SpearIt is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher, whose work is widely cited in both the legal academy, university disciplines, and popular media. His work is known for its interdisciplinary rigor and for cutting-edge critical theory. He is the author of American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam (First Edition Design 2017), and is currently working on his next book, Muslim Prisoner Litigation: An Unsung American Tradition (forthcoming University of California Press), 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 at 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 prisoners 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.
SpearIt is currently a member of the Editorial Board for the Race, Rights, and the Law Blog and Contributing Editor at JOTWELL Criminal Law. He also serves on the American Bar Association’s Section on Criminal Justice’s Corrections Committee and serves as an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University.
His recent scholarship includes 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, “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. Intl. 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 (2015).
- Redefining Gender Violence—Transcript from Converge! Reimagining the Movement to End Gender Violence, 5 Miami Race & Soc. Just. L. Rev. 289 (2015).
- Foreward: From LatCrit to LatCrit 2.0—Institutionalizing a Movement and Cultivating Next-Generation Scholarship, 47 John Marshall L. Rev. 1167 (2014).
- “Religion in Prison,” in Religion and America Cultures: Tradition, Diversity and Popular Expression (2d ed. 2014).
- Spectacular or Specious? A Critical Review of the Spectacular Few: Prisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat, 39 T. Marshall L. Rev. 225 (2014).
- Introduction—Twenty Years after the Education Apocalypse: The Ongoing Fall Out from the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, 33 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 283 (2014) (with Mary Rachel Gould).
- Economic Interest Convergence in Downsizing Imprisonment, 75 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 475 (2014).
- Experiential Education as Critical Pedagogy: Enhancing the Law School Experience, 38 Nova L. Rev. 249 (2014) (with Stephanie Smith Ledesma).
- Muslim Radicalization in Prison: Responding with Sound Penal Policy or the Sound of Alarm?, 49 Gonz. L. Rev. 37 (2014).
- Legal Punishment as Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense of Harsh Punishment, 82 Miss. L.J. 1 (2013) (Lead Article).
- Facts and Fictions About Islam in Prison: Assessing Prisoner Radicalization in Post-9/11 America, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, Inst. for Soc. Pol’y & Understanding, Jan. 2013 Report.
- Raza Islámica: Prisons, Hip Hop & Converting Converts, 22 Berkeley la Raza L.J. 175 (2012).
- Religion as Rehabilitation? Reflections on Islam in the Correctional Setting, 34 Whittier L. Rev. 29 (2012).
- Priorities of Pedagogy: Classroom Justice in the Law School Setting, 48 Cal. West. L. Rev. 467 (2012).
- Why Obama is Black: Language, Law & Structures of Power, 1 Colum. J. Race & L. 468 (2012).
- Enslaved by Words: Legalities and Limitations of ‘Post-Racial’ Language, 2011 Mich. St. L. Rev. 705 (2011).
- Child Pornography Sentencing & Demographic Data: Reforming Through Research, 24 Fed. Sent’g Rep. 102 (2011).
- Gender Violence in Prison & Hyper-masculinities in the ‘Hood: Cycles of Destructive Masculinity, 37 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol’y 89 (2011).
- "Gang Intervention in the United States: Legal and Extra-Legal Attempts at Peacemaking," in Peacemaking from Theory to Practice (Andrea Bartoli et al. eds., 2011).
- Legal Omission: A Reaction to Asian Americans and Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, 2 Geo. J.L. & Mod. Critical Race Persp. 207 (2011).
- “Prison Religion,” “Girard, Rene” and “Prayer Beads,” in Encyclopedia of Global Religions (Mark Juergensmeyer & Wade Clark Roof, eds., 2011).
- “Criminal Justice,” in Richard Hecht and Vincent Biondo, eds., RELIGION IN THE PRACTICE OF DAILY LIFE (Praeger, 2010).
- Mental Illness in Prison: Inmate Rehabilitation & Correctional Officers in Crisis, 14 BERKELEY J. OF CRIM. L. 277 (2009).
- Manufacturing Social Violence: The Prison Paradox & Future Escapes, 11 BERKELEY J. OF AFRICAN-AM. L. & POL’Y 84 (2009).
- God Behind Bars: Race, Religion & Revenge, 37 SETON HALL L. REV. 497 (2007).
- Reimagining Revolution: A Critical Review of Simon Schama’s Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution, 9 BERKELEY J. OF AFRICAN-AM. L. & POL’Y 74 (2007).