Forensic Defense Clinic

Course Description

Students in the Forensic Defense Clinic will take the Advanced Evidence: Forensic Science in Criminal Cases seminar along with other non-clinic students, and will also be enrolled in a two-hour, 3-credit practicum that combines practical skills development and clinical supervision. The Forensic Defense Clinic is offered in partnership with the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law.

In this clinic, students will assist in the representation of indigent accused or convicted persons through a specific focus on issues related to forensic evidence, including traditional forensic methods, novel technologies, and surveillance tools. Consistent with the mission of the Gibson-Banks Center, students enrolled in the clinic will examine and interrogate the contribution of forensic methods to intersectional inequality and injustice in the criminal legal and related systems.

The Advanced Evidence: Forensic Science in Criminal Cases seminar component of this clinic will provide an intensive survey of forensic evidence and experts in criminal cases paying special attention to DNA evidence; pattern evidence (e.g., fingerprint analysis); and digital and algorithmic methods, including surveillance tools. Students will explore legal principles governing and regulating use of forensic evidence in criminal cases, with particular focus on admissibility. To bring the subject matter to life, students will be given a criminal case file involving forensic evidence and participate in a simulated argument in lieu of a final exam or paper.

The practicum component of the clinic is intended to deepen students’ skill development while providing high quality representation to indigent clients. The practicum will combine development of practice skills relevant to case work and case supervision. Skills development topics will vary depending on the work being done in the clinic during any given term, but will on focus skills relating to complex forensic litigation including issue spotting, analysis of relevant legal rules and admissibility frameworks, advanced legal research and writing, research and report writing for policy briefs/white papers, and the role of amici, among other topics.

Clinic field work/case work will vary based on topical issues in the field but will not involve live court appearances. Clinic case work may include a blend of policy work and litigation including post-conviction transcript reviews, amicus brief drafting, white paper development, and litigation consultation. In the fall 2024 semester, field work will focus on analysis of post-conviction cases for compliance with the Maryland Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Abruquah v. State, 483 Md. 637 (2023), which limited the admissibility of certain firearms analysis evidence.

This clinic will be offered in fall 2024 as a one-semester clinic for three credits (combined with the Advanced Evidence: Forensic Science in Criminal Cases course for a total of 6 credits). All students enrolled in fall clinic will be required to attend in-person clinic orientation on Friday, August 23, 2024, in addition to any clinic-specific orientation that the professor may schedule.

Prerequisite: Evidence

Current and Previous Instructors

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions

P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course

Currently Scheduled Sections

CRN: 99970

  • Fall '24
  • 6
  • 300A/B
  • Tues: 9:50-11:50


  • Maneka Sinha

    Molly Ryan

  • 0 openings. (Limit 6).

Satisfies Cardin Requirement