Criminal Law in Practice

Criminal Law in Practice

Course Description

Pre-req.: Evidence, co-req.: Ethics

Highly Recommended: Criminal Procedure I, Criminal Procedure II, Trial Practice, Evidence & Trial Practice

This course will be led by Professor Leo Romero. He will be assisted by four adjuncts--two adjuncts assigned to the course by the Bernalillo County Public Defender’s Office and by two assigned by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office.

Law School Credit and Grading

The course will be offered for four credits, and will be graded on a “CR”, “C-”, ”D+”, “D”, “D-“, “F” basis. Although the course includes a field experience component, it does not count toward the required six credit hours of “in-house” clinic.

Classroom component

The class will meet for two hours each week. Instruction will include topics of applied criminal law, evidence, professional responsibility, and trial practice. Students will view problems from the perspectives of both criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors. The perspective of others in the criminal justice system, such as judges and corrections workers will also be included to the extent possible. Because the classroom component will involve both defenders and prosecutors, principles of professionalism will be explored.

Field Experience Component

Eight students will be assigned to the Bernalillo County Public Defender’s Office and eight will be assigned to the District Attorney’s Office for field experience work. The field experience will consist of ten hours per week. The supervision of the students’ field work will be provided by assistant public defenders and assistant district attorneys. These attorneys will work with students to assure that the students have meaningful field work each week. In addition to hands on experience, students’ field work will include observation of many of the lawyering tasks undertaken within the respective offices. Students may be assigned to either the felony or misdemeanor division. Depending on a student’s qualifications (having completed courses in criminal procedure, evidence, and trial practice) she or he will be assigned direct case responsibility (under the supervision of an experienced lawyer) for handling all or portions of their assigned cases, including motions and trials in a wide array of cases. The experience will be rich, intensive, and diverse.