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Professor Michael Tonry Reappointed The Marvin J. Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy

Michael Tonry, the Marvin J. Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy at the Law School, gave a reappointment lecture on "Constitutional Obsolescence & Penal Policy," on November 14, 2006.

In the lecture, he offered his solution to the puzzle that American imprisonment rates are seven times higher than those in Europe, and why within Europe English policies are more punitive than those elsewhere.  The answer is to be found in the obsolescence of American and English constitutions and governmental structures compared with the constitutions of most European countries.  The American constitutions and governmental structure, designed to address 17th Century concerns, and the English Constitution and government structure, designed to address 18th Century concerns, constrast with those of other European countries, which generally are 20th Century constitutions.

For more information, see "Why Aren't German Penal Policies Harsher and Imprisonment Rates Higher?" German Law Review, 5:1187-1206.

Professor Tonry received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his LL.B. from Yale. He practiced law with Dechert, Price & Rhoads in Philadelphia and with Sonnenschein, Carlin & Nath in Chicago, specializing in corporate and real estate finance. Before joining the Minnesota faculty in 1990, he held academic posts at the University of Chicago, the University of Birmingham, England, and the University of Maryland.

To view Professor Tonry's faculty profile, click [here].

The Marvin J. Sonosky Professorship in Law and Public Policy was made possible through the generosity of Marvin and Shirley Sonosky.  Mr. Sonosky, who passed away in 1997, was a 1932 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and a distinguished attorney in Washington D.C.  He successfully represented Native American tribes in their efforts to obtain fair and equitable treatment from the federal government.  Most notable was his successful representation of the Sioux Nation in its long legal struggle to win compensation for the government's seizure of the Black Hills in 1877.

Michael H. Tonry - Faculty Profiles