College of Law

Cannon Lecture Series


Brandon Hasbrouck

On Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, Professor Brandon Hasbrouck presented "Prisons as Laboratories of Antidemocracy." He argued how prisons have served as laboratories of antidemocracy to suppress labor and community organizing, free speech, access to information, protest, and bodily autonomy. He claimed that prisons are woefully ineffective as tools to prevent individuals from harming society, yet America's prison population exploded in the 20th Century. On the outside, this devastated Black communities, Black opportunities, Black economic power, and Black voting power. In addition, a similarly insidious development came from inside prison walls - prison administrators honed antidemocratic techniques for constraining and oppressing prisoners that would later be deployed against the ostensibly free population. 

Brandon Hasbrouck is a professor at Washington and Lee School of Law. He is an award-winning and acclaimed scholar and teacher that writes in the areas of criminal law and procedure, constitutional law and theory, movement law, and abolition. Professor Hasbrouck's research explores the legal and constitutional principles available to Congress and the courts to redress the ways law fails Black and other marginalized people and the structural possibilities for radical change in American society. He has been published in numerous law reviews and media outlets such as The Washington Post, has authored or coauthored amicus briefs in federal court, and has been cited or quoted in many other federal court opinions and other popular publications. He is a columnist for the Boston Globe’s "The Emancipator," and is frequently consulted on litigation strategies involving civil rights and racial justice.

Before teaching, Professor Hasbrouck worked at two prestigious law firms, McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, and clerked for two legendary Black federal judges, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Roger L. Gregory of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Professor Hasbrouck is admitted to the bar of New York State, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law.

About the lecture

This free, public lecture is part of the Cannon Lecture Series that was established in 1980 to honor former Toledo attorney Joseph A. Cannon. The series hosts nationally known individuals who explore both the humanistic dimensions and limitations of our legal system. For a list of guest speakers and lecture videos from previous years, please visit our past speakers page. Photos from this lecture can be viewed in our Flickr album


McQuade Law Auditorium is on the main level of the Law Center — located at 1825 West Rocket Drive, immediately inside the UToledo West Entrance off of Secor Road and south of Bancroft Street. Free guest parking is available for this event, but only in designated spaces within Parking Area 12W. See the parking attendant to be directed to the designated area. Metered parking is also available within marked spaces facing the Center for Performing Arts. Metered rates can be found at the payment kiosk or the ParkUToledo website.

Last Updated: 3/20/23