This one-semester clinic provides students with various courtroom experiences of representing indigent defendants charged with non-violent offenses who remain in jail awaiting trial because they cannot afford the bail amount. Students typically appear at three District Court hearings before various judges. The clinic also provides the opportunity for students to engage in a law reform project intended to enhance Maryland’s current pretrial release and bail system. Prior students have engaged in a range of projects, ranging from proposed legislation and Rules Committee revisions to bail reform and pursuit of a litigation strategy for extending the right to counsel to the initial appearance.
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 conclude this portion of the clinic by engaging in a series of simulated exercises, including arguing for a client’s 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 ranging from $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 professional responsibility and lawyers’ 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:
|539D (CRN: 97080) Credits: 7|
Fall, 2015 (Day).
Tues: 12:00-2:00 Thurs: 12:00-2:00, Rm 202.
0 openings. (Limit 8).