Criminal Defense Clinic (Senderowicz)
T 8:00AM - 1:00PM
Silverman Hall 52
R 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Silverman Hall 52
PLEASE SEE IMPORTANT ENROLLMENT PROCEDURES FOR CLINICS AVAILABLE ON THE REGISTRATION INSTRUCTION PAGE.
This clinical course will introduce students to the daily practice of a Philadelphia public defender while cultivating the necessary skills to be a criminal defense lawyer. Clinic students will represent clients of the Defender Association of Philadelphia in felony preliminary hearings and misdemeanor trials in the Municipal Court of Philadelphia.
The CDC is comprised of a weekly seminar, court preparation, court hearings, and client interviews. Students will attend court about 8 times during the semester and will ordinarily be assigned one or two cases per court day. Students will directly counsel clients and interact regularly with judges, witnesses, assistant DAs, and court staff. Depending on the cases assigned, students may cross-examine witnesses in contested preliminary hearings; litigate full bench trials on misdemeanor offenses; argue motions to suppress evidence, for reduction of bail, discovery, or dismissal of charges due to speedy trial violations; or negotiate favorable non-trial dispositions. If courts mandate it, some hearings may be conducted virtually.
The instructor will supervise all court appearances, but students will conduct hearings, develop case theories, research relevant case law, and prepare lines of questioning and argument themselves. Non-court days will include lectures on criminal law, procedure, and trial skills, and presentations by attorneys working in specialized areas—such as appeals, diversionary programs, or with mentally ill clients.
Although the clinic is practically oriented, students’ cases and observations will inevitably raise broader issues regarding criminal law, including the intersection of law enforcement, race, and poverty, the wisdom of existing drug laws, the proper roles of judges, prosecutors, and the police, and the ethics of criminal defense work. Students with varying viewpoints on these and related issues are encouraged to enroll assuming they are willing to put their clients’ interests first.
MATERIALS: Instructor provided handouts re: statutes, case law, articles, and sample case files. Students are required to purchase the PA Crimes Code or print relevant statutes themselves. There will also be one required book that students will be assigned to read throughout the semester to stimulate discussion. You may purchase materials at the Penn Book Center.
TIME & LOCATION: The clinic meets 2 days per week (Tuesdays for Court and Thursdays for the seminar), typically for 3 hours each day. Preliminary hearing court typically begins at 7:45 am and ends by early afternoon. Misdemeanor trials begin at 9 am and can continue well into the afternoon. Students should plan accordingly. The Defender Assoc. is located at 1441 Sansom St. The Criminal Justice Center is at 1301 Filbert Street. Court is sometimes unpredictable and can sometimes extend beyond the preset scheduled time. In addition to class time, students should expect to spend 6 hours per week preparing for cases the day before court. This is a real-life experience where professional responsibility and unpredictability are expected.
REQUIREMENT & CREDIT: The course is open to 3Ls and 2nd semester 2Ls. You must be in Philadelphia to participate. Criminal procedure and evidence are pre or co-requisites. Enrollment is limited to 8 students. Class attendance and courtroom appearances are mandatory. There will be additional requirements that students must complete on their own time—such as observing and conducting interviews with new clients.
This is a 5 credit experience.
Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.
Constitutional Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of constitutional law; Perform legal analysis in the context of constitutional law; Communicate effectively on topics related to constitutional law; Demonstrate an understanding of constitutional law affects other areas of law.
Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.
Criminal Law and Procedure Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of criminal law and procedure; Perform legal analysis in the context of criminal law and procedure; Communicate effectively on topics related to criminal law and procedure; Demonstrate an understanding of the role criminal law and procedure play in society and their impact on other areas of law and society.
Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.
Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.
"Crimes Code of Pennsylvania" by Lexis Nexis