Linda M. Merola

Linda M. Merola

Linda M. Merola

Associate Professor

Constitutional law, privacy and technology, terrorism, evidence-based courts, survey and experimental methods

Dr. Linda Merola is an Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and a Senior Fellow of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at GMU. She received her Ph.D. in government from Georgetown University, where she was awarded the Harold N. Glassman Award for Excellence in Research, given to the most accomplished dissertation across the social science disciplines each year. Professor Merola also holds a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, where she served on The George Washington Law Review and was admitted to the Virginia State Bar Association upon graduation.

Professor Merola's academic interests focus on constitutional law and, specifically, on understanding the ways in which societal changes may influence individual liberties. For example, Dr. Merola has published numerous journal articles and research reports concerning the use of advanced police technologies (such as automatic license plate recognition and body-worn cameras), including their impacts on individual privacy, on justice agencies, and on police-community relationships. A second line of Professor Merola’s research examines public and expert opinions about civil liberties and security policies in the context of terrorism. Finally, Dr. Merola’s work also focuses on the courts, with a particular interest in supporting their use of empirical research evidence. 

Professor Merola has received advanced training in statistics, as well as in survey and experimental methods. At George Mason, Dr. Merola teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses related to constitutional law, privacy, terrorism and security, and the courts. In 2016, she was the recipient of GMU's Students As Scholars Mentoring Excellence Award and she has also been recognized as a finalist for the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award. 

Selected Publications

Merola, L.M. & Murphy, R.P. (2022). Understanding the Public’s Opinions of UAV-Assisted Residential Monitoring by Police. Fordham Urban Law Journal 49(4), 763-805.

Gill, C., Hibdon, J., Lum, C., Johnson, D., Merola, L., Weisburd, D., Cave, B. & Chahal, J. (2020). “Translational criminology” in action: A national Survey of TSA’s playbook implementation at U.S. airports." Security Journal, 34(2), 319-339.

Merola, L.M., Lum, C., & Murphy, R. (2019). The impact of license plate recognition technology (LPR) on trust in law enforcement: A survey-experiment. Journal of Experimental Criminology 15(1), 55-64.

Merola, L.M. (2016). Talking about NSA Wiretapping and Guantanamo: A systematic examination of the language used by different networks to report post-9/11 policy dilemmas concerning rights. International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Symbols (5)1, 20-34.

Merola, L.M., Lum, C., Koper, C.S., and Scherer, A. (2016).  Body Worn Cameras and the Courts: A National Survey of State Prosecutors. Report for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Fairfax, VA: Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University.

Cynthia, C., Koper, C., Merola, L., Scherer, A. & Reioux, A. (2015). Existing and Ongoing Body Worn Camera Research: Knowledge gaps and opportunities. Report for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Fairfax, VA: Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University.

Merola, L.M. & Lum. C.  (2014). Predicting public support for the use of license plate recognition (LPR) technology by police. Police Practice & Research:  An International Journal 15(5), 373-88.

Merola, L.M., Lum, C., Cave, B. & Hibdon, J.  (2014). Community support for license plate recognition.  Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 37(1), 30-51.

Merola, L.M. & Vovak, H. (2013).  The challenges of terrorist and extremist prisoners: A survey of U.S. prisons. Criminal Justice Policy Review 24(3), 735-58.

Merola, L.M.  (2013). Speaking truth to power?  Civil liberties debates and the language of law review articles during the post-9/11 period. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 5(3), 194-216.

Merola, L.M. (2013).  Transmitting the threat: Media content and the discussion of critical civil liberties issues since 9/11. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 5(1), 1-19.

Merola, L.M. & Lum, C.  (2012). Emerging technologies: Privacy and the case of license plate recognition (LPR) technology. Judicature 96(3), 119-26. 

Merola, L.M.  (2012). Strangers in your town:  How considerations of potential power influence judgments about civil liberties for disliked groups. New England Journal of Political Science 6(1), 56-98.

Gould, J.B., Hartley, R., Raftery, W., Merola, L. & Oleson, J.C.  (2011). Overwhelming evidence: The challenges and opportunities of evidence-based management in the courts.  Judicature 95(2), 61-69.

Lum, C., Hibdon, J., Cave, B., Koper, C. & Merola, L. (2011).  License plate reader (LPR) police patrols in crime hot spots: An experimental evaluation in two adjacent jurisdictions.  Journal of Experimental Criminology 7, 321-45.

Merola, L.M. (2011). Evaluating the legal challenges and effects of counterterrorism policy.  In C. Lum & L. Kennedy (Eds.), Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy (pp. 281-300). New York: Springer Publishing.

Lum, C., Merola, L., Willis J., & Cave, B. (2010). License plate recognition technologies for law enforcement: An outcome and legitimacy evaluation. SPAWAR and National Institute of Justice: Washington, DC. (106 pages)

Merola, L.M. & Gould, J.B.  (2010).  Navigating judicial selection: New judges speak about the process and its impact on judicial diversity.  Judicature 93(5), 183-93.

Merola, L.M. & Gould, J.B. (2009).  Improving diversity on the state courts: A report from the bench.  Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: Washington, DC.

Merola, L.M. (2008).  Emotion and deliberation in the post-9/11 media coverage of civil liberties.  Democracy and Society 5: 5-17.

Courses Taught

CRIM 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice

CRIM 303 Experiencing the Criminal Justice System

CRIM 423 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties

CRIM 424 Constitutional Law: Criminal Process and Rights

CRIM 491/492 Criminology, Law and Society Honors Seminar

CRIM 720 Law and Social Science

CRIM 721 The Constitution, Criminal Procedure and Security

CRIM 730 Courts and Constitutional Law

CRIM 795 Special Topics: Privacy and Technology

Dissertations Supervised

Amanda J. Reioux, Obstetric Violence and the Law: Socio-legal Perceptions of Childbirth Violations (2023)

Emily C. Smedley, Linguistic Analysis of School Shooters' Leakage: examination of Dr. Langman's Typology (2023)

Kate Doyle Feingold, Teaching Youth Their Miranda Rights: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2020)