SpearIt is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher, and is a Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is the author of American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam (First Edition Design 2017), and his most recent book is entitled, Muslim Prisoner Litigation: An Unsung American Tradition (University of California Press 2023), which examines the history of Muslim prisoner litigation through the lens of OutCrit jurisprudence.
As an instructor, SpearIt has taught a range of courses in the law school curriculum, including Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Sentencing, Corrections Law, and Professional Responsibility, among other courses. He has taught at a number of law schools including Saint Louis University, Seattle University, Texas Southern University, University of Arkansas, and Gonzaga University. In addition, he has taught undergraduates as instructor of record and taught at San Quentin State Prison.
SpearIt graduated with a B.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston. He also earned a Masters of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, Ph.D. in Religious Studies at University of California Santa Barbara, and J.D. from University of California Berkeley School of Law.
Currently a Contributing Editor at JOTWELL Criminal Law, he also serves on the American Bar Association’s Corrections Committee and serves as an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University.
His recent scholarship includes Understanding an American Paradox: An Overview of The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom, 50 Hastings Const. L. Quarterly 141 (2023); Muslims in American Prisons: Advancing the Rule of Law through Litigation Praxis, 3 Harvard J. Islamic L. 29 (2022); 9/11 Impacts on Muslims in Prison, 27 Mich. J. Race & L. 101 (2022); Bargaining Away the Constitution, JOTWELL (6/23/22) (reviewing Carissa Byrne Hessick, Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal (2021)). He also wrote, Clarence Thomas would be in Trouble if he were a Regular Judge, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/27/23; Christians who follow Jesus Should oppose the Death Penalty. So should Conservatives, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/3/23; Litigious Zeal, Inquest, 11/8/22; “Shootings Proclaim War on Terror is Dead,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review (6/1/22), was recently interviewed on the podcast, Law According to a King entitled In God We Trust (1/14/22), and quoted in TIME Magazine, “‘I Don’t Think You’re Going to be Eating Tonight.’ Muslims Describe Ramadan in U.S. Prisons” (5/12/21) and in American Bar Association, "Challenging Systemic Racism with Human Connection," (2/26/21).
- The U.S. Constitution: Reimagining “We the People” as an Inclusive Construct, 6 The Bridge: Interdisc'y Perspectives on Legal and Soc. Pol. 1 (2021)
- “Muslim Radicalization in Prison: Responding with Sound Penal Policy or the Sound of Alarm,” in Islamophobia and the Law (Cyra Akila Choudhury & Khaled Beydoun, eds., Cambridge University Press 2020) (republished from 49 Gonzaga L. R. 37 (2014)
- “Implicit Bias in Criminal Justice: Growing Influence as an Insight to Systemic Oppression,” in The State of Criminal Justice 2020 (American Bar Association 2020)
- Reimagining the Death Penalty: Targeting Christians, Conservatives, 68 Buff. L. Rev. 93 (2020)
- “The Catholic Church Sex Scandal and the Dying Death Penalty: Issues at the Intersection of Religion, Crime, and Punishment,” in The State of Criminal Justice 2019 (American Bar Association 2019)
- “Pushing Pro Bono for the Incarcerated and Those Reentering Society,” in The State of Criminal Justice 2018 (American Bar Association, 2018)
- American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam (First Edition Design Publishing, 2017)
- Firepower to the People! Gun Rights and the Law of Self-defense to Curb Police Misconduct, 85 Tenn. L. Rev. 191 (2017)
- “Uncertainty Ahead: Update on Pell Grant Funding for Prisoners,” in The State of Criminal Justice 2017 (American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, 2017).
- “Drafting Legal Documents in a Doctrinal Class,” in Experiential Education in the Law School Curriculum (Carolina Academic Press, 2017).
- Not for Free: Exploring the Collateral Costs of Diversity in Legal Education, 48 U. Pacific L. R. 887 (2017).
- Legal Punishment as Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense of Mass Incarceration, 5 E.C.I. Interdisc'y. J. L. & Soc. Pol'y. 1 (2017) (abridged republication from 82 Miss L. J. 1 (2013)
- “Restoring the Pell Grant for Prisoners: Growing Momentum for Reform,” in The State of Criminal Justice 2016 (American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, 2016)
- Keeping it REAL: Why Congress Must Act to Restore Pell Grant Funding to Prisoners, 11 U. Mass l. Rev. 26 (2016)
- Foreword to Thurgood Marshall School of Law Journal of Gender, Race, & Justice, Vol. 6 (2016)
- Sonic Jihad: Muslim Hip Hop in the Age of Mass Incarceration, 11 Fl. Int'l. U. L. Rev. 201 (2015)
- "Raza Islamica: Prisons, Hip hop & Converting Converts,” in Hip Hop and the Law (Carolina Academic Press 2015) (republished from 22 Berkeley La Raza L.J. 175 (2012)
- Evolving Standards of Domination: Abandoning a Flawed Legal Standard and Approaching a New Era in Penal Reform, 90 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 495 (2015)
- How Mass Incarceration Underdevelops Latino Communities, in U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice (2015)
- Shackles Beyond the Sentence: How Legal Financial Obligations Create a Permanent Underclass, 1 N.Y. L. Sch. Impact Ctr. Pub. Int. L. 46 1 (2015)
- Redefining Gender Violence—Transcript from Converge! Reimagining the Movement to End Gender Violence, 5 Miami Race & Soc. Just. L. Rev. 289 (2015)