Criminal Prosecution Clinic
Through Stanford’s Criminal Prosecution Clinic, students shape the outcome of felony prosecutions in conjunction with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Guided by Professor George Fisher, six students learn basic case preparation and courtroom skills on campus in a trial advocacy class. Then they spend Thursdays and Fridays working on their cases with guidance from Professor Fisher and prosecutors at the DA’s office. Students confront cases with strategic and logistical challenges and grapple with the complex ethical issues that define prosecutors’ fundamental charge to seek justice.
As the semester progresses and students master basic courtroom skills, the classroom component shifts to an examination of the local mechanisms of justice. Topics include the institutional strengths and weaknesses of the actors in the system and the impact of race, gender, and class on the quality of justice.
The Criminal Prosecution Clinic helps students learn what it means to act morally with power. Prosecutors are the system’s front line of defense against wrongful convictions. If the evidence to convict isn’t there—or wasn't gotten legally—the prosecutor can drop the case before it ever reaches a judge or jury.
-Professor George Fisher, Faculty Co-Director, Criminal Prosecution Clinic