Criminal Appellate Clinic

The Criminal Appellate 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 before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in direct appeals from criminal convictions. The clients include incarcerated individuals who have been convicted of serious felony offenses. 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 moot arguments before experienced appellate practitioners; and argue cases before the Court of Special Appeals.

The weekly classroom component of the course integrates theory and practice by surveying the legal rules that are relevant to Maryland appellate practice; criminal appellate practice; the role, function, and constitutional underpinnings of appellate representation for indigent and incarcerated individuals convicted of criminal offenses; 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.

P: Criminal Procedure or Evidence

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course