecutors, bail, police reform, and how religious institutions impact criminal justice reform.  Baughman has worked with empiricists on experiments involving advanced empirical modeling and randomization, including the largest global field experiment in the world. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, on National Public Radio, the Economist, the Washington Post, Forbes and other media outlets and she has been invited to present her work at Stanford, Cornell, Michigan, Texas, NYU, UCLA and many other law schools and to groups of federal and state judges and attorneys across the country. Her articles have been published in many top journals including University of Pennsylvania Law ReviewUSC Law ReviewGeorgetown Law Journal, Texas Law ReviewGeorge Washington Law ReviewMinnesota Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Boston University Law Review and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Her 2018 book, The Bail Book: A Comprehensive Look at Bail in America's Criminal Justice System with Cambridge University Press was the first book in the third wave of bail reform. Baughman is also a coauthor of Criminal Law: Case Studies and Controversies (5th Ed Aspen), with Paul Robinson and Michael Cahill, now in its fifth edition. She is also coauthor of the most popular criminal law student study aid, Examples & Explanations in Criminal Law (8th edition) (with Richard G. Singer & John Q. LaFond).

Baughman started her legal teaching career at BYU Law School in 2010 where she was voted Professor of the year. In 2013, Professor Baughman joined the faculty at the University at Utah Law School where she was faculty for eight years, and Associate Dean of Faculty Research and Development for two years. She served as Chair of the AALS Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee in 2015-16.  Baughman also has chaired many ABA Committees including the ABA Pretrial Justice Taskforce, the Committee on Crime Prevention, Pretrial Release & Police Practices, and the Corrections Committee. Professor Baughman served from 2014-2018 as a member of the Utah Sentencing Commission. 

Before joining the legal academy, Professor Baughman served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar researching pretrial detention in Malawi and lecturing in criminal law at the University of Malawi. While in Malawi she worked as a justice advisor to the British Department for International Development, advised a coalition of international nongovernmental organizations including UNAIDS and UNDP, and represented criminal defendants in felony cases and in constitutional litigation.

Between 2005-2008, Professor Baughman worked as a litigator at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York, receiving national press for role in religious freedom prison reform litigation.  After graduating first in her class at Brigham Young University Law School and serving as editor-in-chief of the BYU Law Review, Shima Baradaran Baughman clerked for Judge Jay S. Bybee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Baughman has five children and moved to the United States at the age of 7 as a refugee from Iran. She enjoys yoga, pickle ball and hiking.


  • J.D., BYU LAW
  • Taming Dangerousness, 112 Georgetown L.J. __ (forthcoming 2023)
  •  Fixing Disparate Prosecution, 108 Minnesota Law L. Rev.__ (forthcoming 2023) (with Jensen Liliquist)
  •  Inside the Black Box of Prosecutor Discretion, 55 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 2133 (with Megan Wright and Chris Robertson) (2022)
  • Reforming State Bail Reform, 75 SMU L. Rev. 447 (2022) (with Lauren Boone and Nathan Jackson)
  • Criminal Law Examples and Explanations (8th Ed Wolters Kluwer 2021) (with with Richard G. Singer and John Q. LaFond)
  • Crime and the Mythology of Police, 99 Wash. Univ. L. Rev 65 (2021)
  • Prosecutors and Mass Incarceration 94 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1123 (2021) (with Megan Wright)
  • How Effective Are Police? The Problem of Clearance Rates and Criminal Accountability, 72 Alab. L. Rev. 47 (2020)
  • Criminal Law Cases and Controversies (5th Ed Aspen 2020) (with with Paul Robinson and Michael Cahill)
  • Dividing Bail Reform, 105 Iowa L. Rev.  L. 101 (2020)
  • Do Race and Class Affect Prosecutorial Decisions? A Randomized Experiment 16 J. Empir. Leg. Stud. 807 (2019) (with Chris Robertson and Megan Wright)
  • The Bail Book: A Comprehensive Look at Bail in America’s Criminal Justice System (Cambridge Univ. Press 2018)
  • Criminal Law Examples and Explanations (7th Ed Wolters Kluwer 2018) (with with Richard G. Singer and John Q. LaFond)
  • The History of Misdemeanor Bail, 98 Boston U. L. Rev. 837 (2018) (symposium)
  • Subconstitutional Checks, 92 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1071 (2017)
  • Costs of Pretrial Detention, 97 Boston U. L. Rev. 1 (2017)
  • Blinding as a Solution to Implicit Racial Bias in Prosecutorial Decision Making 1 Behavioral Science & Policy 69 (2016) (peer reviewed journal, coauthored with Chris Robertson and Sunita Shah)
  • Drugs and Violence, 88 S. Cal. L. Rev. 227 (2015)
  • Funding Terror, 162 Univ. of Penn. L. Rev. 477 (2014) (coauthored with JC Sharman, Daniel Nielson, and Michael Findley)
  • The Presumption of Punishment, 8 Criminal Law & Philosophy 391 (2014) (Peer reviewed journal)
  • Race, Prediction and Pretrial Detention 10 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 471 (2013) (coauthored with Frank McIntyre) (Peer reviewed Journal)
  • Rebalancing the Fourth Amendment 102 Georgetown L. J. 1 (2013)
  • Does International Law Matter? 97 Minnesota L. Rev 743 (2013) (coauthored with JC Sharman, Daniel Nielson, and Michael Findley)
  • Sources of Criminal Law (Statutes, Case Law, Ordinances, Regulations) in The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Wiley Blackwell ed 2013) (coauthored with Aaron Arnson) (book chapter)
  • Race, Prediction & Discretion, 81 George Wash. L. Rev. 157 (2012)
  • Predicting Violence, 90 Texas L. Rev. 497 (2012) (coauthored with Frank McIntyre)
  • Fair Trade and Child Labor, Columb. Human Rights L. Rev. (2011) (with Stephanie Barclay)
  • The State of Pretrial Detention, The State of Criminal Justice, American Bar Association (2011)
  • The Right Way to Shrink Prisons, N.Y. Times (May 30, 2011)
  • Restoring the Presumption of Innocence, 72 Ohio State L. J. 723 (2011)
  • The Presumption of Innocence and Pretrial Detention in Malawi, 4 Malawi L.J. 124 (2010)