The semester-long Criminal Defense Clinic provides a first-hand, experience-based study of the processes, strategies, responsibilities and challenges of indigent defense at the trial level. Through a combination of classroom lectures and discussions, readings, guest speakers, and representation of indigent defendants in actual criminal cases pending in the local courts under the direct supervision of an experience local criminal defense attorney, students will explore the full range of practical, ethical, and intellectual challenges inherent to indigent criminal defense. Students will also thoughtfully examine the relationship between race, poverty, and the criminal justice system. Each student will have the opportunity to perform all lawyering functions associated with their assigned cases, including interviewing, investigation, research, plea negotiation, and courtroom advocacy. Supervising attorneys will guide the students' case preparation, give practical advice, and help develop defense strategies in regular conferences. The full clinic meets once weekly in a seminar session where substantive areas of criminal defense practice are covered, including client management, evidentiary issues, criminal procedure, sentencing options, and ethical responsibilities. During the second half of the semester, the emphasis will be on workshopping individual cases, trial and negotiation exercises, and out of classroom experiences such as a tour of a jail and a police ride-along.
Midterm Type (if any): None
Final Type (if any): None
Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will not be required to prepare a paper or take an exam, but each student is required to prepare a series of memoranda in each case, beginning with the initial case assignment, continuing through the investigation and trial preparation, and ending with a closing memoranda.
Other Course Details
Prerequisites: (Civil Procedure (6000)) AND (Criminal Law (6003)) AND (Evidence (6104)) AND (Professional Responsibility (7071) OR Professional Responsibility in Public Interest Law Practice (7072) OR Ethics and Integrity for Law Firm Lawyers and Their Clients (SC) (7605)) 3L JD Status with eligibility for third-year practice certificate; Trial Advocacy, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Adjudiction, Criminal Procedure Survey and Negotation recommended but not required. Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.