- Professor of Clinical Law
Clinical Professor Mark Kappelhoff joined the Law School in 2012 after 14 years as a federal prosecutor. His areas of expertise are criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal civil rights prosecution, including human trafficking, hate crimes, and police misconduct. He directs the Criminal Justice Clinic and speaks regularly on federal civil rights laws and prosecutions.
Before joining the Law School faculty, he was the Chief of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he supervised and prosecuted several high-profile criminal civil rights cases throughout the nation, including hate crimes, human trafficking, and law-enforcement misconduct cases. He led an investigation into widespread corruption involving officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, and he supervised and assisted in one of the largest human trafficking cases ever prosecuted by the DOJ, United States v. Kil Soo Lee. During his tenure with the Civil Rights Division, he created its Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and trained thousands of prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and non-governmental organizations on criminal civil rights law and prosecutorial strategies.
Professor Kappelhoff began at the DOJ in 1998 as a trial attorney, served as deputy and principal deputy chief before becoming chief of the Criminal Section in 2006, and was appointed acting principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division in 2009. Previously, he was an assistant public defender for Montgomery County, Md., and represented clients charged with criminal offenses, including felonies subject to the death penalty.
A 1983 graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., Professor Kappelhoff received his J.D. in 1988 from American University, Washington College of Law, where he was a member of the American University Law Review staff and a legal research and writing instructor. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center; and American University, Washington College of Law.
Among the honors Professor Kappelhoff has received for his work as a federal prosecutor are the 2011 Presidential Rank Award (the highest annual award for federal government career senior executive service professionals), the 2010 Attorney General’s John Marshall Award (for his efforts to secure passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act), the Civil Rights Division’s Meritorious Award and Special Achievement Award, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys’ Director’s Award for Superior Performance.
For further information on Professor Kappelhoff, please consult his curriculum vitae.
- Federal Prosecution of Human Trafficking Cases: Striking a Blow Against Modern Day Slavery, 6 University of St. Thomas Law Journal 9 (2008)
- Bowers v. Hardwick: Is There a Right to Privacy?, 37 American University Law Review 487 (1988) (note)
Editorials, Commentary & Letters
- Bringing Human Trafficking to Justice: The Civil Rights Division’s Pursuit of Freedom, Rights, and Dignity For Victims of Human Trafficking, Huffington Post, Feb. 1, 2015 (op-ed)
- Yes, We’ve Come a Long Way, but America’s Civil-rights Journey Remains Incomplete, MinnPost, Nov. 1, 2013 (op-ed)
- Juvenile Crime Drops, Experts Backpedal, and Public Policy Pays the Price, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 9, 1997 (op-ed)
- Treat Troubled Teens as Children, Not as Adult Criminals, Miami Herald, May 23, 1997 (op-ed)
- Experts Were Wrong About Juvenile Crime, San Jose Mercury News, May 4, 1997
- Shame Punishments Do Not Belong in a Civilized Society, Plano Star Courier, Jan. 19, 1997
- Selected Issues in Criminal Civil Rights Enforcement, 56:5 United States Attorneys’ Bulletin 37 (Sept. 2008)