Three Strikes Project: Criminal Justice Reform & Individual Representation
NOTE: The Three Strikes Project open to new students in the Autumn and Spring Quarters only. Only students who have previously enrolled in the Three Strikes Project may apply to enroll in the Advanced Three Strikes Project in Winter Quarter 2015. Any student may apply to enroll in the course in Autumn Quarter 2014 or Spring Quarter 2015 (no previous enrollment required). 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. In 2012, California voters enacted an overhaul of the recidivist sentencing law ("Proposition 36"), which was drafted in part by SLS students enrolled in the Three Strikes Project. This November, a new ballot measure based on Proposition 36 will be voted on by California voters. 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. We will also follow the new ballot measure ("Safe Neighborhoods & Schools Act") and its potential changes and impact on California's evolving criminal justice system. 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. 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 and related reforms. 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, 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. CONSENT APPLICATION: Interested students must apply to enroll in the seminar by sending a one-page statement of interest and resume by email with the subject line "application" to Mike Romano (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments.