Law Course Catalog

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7620. Clinic: Criminal Defense

4.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: Pre or co-requisite: Criminal Procedure (7645) and Evidence (7560)

Grading Basis: Graded

Students in this clinic represent individuals facing criminal charges in Connecticut Superior Court. Students appear as certified legal interns under Connecticut’s liberal student practice rule and assume responsibility as the primary advocates on the clinic’s cases. Students interview and counsel clients, design legal strategy and draft motions, create and carry out investigation plans, conduct negotiations with prosecutors, and handle court hearings from arraignments to trials and sentencing hearings. Students learn the fundamental principles of zealous, client-centered representation and explore the role of criminal defense lawyers in the broader criminal legal system. Cases handled by the clinic involve a broad range of charges (such as robbery, assault, sexual assault, stalking, burglary, criminal trespass, larceny, arson, drug possession and sale, and others). Many of the clinic’s cases present issues of considerable factual and legal complexity. Coursework, class discussions, and simulation exercises focus on building the skills inherent in effective lawyering, developing a deep understanding of the constitutional frameworks and foundational legal principles in criminal practice, and exploring the role of race and poverty in the carceral system.