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James W. Diehm

Professor of Law

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Phone: 717.541.3939

“I would like to do what I can to prepare our students to become good lawyers by educating them not only about the subject matter, but also about the importance of integrity and professionalism.” 

James W. Diehm is a Professor of Law at the Harrisburg Campus of the Widener University School of Law. Prior to coming to Widener, Professor Diehm served as the Presidentially-appointed United States Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands from 1983 to 1987. Before receiving that appointment, he was a partner in a St. Croix law firm engaged in a litigation practice. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the United States Virgin Islands from 1974 to 1976, and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1970 to 1974.

He received his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1969. Professor Diehm has been a lecturer and an instructor at the Attorney General's Advocacy Institute of the United States Department of Justice, at courses provided by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, at seminars for judicial officials, and at a number of other similar programs throughout the country. He is the author of several articles and has, for four years, taught a course in Comparative Criminal Procedure in Widener's summer program in Geneva, Switzerland. In the fall of 1997 he was sent as a legal specialist, by the United States Department of Justice and the American Bar Association on a three-month mission to Ukraine and Russia to start the Criminal Law Reform Project in Ukraine. Professor Diehm teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Advanced Criminal Procedure.

Professor Diehm has been active in a number of professional organizations, including the National Association of Former United States Attorneys and the American Bar Association. During his most recent service with the United States Department of Justice, he was a member of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys. He has also served as the Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Committee on Rules of Evidence.

  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • Comparative Criminal Procedure

Selected Publications


Pleading Guilty While Claiming Innocence:  Reconsidering the Mysterious Alford Plea, 26 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 29 (2015). 

A Comparative Examination of the Purpose of the Criminal Justice System, 1 Ashburn Inst. Transnat’l L.J. 1 (2009).

The Introduction of Jury Trials and Adversarial

Elements into the Former Soviet Union and Other Inquisitorial Countries, 11 Fla. St. J. Transnat’l  L. & Pol’y 1 (2001).

The Government’s Duty to ‘Seek Justice’ in Civil Cases, 9 Widener J. Pub. L. 289 (2000).

Symposium, Prosecuting Transnational Crimes: Cross-Cultural Insights for the Former Soviet Union, 27 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. (2000). (Commentary on Immunity beginning at page 15, Commentary on the Keynote Address beginning at page 56, and Commentary on United States Jury Trials beginning at page 66).

New Federalism and Constitutional Criminal Procedure: Are We Repeating the Mistakes of the Past? 55 Md. L. Rev. 223 (1996).

Protecting Criminal Defendants' Rights When the Government Adduces Scientific Evidence: The Confrontation Clause and Other Alternatives─A Response to Professor Giannelli, in A Symposium on Current Trends of the Confrontation Clause, 22 Cap. U. L. Rev. 85 (1993).

Federal Expungement: A Concept in Need of Definition, 66 St. John's L. Rev. 73 (1992).

Impeachment of Jury Verdicts: Tanner and Beyond, 65 St. John's L. Rev. 389 (1991).


BA, Pennsylvania State University
JD, Georgetown University Law Center


Presidentially Appointed United States Attorney, District of the Virgin Islands
Partner, Law Firm of Isherwood, Hunter and Diehm
Assistant Attorney General for the United States Virgin Islands
Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

Bar Admissions

United States Virgin Islands (Inactive)
District of Columbia (Inactive)


American Law Institute
American Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Dauphin County Bar Association
Association of American Law Schools
National Association of Former United States Attorneys
Phi Beta Delta (Honor Society for International Scholars)
Phi Sigma Iota (International Foreign Language Honor Society)

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