Alisa Smith, J.D., Ph.D.


Legal Studies

Office: DPAC 430N

Phone: 407-823-1670


Professional Summary

Dr. Alisa Smith is a Professor at the University of Central Florida. She earned her doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice and her law degree (JD) at The Florida State University. Dr. Smith practiced criminal trial and appellate law for nearly 29 years, and her primary research interests include: Access to justice in the misdemeanor courts; empirical legal studies; and the use of social science by the courts. Dr. Smith has authored more than twenty-five peer-reviewed and law journal articles, reports, and book chapters, and she has authored three books. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Criminal Justice, Florida Law Review, and American Journal of Criminal Law.


Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice (1998)
Juris Doctorate in Law (1988)
Florida State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal and Appellate Law
  • Misdemeanor Courts
  • Social Science and the Criminal Courts

Research Interests

Recent Publications

Smith, A., Maddan, S., King, C., & Elshiekh, N. (Fall 2020). Testing the effects of a prosecutor policy recommending no-money release for nonviolent misdemeanor defendants. American Journal of Criminal Law, 48(1), 43-79.

Smith, A., & Maddan, S. (Spring 2020). Misdemeanor courts, due process, and case outcomes. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 0, 1-28. (

Smith, A. (Fall 2019). The cost of (in)justice: A preliminary study of the chilling effect of the $50 application fee in Florida’s misdemeanor courts. University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy, 30, 59-98.

Smith, A. & Patella, Y. (Fall 2019). Race and misdemeanor court dispositions: An aggregate study of the “tipping point.” The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 22, 291-350.

Smith, A., & Maddan, S. (Eds.). (2019). The lower criminal courts. New York, NY: Routledge-Taylor & Francis.

Smith, A. (2020). Law, social science and the criminal courts (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Smith, A. (Spring 2019). Misdemeanors lack appeal. American Journal of Criminal Law.

Smith, A. (2018). Empiricism and the misdemeanor courts: Promoting wider, deeper and interdisciplinary study. Pace Law Review.

Smith, A. (Spring 2019). Beyond impressionistic analysis: An empirical evaluation of 21st century nonlawyer courts. Law Journal for Social Justice at Arizona State University.

Faculty Related Links

Undergraduate Law and Policy Research Lab

The Criminal Docket: South Carolina’s Sixth Amendment-Free Zones. NACDL’s Podcast, discussing Rush to Judgment report

Justice is Swift as Petty Crimes Clog Courts: Cases Adjudicated in Minutes or Less, Often Without Lawyers. Wall Street Journal (front page), citing Three-Minute Justice

Professional Organizations

  • Law and Society Association
  • Consortium of Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs
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