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Tonya Krause-Phelan

Tonya Krause-Phelan

Associate Dean of Academics, and Professor

A.A. Ferris State University 1983
B.S. Ferris State University 1985
J.D. DePaul University College of Law 1988

[email protected]

In 2005, I joined the Cooley faculty as a visiting professor teaching Criminal Law. I became a full-time professor at Cooley in 2006. In July 2022, I took on the additional role of Associate Dean of Academics.

Before joining Cooley, I worked as both a private criminal defense practitioner and as an assistant public defender with the Kent County Office of the Defender in Grand Rapids.

While in private practice, I served as adjunct faculty for the School of Criminal Justice at Ferris State University, where I taught Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.

During my years in practice, I lectured on a variety of criminal law topics, including "Junk Science in the Courtroom: Cross-Examining the Child Sexual Abuse Accommodations Syndrome Expert" and "Getting Experts in Court-Appointed Cases." I also served on the faculty for the Hillman Trial Advocacy Program.

I frequently appear as a commentator on numerous radio, television, print, and internet media sources regarding criminal law and procedure issues.

I’ve served as co-editor and editor of The Informant, a publication of the former Kent County Criminal Defense Bar. I have also served as editor of Right to Counsel, a publication of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.

At Cooley, I teach Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Defending Battered Women, Criminal Sentencing, and Ethics in Criminal Cases. I have assisted with the West Michigan Defenders Clinic, and have coached national mock trial and moot court teams.

Articles (Law Reviews and Law Journals)

  • Heather Garretson, Tonya Krause-Phelan, Jane Siegel & Kara Zech Thelen, The Value of Variety in Teaching: A Professor's Guide, 64 J. Legal Educ. 65 (2014).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Joni Larson, Nelson P. Miller, Kim O’Leary, Derek Witte, & Vicki Eggers, Using a Faculty Inquiry Process to Examine Student Responsibility for Learning, 61 J. Legal Educ. 280 (2011).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Criminal Procedure, 55 Wayne L. Rev. 195 (2009).

Books and Chapters in Books

  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, "Opening Doors," in Lawyer Storytelling: A Sacred Craft, edited by Nelson Miller, 155-171 (Crown Management 2017). 
  • Nelson P. Miller & Tonya Krause-Phelan, Preparing for the Multistate Bar Examination: Multiple-Choice Strategies and Multiple-Choice Questions, Answers and Explanations on Every MBE Topic and Subtopic, Vol. 1, All Subjects (Crown Management 2017).

Short Works

  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, For Sentencing Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, May a Court Apply the Modified Categorical Approach to a Prior Conviction Based on a Statute That Lists Alternative Means of Committing a Crime as Opposed to Alternative Elements? 43 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 282 (2016).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Does Mere Possession of a Short-Barreled Shotgun Constitute a Violent Felony for Purposes of Enhancing a Sentence Under the Armed Career Criminal Act? 42 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 257 (2015).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Does the Retroactive Application of a State Court Ruling That Abolishes the Well-Established Common Law Diminished Capacity Defense Violate a Defendant’s Due Process Rights and Warrant Habeas Relief? 40 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 308 (2013).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Does a State Burglary Statute That Is Missing an Element of Generic Burglary Require a Categorical Approach Analysis or May the Sentencing Court Look to the Underlying Conduct for Purposes of Determining an Armed Career Criminal Act Sentence Enhancement? 40 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 183 (2013).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Does a State Court Prisoner’s Motion for Leniency Constitute an “Application for State Post-Conviction or Other Collateral Review”? 38 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 139 (2010).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Can the Court Combine Strickland and Other Precedent to Determine the Applicable “Clearly Established Federal Law” in Assessing Counsel’s Assistance? 38 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 45 (2010).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, When Is a Prior State Conviction for Felony Battery a “Violent” Felony for Purposes of an Enhanced Sentence? 37 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 62 (2009).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, To Support a Money-Laundering Conviction, Must the Government Prove an Appearance of Legitimate Wealth? 35 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 227 (2008).


  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Presentation, Getting a Grip: Frameworks for Assessing Instructional Mastery, (Topeka, Kan..) (Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference 2010).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Presentation, Connecting the Dots: Stimulating Law Students to Love the Law, (New York, N.Y.) (Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference 2011).
  • Tonya Krause-Phelan, Presentation, The Idea SwapMeet: A Journey to Variety, (Spokane, Wash.) (Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference 2012).