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Robert Sand ’80
Striving for justice reform is the mission of Robert Sand ’80, a professor at Vermont Law School, who also holds the title of high bailiff of Windsor County, Vt.

Sand warned, however, high bailiff is just a lofty ceremonial title. “It’s a historical anomaly because my role is to arrest the sheriff if the sheriff needs to be arrested,” he said. In his two years in the job, Sand has arrested no one.

Vermont is the only state with such a position. “It’s a holdover [from] when the state did not have state police as the highest law enforcers,” Sand said. “The legislature decided checks were needed on the county sheriffs.” When the Vermont State Police was created in 1947, the role of the high bailiff became even less significant.

Sand said he ran for the two-year elected position as a lark in 2020 and is currently not seeking reelection. “I will continue to lobby the legislature to put some teeth into the position. If [they do], I might run again,” he said. “High bailiff could be molded into something serving a useful justice reform purpose.”

At Hamilton, Sand majored in English and then worked for four years in outdoor education in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, and New York City. After Vermont Law School, he clerked for a federal judge before spending two years in private practice and 22 years as a prosecutor, serving as the elected state’s attorney (DA) for Windsor County.

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As a professor since 2013, Sand specializes in criminal law and restorative justice. He is the founding director of the Center for Justice Reform at the law school, which offers a master’s degree in restorative justice.

“Any teacher gets excited when students realize their own potential in being reformers and agents of change,” he said.

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