The Appellate and Post-Conviction Advocacy (APCA) Clinic is offered as a year-long, eight-credit course. Students must enroll in the course for the full year (four credits each semester for a total of eight credits). The clinic, which requires a considerable amount of legal research and writing, is best suited for very hard-working, self-motivated students.
Over the course of the year, students in the clinic represent clients in both the appellate and post- conviction phases of a criminal case. During the fall semester, the scope of representation focuses primarily on a direct appeal before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (Maryland’s intermediate appellate court). During this representation, students working under active faculty supervision do some or all of the following: interview and advise clients; read trial transcripts (and other parts of the record); identify and select issues; conduct legal research; prepare several drafts of appellate briefs and/or other pleadings; conduct moots; and present oral arguments in court.
During the spring semester, the representation shifts to a collateral attack on a criminal conviction. This representation typically entails a post-conviction proceeding in state court. During this representation, students working under active faculty supervision do some or all of the following: interview and advise clients; read trial transcripts (and other parts of the criminal case record); conduct limited factual investigations; identify and select issues; conduct legal research; prepare or revise drafts of post-conviction petitions and/or other pleadings; and participate in evidentiary hearings.
The clients include incarcerated individuals who have been convicted of serious felony offenses. Some, but not all, of these clients may have credible claims of innocence or legal arguments with potential law reform significance. The weekly classroom component of the course integrates theory and practice by surveying the legal rules that are relevant to appellate and post-conviction practice, and critically analyzing the sometimes conflicting values related to notions of finality (the need to bring an end to litigation challenging convictions and sentences) and fairness (the interest in avoiding wrongful convictions and incarceration). In class and in the assigned readings, students will also be asked to consider questions of ethics and professional responsibility.
Students who enroll in the course are required to attend Law Practice Orientation at the start of the semester.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Spring 2018.