Catalogue 2019 - 2020

LAWS 922 Criminal Law Defense Practicum



Course Description

Students in the Criminal Defense Practicum work as student defense attorneys at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) within the Hampden County District Courts. By court rule, students in the Practicum 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, 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 indigent defendants in bail hearings), the motion session (in which students prepare and litigate 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. Prerequisites: LAW 553, Evidence and LAW 706, Criminal Procedure Investigation. Enrollment is limited to 5 third-year full time and fourth-year part time students who have been selected through the clinic application process. A student is required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible. A student must successfully complete 28 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. (This course satisfies 4 experiential learning credits.)