Lea Johnston is a professor of law at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. She a leading expert on mental health and criminal law and procedure. A productive scholar, Professor Johnston’s work has appeared in the Washington University Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, the UC Davis Law Review, the Fordham Law Review, the Georgia Law Review, and the Florida Law Review, among others. In 2012, the California Supreme Court quoted Professor Johnston’s proposed standard for representational competence and endorsed its use by courts and experts. Her work has been widely cited by legal scholars and appears in leading treatises in criminal law, constitutional law, and criminal procedure. Her work has also received attention from social scientists, and her theory of sentencing forms part of the theoretical framework for the standard textbook for forensic psychiatry fellowship programs.
Professor Johnston is often consulted by media outlets, including USA Today, the New Yorker, NBC News, and the Boston Globe. A past Chair of the Law and Mental Disability Section, Johnston currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Association of Law Schools. She has also served on the Legal Scholars Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society.
Professor Johnston earned her A.B. from Princeton University and her J.D. (cum laude) from Harvard Law School. She previously served as a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C., and director of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group in Baltimore, MD. Professor Johnston clerked for Judge Richard Tallman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Johnston is currently a University Term Professor of Law and Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Center.