Catalogue 2019 - 2020

LAWS 905 Criminal Law Clinic



Course Description

Students in the Criminal Clinic work as student assistant district attorneys within the Hampden County District Attorney's Office. By court rule, students in the Clinic are authorized to practice in any District Court case, which includes a mix of both misdemeanors and felonies. Typical of the offenses litigated by students in the District Court are possession and/or distribution of controlled substances, domestic violence offenses including assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and violation of a restraining order, larceny, assault and battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During the course of the semester, a student attorney will appear in three different sessions of the District Court: the arraignment session (in which students represent the Commonwealth in bail hearings), the motion session (in which students prepare and litigate oppositions to motions to suppress and motions to dismiss) and, ultimately, the trial session (in which a student prepare and litigate jury and jury-waived trials.) This clinic allows students to gain substantial exposure over the course of the semester to the entire process of litigating a criminal case. In addition to the fieldwork as a student attorney within the Hampden County District Attorney's Office, there is a classroom component which operates as a combination seminar/simulation. This part of the course is quite intensive for the first three or four weeks of the semester as well as the week prior to the start of classes. Students must attend a two day orientation the week before classes begin, no exceptions will be made to this mandatory orientation. Following this initial training period, the class will meet at the designated time for a two-hour session on a weekly basis for the balance of the semester. Prerequisites: LAW 553, Evidence and LAW 706, Criminal Procedure Investigation. Enrollment is limited each semester to eight third-year full time and fourth-year part time students who have been selected through the clinic application process. No student may maintain outside legal employment while participating in this clinic. All students will be CORI/criminal records checked by the District Attorney's Office. A student is required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible. A student must successfully complete 32 hours of law studies before enrollment in a clinic. A student may not simultaneously enroll in more than one clinic, more than one externship, or a clinic and an externship.