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Misdemeanor Defense Clinic prepares students for life in the courtroom

Misdemeanor Defense Clinic

Spring Semester, 2020

During the Spring 2020 semester, the Misdemeanor Defense Clinic is representing five clients with charges ranging from Driving under the Influence, Battery and Leaving the Scene of an Accident without Giving Information.  These charges are all Class A Misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail.

As part of the clinic experience and to ready students for real-life practice upon graduation, the students appear in court for each appearance the clients make.  The students interview clients and witnesses and when called for, view the scene.  They are also responsible for filing motions including motions for discovery and Fourth Amendment motions as well as preparing and issuing subpoenas.

Inside the classroom, the students, in partnership with their supervising professor, rehearse opening statements, direct and cross-examinations and practice closing arguments to make sure they are prepared when they go to court.

At this time, it appears that at least two of the five cases will involve litigation including pretrial hearings and trials. In one case, the Clinic is hopeful to have dismissed prior to trial.  The remaining two cases will result in pleas for which the students will prepare mitigation packets requesting sentences that do not carry convictions. 

As the semester is currently in progress, there is still much left to be seen but one thing is certain: the students will continue to be immersed in real-life experiences which will prepare them for life in the courtroom long after their educational journey has ended.