Duquesne University School of Law

Wesley M. Oliver, J.D., LL.M., J.S.D.

Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, Criminal Justice Program Director, and Professor of Law

Office: Hanley Hall 227

Phone Number: 412.396.5846

E-Mail Address: oliverw@duq.edu

Education: J.S.D, Yale University Law School, 2009
LL.M., Yale University Law School, 2004
J.D., University of Virginia, 1996
B.A., University of Virginia, 1992

Wesley M. Oliver is associate dean for faculty scholarship, director of the criminal justice program, and professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law. He teaches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. His scholarship has examined numerous aspects of criminal law and procedure, including search and seizure, interrogations, material witness detentions, wiretapping, plea bargaining, Prohibition, and the history of policing.

Oliver hosted a television program entitled Crime and Punishment on the Pennsylvania Cable Network and served as a legal analyst for NBC News' coverage of the criminal proceedings against Jerry Sandusky. He is a frequent commentator on criminal justice issues, having appeared on ABC World News, CBS This Morning, 48 Hours Investigates, NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show, MSNBC's Ed Show and commented on NPR. Oliver has been quoted by newspapers that include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.

Oliver earned J.S.D. and LL.M. degrees from Yale University and J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Virginia. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

View Wes Oliver's C.V.

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure: Bail to Jail
  • Criminal Procedure: The Police Function
  • Evidence
  • Fact Investigations

“Prohibition, Stare Decisis, and the Lagging Ability of Science to Influence Criminal Procedure,” Loyola Constitutional Law Colloquium, Chicago, IL, November 7, 2014.

“Making a Deal in Criminal Cases,” ABA Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Miami, FL, April 4, 2014.

“The Past and Present Supreme Court Terms,” Defense Lawyers’ Roundtable, Nashville, TN,
November 2, 2012.

How Lafler and Frye Will Change Plea Bargaining,” Federalist Forum, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, October 18, 2012.

“Western Union, the Teamsters, Google, and the Changing Face of Corporate Privacy Advocates,” National Judicial Conference, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, March 10, 2011.

“Prosecutorial Discretion and Proposed Remedies for Its Abuse,” Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Conference, Nashville, TN, August 28, 2010.

Commentator on Donald Dripps pending book, The Nineteenth Century Transformation of Criminal Justice, Law and Society Conference, Chicago, IL, May 28, 2010.

“The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Origins of Criminal Procedure,” Central States Law School Association Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH, October 24, 2009.

“Maine’s Role in Developing Modern Criminal Procedure,” Gignoux Inns of Court, Portland, ME,
October 14, 2008.

“Prohibition, Prostitution, and Probable Cause,” Maine Historical Society, Portland, ME,
October 9, 2008.

“Nineteenth Century Prohibition and the Role of Portland, Maine, in Reshaping the Law of Search and Seizure,” University of Maine School of Law, March 21, 2008.

“Wiretapping and a Nineteenth Century Conception of a Living Constitution,” J.S.D. and Graduate Fellows Workshop, Yale Law School, October 1, 2007.

“Telegram Subpoenas and Early American Wiretapping,” Legal History Colloquium, University of Virginia School of Law, September 10, 2007.

 “Nineteenth Century History of Miranda Warnings,” Cautions and Confessions: Miranda After Forty Years Conference, University of Colorado Law School, October 20, 2006.

Miranda-Like Warnings in Nineteenth Century New York,” Legal History Colloquium, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, October 9, 2006.

 “Material Witness Detentions in Nineteenth Century New York,” Author Lecture Series, NYU Journal of Law and Liberty, New York University School of Law, September 18, 2006.  


“Inherent Conflicts of Interest in High Profile Cases,” Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers, October 3, 2013.

“The Media and High Profile Trials,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, May 8, 2013.

“Admissibility of Forensic Expert Testimony,” Cyril Wecht Institute for Forensic Science, Pittsburgh, PA, December 14, 2012.

“Conflicts of Interest Between a Lawyer’s Media Profile and His Duty to His Client,” Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA, October 12, 2012.

“Toward a Common Law of Plea Bargaining,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Annual Criminal Law Section Meeting, Harrisburg, PA, May 31, 2012.

“Plea Bargaining After Lafler and Frye,” Pennsylvania Superior Court Conference, Harrisburg, PA,
April 18, 2012.

Ashcroft v. al-Kidd and Material Witness Detentions,” William W. Lipsitt American Inns of Court,
Harrisburg, PA, May 9, 2011.

“The History of Modern Criminal Procedure,” Pennsylvania Appellate Courts Conference,
Bedford Springs, PA, June 16, 2010.

“Should the Second Amendment Be Incorporated Against the States?” Federalist Society Debate Against Alan Gura, Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA, March 11, 2010.

“Blackberries, I-Phones, and the Doctrine of Search Incident to Arrest,” Widener Law Journal Symposium, Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA, February 22, 2009.

“Should There Be a Limit on Prosecutorial Discretion?” Federalist Society Debate with Dauphin County (Harrisburg) District Attorney Ed Marsico, Widener University School of Law, November 12, 2008.

Dred Scott and the Political Question Doctrine,” Widener Law Journal Symposium, Widener University School of Law, April 2, 2007.



Provided on-air commentary on criminal justice stories for ABC World News, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News,  CBS News 48 Hours, NBC’s TODAY Show, and NBC Nightly News as well as local affiliates of each network in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg.

Provided commentary used in print articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Austin American Statesman, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Seattle Times, New Orleans Times Picayune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Tennessean, and Stars and Stripes.

NBC News Legal Analyst for the Trial of Jerry Sandusky

Provided dozens of taped appearances for TODAY and NBC Nightly News.

Live on-air commentary for MSNBC.

Written commentary for msnbc.com and NBCNews.com.

Live and taped commentary for the News Channel providing content to NBC affiliates.

Pennsylvania Cable Network, Host and Producer, January 2010 - present

2010 – 2012 Created, Produced, and Hosted Student-Researched Legal Roundtable Show Aired Statewide, In Session with the Widener Law and Government Institute.

2012 – 2014 Created, Produced, and Hosted Show Aired State-wide Discussing Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues, Crime and Punishment.

DuqCrim Website, Duquesne University School of Law

Created website where students follow developing criminal law stories and provide legal commentary.


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Prohibition and the Birth of Modern Criminal Procedure (in progress).

Experiencing Criminal Law (West forthcoming 2015) (co-authored with Gabriel J. Chin).

Evidence: Common Law and Federal Rules of Evidence (Seventh ed., Lexis Nexis forthcoming 2015) (co-authored with Paul Rice and Dale B. Durrer).

Tennessee Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (West 2011) (co-authored with Douglas A. Blaze).


Jerry Sandusky, George Zimmerman, and the Ethics of Counsel’s Use of the Media, 67 Oklahoma Law Review ___ (forthcoming 2015)(with Rebecca Silinski). 

Charles Lindbergh, Caryl Chessman, and the Exception Proving the (Potentially Waning) Rule of Broad Prosecutorial Discretion, 20 Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law ____ (forthcoming 2015).

Prohibition, Stare Decisis, and the Lagging Ability of Science to Influence Criminal Procedure, 104 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology ___ (forthcoming 2015).

Standards of Legitimacy in Criminal Negotiations¸20 Harvard Negotiation Law Review ___ (forthcoming 2015) (with Rishi Batra).

Limiting Criminal Law’s ‘In for a Penny, In for a Pound’ Doctrine, 103 Georgetown Law Journal Online 8 (2014).

Choice of Counsel and the Appearance of Equal Justice Under Law, 109 Northwestern Law Review Online 1 (2014).

Domestic Violence, Gun Possession, and the Importance of Context, 90 Indiana Law Journal Supplement 36 (2014).

Toward a Common Law of Plea Bargaining, 102 Kentucky Law Journal 1 (2012-2013).

Material Witness Detentions After Al-Kidd, 100 Kentucky Law Journal 293 (2011-2012).

The Modern History of Probable Cause, 78 Tennessee Law Review 377 (2011).

America’s First Wiretapping Controversy in Context and as Context, 34 Hamline Law Review 205 (2011).

The Neglected History of Criminal Procedure, 1850-1940, 62 Rutgers Law Review 447 (2010).

Magistrates’ Examinations, Police Interrogations, and Miranda-Like Rules in the Nineteenth Century, 81 Tulane Law Review 777 (2007).

The Rise and Fall of Material Witness Detentions in Nineteenth Century New York, 1 NYU Journal of Law and Liberty 727 (2005).

Toward a Better Balance of the Costs and Benefits of the Exclusionary Rule, 9 Buffalo Criminal Law Review 201 (2005).

A Round Peg in a Square Hole: Federal Forfeiture of State Professional Licenses, 28 American Journal of Criminal Law 179 (2001).

With an Evil Eye and an Unequal Hand: Pretextual Stops and Doctrinal Remedies to Racial Profiling, 74 Tulane Law Review 1409 (2000).


Limiting Criminal Law’s ‘In for a Penny, In for a Pound’ Doctrine, 103 Georgetown Law Journal Online 8 (2014).

Choice of Counsel and the Appearance of Equal Justice Under Law, 109 Northwestern Law Review Online 1 (2014).

Domestic Violence, Gun Possession, and the Importance of Context, 90 Indiana Law Journal Supplement 36 (2014).

The Supreme Court and Kidnapping (with Thomas Ranieri) (in History of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court) (in progress).

The Supreme Court and Prohibition (with Eric Donato) (in History of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court) (in progress).

The Indirect Effects of Lafler and Frye, 51 Duquesne Law Review 633 (2013).

The Present and Future of Plea Bargaining: A Look at Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, 2011-2012 Cato Supreme Court Review 257.

Western Union, the American Federation of Labor, Google, and the Changing Face of Corporate Privacy Advocates, 80 Mississippi Law Journal 971 (2012).

Portland, Prohibition, and Probable Cause: Maine’s Role in Shaping Modern Criminal Procedure, 23 Maine Bar Journal 211 (Fall 2008).

Dred Scott and the Political Question Doctrine, 16 Widener Law Journal 13 (2007).



Prosecutors Reeled in Little Fish with Help of Big Ones in Mortgage Fraud Push, Forbes.com, May 28, 2014.

Chalk One Up for Reason and Logic at Sandusky Sentencing, NBCNews.com, October 9, 2012.

What to Expect at Jerry Sandusky’s Sentencing, NBCNews.com, October 8, 2012.

Ex-Penn State Officials’ Perjury Case Renews Sandusky Case Questions, NBCNews.com, August 15, 2012.

In Loughner Case, A Cost-Benefit Analysis to the Death Penalty, NBCNews.com, August 6, 2012.

In Aurora Massacre, Trial May Not Shed Much Light on Motive, NBCNews.com, July 24, 2012.

Paterno Could Have Been Indicted If He’d Lived, NBCNews.com, July 12, 2012.

Number of Victims Persuaded Jury in ‘He Said He Said’ Case, msnbc.com, June 23, 2012.

Sandusky’s Lawyer Jeopardized His Client’s Interests, msnbc.com, June 22, 2012.

Sandusky’s Lawyer Made Strong Comeback in Closing Argument, msnbc.com, June 21, 2012.

Faltering Defense Hurt Jerry Sandusky, msnbc.com, June 20, 2012.

Prosecution Presented Strong Case Against Jerry Sandusky, msnbc.com, June 14, 2012.

Sandusky Lawyer Flummoxed by Witness Memory Lapse, msnbc.com, June 13, 2012.

Sandusky Defense Fails to Dent McQueary’s Damning Testimony, msnbc.com, June 12, 2012.

Plea Deal a Long Shot in Sandusky Sex Abuse Case, msnbc.com, June 9, 2012.

Ashcroft v. al-Kidd and Material Witness Detentions, Huffington Post, November 8, 2010.


Why I Was a Campaign Volunteer, (Harrisburg) Patriot News, January 7, 2008.

How Iowa Does It, (Harrisburg) Patriot News, December 30, 2008.

Iowans Are Really Engaged in the Caucus Process, (Harrisburg) Patriot News, December 23, 2007.

Recordings Can Protect Those Secretly Taped, (Harrisburg) Patriot News, June 17, 2007.

Rulings Lose Sight of Innocent, (Harrisburg) Patriot News, June 3, 2007.

Vincent L. McKusick Award, State Bar of Maine Award for Best Article in Maine Bar Journal 2008, June 2009

John H. Streiker Research Grant, Yale Law School, Summer 2008

Mark DeWolfe Howe Research Grant, Harvard Law School, Summer 200