Erin Sheley

Contact Information

Areas of Interest

  • Associate Professor of Law


A.B., Magna Cum Laude, Harvard College, 2002

J.D., Harvard Law School, 2006

Ph.D., English, George Washington University, 2015 

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Research Interests

  • Criminal Law
  • Torts
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Law and Literature


Prof. Sheley joined the College of Law in 2018. Before coming to OU she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.  She has also served as a Visiting Associate Professor at the George Washington University Law School and an Olin-Searle Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to academia she practiced for several years in the litigation group of the Washington, D.C. offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. While in practice she was commended by the Humane Society of the United States for her pro bono work in the prosecution of dog fighting sponsors. She is proud to have served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

Prof. Sheley’s research considers how the law should account for subjective narratives in evaluating criminal and tort harm.  In one line of articles she argues that the law inconsistently takes into account the extent to which a victim’s subjective narrative of her injury contributes to the injury in a way that can and should be formally remedied. In another, she develops the idea that failing to attend to how crime and the criminal justice system interact with cultural narratives prevents us from understanding and responding to important aspects of criminal harm. Drawing on her doctoral work on narrative and cultural memory, she combines insights from the fields of psychology, narrative studies, and sociology to make the case that the narrative aspects of harm ought to play a more consistent role in shaping civil and criminal liability, procedure, evidentiary rules, and remedies.

Additional Information


Criminalizing Coercive Control Within the Limits of Due Process

70 Duke Law Journal (forthcoming)

Tort Answers to the Problem of Corporate Criminal Mens Rea


97 North Carolina Law Review 773

A Broken Windows Theory of Sexual Assault Enforcement


108 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 101

Victim Impact Statements and Expressive Punishment in the Age of Social Media


52 Wake Forest Law Review 157

Reprinted in Women and the Law (Thomson Reuters, 2018 ed.)

Substantive and Procedural Silence


84 Tennessee Law Review 447

Prospective Injunctive Relief and Class Action Settlements


With Theodore Frank

39 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 769

Rethinking Injury: the Case of Informed Consent

2016 BYU Law Review 63

Perceptual Harm and the Corporate Criminal


81 University of Cincinnati Law Review 225

Reverberations of the ‘Victim’s Voice’: Victim Impact Statements and the Cultural Project of Punishment


87 Indiana Law Journal 1247

The Constable’s Blunder and Other Stories: Narrative Representations of the Police and the Criminal in the Development of the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule

2010 Michigan State Law Review 121

Live Animals: Towards Protection for Pets and Livestock in Contracts for Carriage


3 Journal of Animal Law 59

Comment, Threats in the Line of Duty: Police Officers and the First Amendment in State v. Valdivia and Connecticut v. DeLoreto


28 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 307

See all scholarship by this faculty member


Peer-Reviewed Journals and Book Chapters

“Adultery, Criminality, and the Fiction of the King’s Body,” in Fictional Discourse and the Law (forthcoming, Routledge, 2019).

“Adultery, Criminality, and the Myth of English Sovereignty,” 14 Law, Culture, and the Humanities 501(Oct. 2018).

Convicta et Combusta: Walter Scott’s Condemned Woman, the Chivalric Tradition, and Historical Legitimacy,” in Impassioned Jurisprudence: Law, Literature, and Emotion (Bucknell University Press 2015).

 “The Condemned Woman as Historical Relic,” 24 Law and Literature 211 (2014).

Gone with the Wind and the Trauma of Lost Sovereignty,” 45 Southern Literary Journal 1 (Spring 2013).

“Reciprocal Colonization in the Fairy Tales of Lord Dunsany,” 31 Mythlore 105 (Fall/Winter 2012).

“The Law of Nature or Nature’s God? Penal Authority in Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies,” 37 Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 133 (Summer 2012).

“Demolished Worlds: Manfred and Sublime (Un)Burial,” 40 Byron Journal 51 (June 2012).

“Re-Imagining Olympus: The Creative Mythologies of John Keats,” 45 Romanticism on the Net (Feb. 2007).

“From Eden to Eternity: The Timescales of Genesis in George MacDonald’s ‘The Golden Key’ and Lilith,” 29 Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 329 (Winter 2004).

Selected Presentations

“Victim Impact Statements at Corporate Sentencing,” presented at the Federalist Society Faculty Conference/ Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, San Diego, California, Jan. 4-5, 2018.

“Corporate Criminal Liability and Victim Impact Statements,” presented at the meeting of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, San Francisco, California, July 9-13, 2017.

“Victim Impact Statements and Expressive Punishment in the Age of Social Media,” presented at the meeting of the Law and Society Association, Mexico City, Mexico, June 2017.

“Victim Impact Statements and Expressive Punishment in the Age of Social Media,” presented at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities,” Stanford University, April 2017.

“A Broken Windows Theory of Sexual Assault Enforcement,” presented at the meeting of the Association of American Law Schools,” San Francisco, CA January 2017.

Presentations on Anglo-American constitutional criminal law, Constitutional Court of the Republic of Georgia Summer School Program, Batumi, Georgia, July 28-29, 2016.

“Rethinking Injury: the Case of Informed Consent,” presented at the 36th Annual Health Law Professors Conference, Boston University School of Law, June 5, 2016.

“Substantive and Procedural Silence,” presented at the Toronto-Osgoode Junior Scholars Workshop, University of Toronto School of Law, May 5, 2016.

Commentary on the seizure of companion animals under the Fourth Amendment, Of Dogs and Men: a Documentary, Ozymandias Films, 2016.

“Prospective Injunctive Relief and Class Action Settlements,” presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools,” New York, NY, January 2016.

“Criminality and the Fiction of the King's Body,” presented at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University, May 20, 2015.

“Adultery, Criminality, and the Myth of English Sovereignty,” presented at the meeting of the Law and Society Association, Seattle, WA, May 2015.

“The Rape Novel and Narrative Subjectivity,” presented at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Washington DC, March 2015.


Courses Taught


  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudication 5830
  • White Collar Crime 6100

Community Service

Board Adviser/ Member of the Board, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, Calgary, AB, 2016-2018

Member of the Board, 11/9 Coalition, 2016-present

Adoption Event Coordinator, City Dogs Animal Rescue, Washington, DC, 2014-2015

Bar Admissions

California, 2006-present

District of Columbia, 2007-present

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