As lawyers and public citizens we share responsibility to seek to improve the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of legal services rendered by the legal profession. This course will introduce students to these goals and to methods to achieve them in the context of the rights of defendants in the criminal justice system. The reform methods will include litigation, legislation, executive action, consultations, and empirical research and resulting private or public reports. To understand and apply these methods, and to learn about the limits of lawyer-initiated reform as well as its potential, students will work on selected criminal justice reform projects and in the process provide representation to criminal defendants and petitioners. Projects likely will include the following: 1) helping to represent a Maryland death-row prisoner while working on litigation aimed at reversing his death sentence, a clemency petition seeking commutation of his death sentence, and legislation aimed at repealing the death penalty; 2) in consultation with the Office of Public Defender and appropriate representatives of state prisoners, conducting a study of the provision of counsel in state post-conviction proceedings and making appropriate recommendations; and 3) helping to identify state criminal law doctrines that defendants should challenge, and helping assistant public defenders prepare and file motions that raise these issues, preserving them for appellate review. There may be an additional project or projects. The course will be in the nature of a laboratory in which to identify and examine criminal justice system problems that undermine the rights of defendants and to develop and begin to implement strategies for reform. This is a six credit course open to second and third year students. It satisfies the Cardin Requirement. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. Preference will be given to third year students who need to satisfy the Cardin requirement.
|This course is not currently scheduled.|