This one-semester clinic provides students with various courtroom advocacy experiences of representing incarcerated poor and low-income people accused of non-violent crimes, who remain in jail awaiting trial because they cannot afford the bail amount. Students appear at 2-3 District Court hearings before various judges. The clinic also provides the opportunity for students to engage in a systemic law reform project intended to enhance Maryland’s administration of pretrial justice and provide alternatives to its reliance on money bail as a condition of regaining liberty. Prior students have engaged in a range of projects, ranging from proposed legislation and Rules Committee revisions to bail reform and class action litigation that resulted in establishing poor people’s constitutional right to counsel at initial appearances.
During the first third of the semester, students concentrate on developing advocacy and lawyering skills, such as interviewing, fact investigation, and theory of the case development. As part of their preparation for practice, students tour the Baltimore City Central Booking jail and become familiar with District Court Commissioner and bail review proceedings conducted there. Students then engage in a series of simulated exercises, culminating in their district court argument for pretrial release before a sitting District Court judge. Thereafter, they become Rule 16 certified to practice law as a student-attorney. As Rule 16 attorneys, law students use their developing skills to represent individual clients who have remained in jail since their arrest on bails typically requiring bond posted between $100 to $1,000.
Our bi-weekly, clinic-scheduled classes are devoted to understand Maryland practice, the pretrial release and bail system, the constitutional and statutory guarantee of counsel for indigent defendants, and the influence of race and class upon judicial balancing of individual liberty and detention. Throughout the semester, we discuss lawyers’ professional responsibility and ethical duties to the client, court and public.
By semester’s end, students will have had a variety of first-hand client and courtroom experiences and will have been introduced to systemic reform.
Students who enroll in this course are required to attend the Clinic Orientation Program prior to the start of the semester.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Fall 2016.