Catherine M. Grosso
Associate Professor of Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 417
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
J.D. 2001, with high distinction, Order of the Coif, University of Iowa College of Law; B.A. 1990, with honors, Earlham College
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
District of Columbia, Virginia (inactive)
Professor Grosso has been a member of the MSU College of Law faculty since 2008. Her scholarship primarily focuses on the role of race, victim/defendant relationships, and other extra-legal factors in the administration of capital punishment.
In August 2010, Grosso and Professor Barbara O’Brien released a comprehensive study showing striking patterns of racial discrimination in North Carolina capital case charging, sentencing, and juror selection decisions. The project, which was conducted in response to the state’s Racial Justice Act, has been cited in claims by more than 150 North Carolina death row inmates seeking to prove racial bias at the time of their charging or sentencing; those who succeed will be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Another recent study that Grosso co-authored with the late University of Iowa Professor David Baldus found even more dramatic racial disparities in military death penalty cases. Professors Grosso and O’Brien teamed up with the Michigan State Law Review to host a spring 2011 symposium on the effect of race in capital punishment cases.
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a Middle East concentration from Earlham College in 1990, Grosso spent two years in Washington, D.C., as an editorial assistant for the Middle East Journal. She was a liaison for the Middle East Council of Churches in East Jerusalem from January 1993 through October 1994, then served as project coordinator for the Human Rights Action Project at Birzeit University in the West Bank through August 1997.
Grosso graduated Order of the Coif in 2001 from University of Iowa College of Law, where she was an articles editor for the Iowa Law Review. She returned to the nation’s capital to clerk for the Honorable Frank E. Schwelb of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals before joining the D.C. firm of WilmerHale. Her practice included several capital defense cases, corporate litigation, and securities investigations. Grosso was a visiting assistant professor for three years at the University of Illinois College of Law prior to joining the MSU Law faculty.