Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic

Course Abbreviation: 

The Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic provides students with the opportunity to work in the criminal justice system.

The  Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic involves representation of indigent criminal defendants accused of misdemeanor offenses in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas under the supervision of an attorney from the Centre County Public Defender Office and the director of the clinic. Students learn litigation, negotiation and advocacy skills as they represent defendants through all stages of a criminal case. This hands-on experience is accompanied by a classroom component designed to give students guidance, feedback and an open forum to discuss their cases and the various facets of defense work. The subject matter of the classroom component is designed to follow the progress of each student’s cases as those cases work their way through the various stages of the criminal justice system.

The Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic has two primary objectives: 1) provide criminal defendants who cannot afford private counsel with highly effective representation that is client-centered, professional and ethical, and 2) create a structured and supervised environment which enables each student to gain a detailed, working knowledge of how to represent a defendant; apply that knowledge to actual criminal cases; and gain feedback and reflection after each important stage of the case.

Students earn 3 credits per semester and must commit to participate in the clinic for two semesters (Fall and Spring). Students must also enroll in a two-credit companion criminal trial simulation course during both semesters that they are enrolled in the clinic course. Visit the Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.

Professional Responsibility (PRORP 934) and Evidence (PROSK 955). Faculty approval required. Corequisites: Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Simulation (EXPR 940)