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Michal Buchhandler-Raphael

Associate Professor of Law


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Curriculum Vitae

Phone: 717.541.3942

“I love teaching and immensely enjoy the intellectual exchanges with students. I hope that my passion and enthusiasm for teaching helps my students become engaged in class and excited about using the law to promote justice. I strive to create a learning environment that welcomes students from all backgrounds and makes everyone feel valued and comfortable in the classroom.”

Professor Michal Buchhandler-Raphael joined Widener Law Commonwealth in 2020 from Washington and Lee School of Law, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law teaching courses in Criminal Law and Family Law, as well as two seminars, Criminal Regulation of Vice and Freedom of Speech.

Professor Buchhandler-Raphael studies the intersection of substantive criminal law with gender-based violence, including sex crimes and domestic violence. Her scholarship largely focuses on the gender-based implications of the criminal legal system on both survivors and perpetrators of crime, through an intersectional lens. Among others, Professor Buchhandler-Raphael examines the relationship between two closely related phenomena in existing criminal legal system: the over-criminalization, over-enforcement, and mass incarceration on one hand, yet the under-criminalization and under-enforcement of specific crimes like sex crimes, on the other.

Her recent scholarly projects have focused on exploring the relationship between criminal law and emotions, including anger, fear and compassion, as well as offenders’ underlying motives for committing violent crimes. In a forthcoming article in Cardozo Law Review, titled “Survival Homicide,” she proposes that state legislatures adopt a designated offense to prosecute survivors of domestic abuse who killed abusive intimate partners or other abusive family members.

Delving into psychological research on various emotions, she completed a series of three articles: Compassionate Homicide, published in the Washington University Law Review, Loss of Self-Control, Dual-Process Theories and Provocation, published in the Fordham Law Review, and Fear-Based Provocation published in the American University Law Review.

In another project, titled The Overmedicalization of Domestic Violence in the Non-Carceral state, published in Temple Law Review, Professor Buchhandler-Raphael argues that adopting alternatives to criminalization of domestic violence, including mental health interventions, raises similar concerns that characterize existing carceral measures.

Professor Buchhandler-Raphael’s other articles have been published or forthcoming in leading flagship law journals including Cardozo Law Review (twice), Florida State Law Review, University of Richmond Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review and Tennessee Law Review, and her work has been cited in popular Criminal Law casebooks.

Professor Buchhandler-Raphael has extensive practice experience in criminal investigations, after serving for nine years in the Israel National Police. As a legal counsel with its Headquarters’ Investigation Division, she drafted legal guidelines, provided legal opinion to various police units, and served as a liaison between the Israel National Police and the Israel Attorney General’s office. Her experience also includes active military service in the Intelligence Directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces.

As a proud naturalized American citizen, and an immigrant from her native country, Israel, Professor Buchhandler-Raphael is passionate about embracing, contributing and enhancing all forms of diversity at Widener Law Commonwealth and the Harrisburg community.

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law


SJD, University of Virginia School of Law
LLM, University of Virginia School of Law
LLM, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel
LLB, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, cum laude


Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Washington and Lee School of Law
Legal Counsel, Israel National Police, Headquarters Investigations Department
Judicial Clerk to the honorable Yehudit Tzur, Court of Appeals (Jerusalem Circuit), Jerusalem Israel

Bar Admissions

Member of the Israeli Bar Association

Selected Media Coverage

A paper published by Michal Buchhandler-Raphael was named to the top 10 most downloaded list in the Criminal Law eJournal on December 4, 2022. 

Michal Buchhandler-Raphael was quoted on 1/18/2022 on an article regarding the majority of states' laws treat sexual assault perpetrators differently if victims drank.

On December 2, 2021, Michal Buchhandler-Raphael provided analysis regarding the Ghislaine Maxwell trial.

WCCO-TV/CBS4 Minnesota
Michal Buchhandler-Raphael was quoted on 9/14/2021 regarding a new Minnesota Law being hailed as a significant victory for survivors of sexual assaults while intoxicated. 

faculty directory a-d e-k l-p q-z