Three Strikes Project: Criminal Justice Reform & Individual Representation
This seminar offers a unique opportunity to study criminal justice reform in real time. California's "Three Strikes and You're Out" sentencing law is one of the most infamous criminal laws in America. Last year, California voters enacted an overhaul of the recidivist sentencing law ("Proposition 36")-prompted by work conducted by SLS students enrolled in the Three Strikes Project. In this seminar, students will read and discuss a variety of cases and articles, examining the evolution of the Three Strikes statute as a case study in the history, politics, practical considerations and legal regulation of sentencing in the United States. In addition to studying the law, students will have an opportunity to test their skills in the field, assisting in the representation of inmates currently serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law and hoping to win release under Prop. 36. Students will visit the client in prison, conduct factual investigation in the field, and draft petitions on the client's behalf. Students will also contribute to ongoing policy work to ensure the effective implementation of Prop. 36. The Three Strikes Project is an ongoing, fast-paced organization that depends on the hard work and contributions of law students enrolled in the seminar. This course offers the opportunity to both study the theory behind the law, and to hone practical litigation and advocacy skills in and out of the courtroom. In Autumn Quarter and Spring Quarter, the seminar will meet for 3 hours per week. Students will also meet for 1 hour individually and in teams with Project director Mike Romano each week to discuss their work on their projects. In Winter Quarter, the class will meet for a weekly "case rounds" session. Students will also meet for 1 hour individually and in teams with Project director Mike Romano each week to discuss their work on their projects. Students who have already completed one quarter of study in the Three Strikes Project may apply to enroll in the seminar for an additional two units of credit in Winter Quarter 2014. Consent Application: Interested students must apply to enroll in the seminar by sending a one-page statement of interest and resume to Mike Romano (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.