Faculty / Nicole Martorano Van Cleve
Nicole Martorano Van Cleve, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice with courtesy appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Beasley School of Law.
Dr. Van Cleve received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University where she was a Legal Studies Fellow. Her research lies in the intersection of criminal justice, race, and cultural theory. Overall, her scholarship scrutinizes the cultural composition of legal institutions and investigates how these often hidden variables impact the equitability of laws and the consumer experience of institutions.
She received her B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern where she was awarded the Farrel Grant for Public Policy and the Badesch Fellowship from the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. She served in The Office of the Chief of Staff at the White House during the Clinton Administration and subsequently worked for five years as a Consumer Brand Planner for Leo Burnett, USA. She is the outgoing Research Director for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice where she worked on a system-wide study of the criminal justice system.
Nicole’s chapter, “Reinterpreting the Zealous Advocate: Multiple Intermediary Roles of the Criminal Defense Attorney” is featured in the book, Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context (Leslie Levin and Lynn Mather eds., University of Chicago Press, 2011) and was the winner of the 2010 Outstanding Paper presented by the Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association.
Her current book project, tentatively entitled, The Racialization of Criminal Justice: The Jim Crow Courts in an Era of Modern Racism, examines the racial dynamics in the processing of criminal defendants in Chicago-Cook County. Specifically, she explores how racial meanings become attached to the administration of justice - entrenched in the courtroom culture and practices that define the courtroom workgroup.