This course gives students the opportunity to engage in the criminal defense of indigent individuals charged with crimes in local courts in Tompkins County. The course has both a classroom component and a courtroom component.
“If you want to do criminal work, this was a good introduction into the localized nature of criminal practice and procedure.” - Anonymous student
What to Expect
Court/Case related activities
Students in the course represent clients in court before local judges. Each student works as a team, but has lead responsibility for their own clients.
Representation is limited to clients charged with misdemeanors or non-criminal violations.
“Court appearances and research was interesting and practical.” - Anonymous student
The courtroom component involves regular attendance at Ithaca City Court proceedings, including pre-trial conference sessions. Attendance at various Town Courts may be required (transportation is not required).
The criminal charges typically faced by clients include harassment, criminal mischief, criminal contempt, misdemeanor DWI, disorderly conduct, various drug offenses, assault and vehicle and traffic offenses (excluding traffic tickets).
During the semester students will be expected to:
The opportunity to conduct non-jury trials depends upon the individual case and the outcome of the plea-bargaining process. Most cases are resolved by plea negotiations prior to trial.
Research cases in 2006 included:
The classroom component of the course involves discussion, lecture and courtroom simulation exercises.
Classroom activities are linked to case representation. Exercises and discussion provide mentoring, theoretical issues tied to criminal representation and practicum exercises to provide the foundations and skills to be applied by students in client representation.
“If you want to improve speaking skills, this gave you the opportunity to do that.”
- Anonymous student