Sanford Kadish

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Sanford Kadish
Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law
In office
Preceded by Edward C. Halbach, Jr.
Succeeded by Jesse H. Choper
Personal details
Born (1921-09-07)September 7, 1921
New York City
Died September 5, 2014(2014-09-05)
Nationality American
Spouse(s) June Kadish
Alma mater City College of New York, Columbia Law School
Occupation Professor

Sanford "Sandy" H. Kadish (Sept. 7, 1921[1] - Sept. 5, 2014) was an American criminal law scholar and theorist. He was well known for his scholarship in criminology and criminal law theory, and for being one of the drafters of the American Model Penal Code.[2]


Sanford Harold Kadish was born in 1921 in New York City,[3] and grew up in the Bronx.[1] He graduated from City College of New York, Phi Beta Kappa, and then attended a Japanese language school in Colorado.

He served in the United States Navy during World War II, translating Japanese military documents from the Pacific,[1] until he was discharged in 1946.[4] Kadish earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1948; during that time he studied with professors Herb Wechsler and Walter Gellhorn, who were influential on his career and scholarship.[4] After law school, he practiced privately in New York before entering legal academia in 1951 at the University of Utah Law School, where he taught for ten years.[4] He then joined the University of Michigan[4][5] in 1961,[6] before he joined UC Berkeley's School of Law (then "Boalt Hall School of Law") in 1964, where he stayed until his retirement in 1999. He served as Boalt's Dean from 1975 to 1982,[5] and continued to serve as emeritus faculty (the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law (Emeritus)) even after his retirement in 1999.

During his years in academia, he worked with Wechsler on the ALI's Model Penal Code, which was to prove hugely influential in reforming American criminal law. He also published the first edition of his criminal law casebook, Criminal Law and Its Processes, which became the leading criminal law casebook for decades.


Kadish was renowned as "the preeminent criminal law scholar of his generation",[7] "America's foremost scholar of the criminal law",[8] and "the dean of American criminal law academicians".[8][9] He has been described as "the leading scholar in ... criminal law theory", who was largely responsible for shaping the field.[9]

In his scholarship and his work on legal reform, Kadish applied a sociological lens to criminal law and criminology. Kadish authored the leading criminal law casebook[8] (Criminal Law and Its Processes, first published in 1962) and the first comprehensive encyclopedia of criminal law[8] (The Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, first published in 1983).

Kadish is particularly cited for a number of contributions, including:

  • criticizing the criminalization of so-called "victimless crimes", which led to removal of most such crimes from the Model Penal Code
  • providing impetus to the sentencing reform movement with an article on criminal procedure, "Legal Norm and Discretion in the Police and Sentencing Process", 75 Harv. L. Rev. 904 (1962)[7]
  • a highly cited article on due process, "Methodology and Criteria in Due Process Adjudication -- A Survey and Criticism", 66 Yale L.J. 319 (1957)[10]
  • scholarship on excuses and exceptions in criminal law, including several articles and ultimately a formulation in his criminal law casebook that shaped the treatment of this topic in all subsequent casebooks
  • studies of the codification of law, beginning with his contributions to the Model Penal Code
  • his influential casebook, Criminal Law and Its Processes, which "took the field of criminal law class materials by storm, revolutionized the prevalent approach to teaching the first-year course, and projected a vision of the subject matter that deservedly dominated the field."[7] "With the possible exception of the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, these materials are the single most influential document in shaping the study and the teaching of criminal law in America today."[9]

Academic service and awards

At different times, Kadish was president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP),[11] and Vice-President of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.[12] During the 1950s Kadish served as an arbitrator with the Regional Wage Stabilization Board (1951–53).[6]

Kadish was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1957 at the University of Melbourne, Australia.[6] In 1974 Kadish was a Guggenheim Fellow.[13] While dean, Kadish helped institute the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, one of the first of its kind.[8] In 2003, Kadish and his wife endowed the Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs,[4] fostering continued scholarship in the ethics and policy of criminal law, and in legal and moral reasoning generally.

Personal life

Kadish was the son of Frances R. Kadish.[14] Kadish co-authored some work with his brother, Mortimer Kadish, a philosopher. He was married to June Kadish (1922-2011) for 68 years,[15] with whom he had two sons, Josh and Peter Kadish.[11]


  • Criminal Law and Its Processes: Cases and Materials, first published 1962, with Monrad G. Paulsen; 9th edition published 2012, with Stephen J. Schulhofer, Carol S. Steiker, and Rachel E. Barkow.
  • Ed., The Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (Free Press, 1983)[16]
  • Blame and Punishment: Essays in the Criminal Law (1987) (collection of a number of previously published pieces)[17]
  • M. Kadish & S. Kadish, Discretion to Disobey: A Study of Lawful Departures from Legal Rules (1973); later, M Kadish, S Kadish, MR Kadish, SH Kadish (2012)
Selected articles
  • "Methodology and Criteria in Due Process Adjudication. A Survey and Criticism", Yale Law Journal, 1957 ("one of the top hundred most cited law review articles of all time", according to Christopher Kutz[1]
  • "Legal Norm and Discretion in the Police and Sentencing Process", 75 Harv. L. Rev. 904 (1962)
  • "Some Observations on the Use of Criminal Sanctions in Enforcing Economic Regulations", The University of Chicago Law Review, 1963
  • "The Crisis of Overcriminalization", 374 Annals Am. Acad. Pol. & Soc. Sci. 157 (1967); 7 American Criminal Law Quarterly 17 (1968)
  • Sanford H. Kadish, "The Decline of Innocence", 26 Cambridge L.J. 273 (1968)
  • "Why Substantive Criminal Law: A Dialogue", 29 Clev. St. L. Rev. 1 (1980)
Bibliographies and tributes


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Andrew Cohen, "Former Dean and Criminal Law Giant Sanford Kadish Dies at 92", Berkeley Law News, Sept. 5, 2014.
  2. See Sanford H. Kadish, "Codifiers of the Criminal Law: Wechsler's Predecessors", 78 Colum. L. Rev. 1098 (v.78, n.5, June 1978) for a review of the time prior to the MPC and the early work that led to it.
  3. John S. Bowman, Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Sanford Kadish '48", Columbia Law School Profiles.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Edward C. Halbach, Jr., "Sanford Kadish: A Dean Retires and a Colleague Returns", 70 Cal. L. Rev. 515 (v.70, n.3, May 1982).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Sanford H. Kadish", University of Michigan Law School's Law Quadrangle Notes, v.5, n.3 (May 1961), available at the "University of Michigan Faculty History Project" (last visited Oct. 11, 2014).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Stephen J. Schulhofer, 79 Cal. L. Rev. 1408 (1999).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Michael S. Moore, "Tribute: Retirement of Sanford Kadish", 79 Cal. L. Rev. 1401 (v.79, n.6, Dec. 1999)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Meir Dan-Cohen, 1418 Cal. L. Rev. 1417 (1991).
  10. Fred R. Shapiro, "The Most-Cited Articles from the Yale Law Journal", 100 Yale L.J. 1449 (1991).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Adrianna Dinolfo, "UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Emeritus Sanford Kadish Dies at 92" (obituary), The Daily Californian, Sept. 10, 2014.
  12. Jesse Choper, "Sanford H. Kadish", 79 Cal. L. Rev. 1415 (1991).
  13. Sanford H. Kadish, Guggenheim Fellows database (last visited Oct. 11, 2014).
  14. New York Times Death Notices, Nov. 5, 1970.
  15. June Kadish, Obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 2011 (available at
  16. Glanville Williams, "Book Review: Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice", 72 Cal. L. Rev. 1347 (Dec. 1984).
  17. John Kaplan, "Book Review: Kadish on Criminal Law", 76 Cal. L. Rev. 769 (1988).

External links