Criminal Law

David Dirgo Adjunct Law Professor

David Dirgo is a Career Law Clerk at the Nebraska Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.

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Michelle Paxton

Michelle Paxton Lecturer, Director of the Children's Justice Clinic and the Children's Justice Attorney Education Program

Michelle Paxton joined the College of Law in April, 2017 to create and lead the newest clinical program, the Children’s Justice Clinic. Ms. Paxton has served as the Director of Legal Training at University of Nebraska’s Center on Children, Families and the Law (CCFL). She develops curriculum and trains child welfare workers, probation officers, and mental health professionals on all aspects of juvenile court process and procedure in Nebraska. Ms. Paxton also receives Guardian ad Litem appointments from the Lancaster County Juvenile Court. Through her work at CCFL, she came to realize that effective advocacy in juvenile court requires both an understanding of the law and appreciation of the complex dynamics of children, families, and stakeholders comprising the child welfare system.  Ms. Paxton initiated the University of Nebraska College of Law and CCFL’s partnership to create a new clinical program wherein law students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively advocate for young children utilizing the training, support, and consultation from experts at CCFL.

Michelle Paxton received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she served as Executive Editor for the Law Review. Ms. Paxton has served as a Deputy County Attorney in Douglas and Lancaster Counties, specializing in juvenile law, domestic violence, and general criminal prosecution. She has presented comprehensively on all aspects regarding juvenile court including the Indian Child Welfare Act, Termination of Parental Rights, Expert Witness Testimony in Juvenile Court, and Observing Development in Young Children. 

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Professor Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt Associate Professor of Law and Courtesy Associate Professor of Forensic Science

Professor Schmidt joined the faculty in 2007. He received his B.S. degree in 1987 and spent the next eight years as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his M.A. degree in 1994 and his J.D. in 1998. Following law school, he worked in the Lancaster County Attorney's Office. As a Deputy County Attorney, he primarily prosecuted sexual assault and domestic violence cases, but also handled a wide variety of other felony and misdemeanor cases.

Currently, Professor Schmidt is heavily involved in an on-going project with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to assist as Mexico transitions its criminal justice system from a mixed inquisitorial to an oral adversarial model. He spends several weeks each semester in Mexico City teaching advocacy skills and working on that project.

He is an active member of the bar, serving as the Program Chair/President Elect for Inns of Court and as a member of the Lincoln Bar Association, having previously served as its president. In 2010, Professor Schmidt was presented the Warren K. Urbom Mentor Award by the Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court. When not working, Professor Schmidt enjoys spending time outside - riding his motorcycle, fishing or enjoying time with his sons.

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Professor Bob Schopp

Robert Schopp Robert J. Kutak Professor of Law

Professor Schopp practiced clinical psychology before turning to the study of law and philosophy in an attempt to understand some perplexing issues that he encountered during ten years of clinical practice. So far, he remains perplexed, but he likes to think that he is perplexed in a deeper and more comprehensive manner. He joined the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1989 after completing the concurrent law/philosophy program at the University of Arizona. His primary areas of interest involve questions that lie at the intersection of law, psychology and philosophy. These issues tend to arise in criminal law, mental health law, jurisprudence and professional ethics.

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Richard Wiener

Richard L. Wiener Professor of Psychology and Courtesy Professor of Law

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