Criminal Prosecution Clinic: Clinical Methods
Prosecution Clinic students prosecute cases at the San Jose Superior Court under the guidance of Santa Clara County prosecutors and a faculty supervisor. They formulate case strategy, identify and interview witnesses, and advocate before the court at evidentiary motions and preliminary hearings. The cases, almost all felonies, include drug offenses, thefts, burglaries, assaults, and a range of less common crimes. Police witnesses are most common, though students sometimes offer testimony from crime victims. When defendants testify or offer other witnesses, they face cross-examination by clinic students. Students spend three full days a week in the D.A.'s office. All six students must spend all day Tuesdays and Fridays on site. Each student must also choose a third on-site day, when the student will work closely with the student¿s on-site supervisor. The six students need not all choose the same third day, but each student must pick a day that stays constant through the term. There generally will be two class sessions each week a three-hour on-campus class and a lunchtime seminar in the D.A.'s office. At the beginning of the term classes focus on skills training, including direct and cross-examination, admission of physical evidence, and argument. Toward the end of the term the focus shifts to an examination and critique of the local mechanisms of criminal justice. Topics include the impact of race, gender, and class on the quality of justice; the institutional strengths and weaknesses of the actors in the system; and the ethical issues that confront prosecutors and defense lawyers. Students typically tour the Santa Clara County jail and crime lab, San Quentin Prison, and the Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton and have the option to spend an evening on a police ride-along. Students must submit regular written reflections on their experiences in and observations of the local justice system. Their assigned cases often will demand written court filings. Evidence is a prerequisite. In rare cases a concurrent clinic module in evidence can fulfill this requirement. Courses in criminal procedure (investigation) and trial advocacy are strongly encouraged. Class attendance is mandatory, and class participation will be considered in grading. Students will be asked to commit to the course in the summer of 2012; dropping the course after committing will not be permitted. Special Instructions: General Structure of Clinical Courses The Law School's clinical courses are offered fulltime for twelve credits. Clinic students may not enroll in any other classes, seminars, directed research, or other credit-yielding activities within the Law School or University during the clinical quarter. Nor may they serve as teaching assistants expected to attend classes regularly. There is a limited exception for joint-degree students required to take specific courses each quarter, who would be foreclosed from taking a clinic unless allowed to co-register. Students are expected to be available by e-mail or cell phone during workday hours Monday through Friday. The clinical quarter begins the first day of classes and runs through the final day of exam period. Students should not plan personal travel during the Monday-to-Friday workweek without the authorization of their on-site and faculty supervisors. Students are expected to devote at least thirty-five hours per week on average to various facets of this work. In some weeks longer hours may be required depending on casework demands. Students will be awarded three separate grades for their clinical quarter, each reflecting four credits. The three grades are broken into the following categories: clinical practice; clinical methods; and clinical coursework. Grading is on the H/P system. Students may not enroll in any clinic (basic or advanced) that would result in their earning more than 27 clinical credits during their law school career.