Pamela  Wilkins

Associate Professor of Law

Wilkins, Pamela
Contact Info:
Campus: Riverfront Campus
Building: Dowling Hall
Room: 301
Phone: (313) 596-0250
Wilkins, Pamela
Areas of Expertise:
Criminal Law and Procedure
Death Penalty
Insanity Defense
International Criminal Law and Procedure
Women in Law


  • J.D. University of South Carolina School of Law '93
  • A.B. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill '89


Professor Wilkins joined the faculty of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2003.  She teaches Applied Legal Theory and Analysis, Torts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and the Death Penalty in America.  In 2010, she was awarded the School of Law’s Barnes Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching.

After graduating from law school, where she served as Associate Editor in Chief of the South Carolina Law Review and was a member of Order of the Coif, Professor Wilkins clerked for Justice Jean H. Toal, the first female justice (and current Chief Justice) on the South Carolina Supreme Court.  After working as an Associate at Hunton & Williams, Professor Wilkins practiced public interest law for several years, representing death-sentenced inmates in state and federal post-conviction proceedings and other indigent clients in a variety of civil matters. 

Her scholarship focuses principally on the Eighth Amendment, with a particular focus on mental illness and the death penalty.  Her work has been cited in many of the nation’s best known law reviews, including the American University Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, and the Cornell Law Review.  Her 2005 article on felon disenfranchisement, The Mark of Cain, also has been cited by the United States Court of Appeals and the United States District Court.

When not at work, Professor Wilkins enjoys hiking, cooking, playing the flute, and watching old Joan Jett videos on you tube.


Rethinking Categorical Prohibitions on Capital Punishment:  How the Current Test Fails Mentally Ill Offenders and What to Do About It, 40 U. MEM. L. REV. 423 (2009).

Competency for Execution:  The Implications of a Communicative Model of Retribution, 76  TENN. L. REV. 713 (2009).

The Mark of Cain:  Disenfranchised Felons and the Constitutional No Man’s Land, 56 SYRACUSE L. REV. 85 (2005).

Death by Default:  State Procedural Default Doctrine in Capital Cases, 50 S.C. L. REV. 1 (1998)(co-authored with John H. Blume).

Courses Taught:

Applied Legal Theory and Analysis (1080)

Torts (1130)

Criminal Law (1140)

Criminal Procedure (2100)

The Death Penalty in America (2600)