Criminal Justice Clinic

Students in the Criminal Justice Clinic represent low-income individuals charged with misdemeanors in state criminal court. In addition, students work on broader criminal justice reform projects and other related matters, such as assisting prisoners and those who were formerly incarcerated.

Under the close supervision of the clinic director, clinic students will zealously represent indigent clients charged with misdemeanors in local state criminal court. Students will work on all aspects of case preparation and make all required court appearances. Tasks may include arraignments, factual investigations, motions hearings, plea negotiations, trials, and sentencing proceedings.

Clinic students will strengthen many key lawyering skills, including client interviewing, oral advocacy, negotiation, strategic thinking, and developing a theory of the case. Adhering to a holistic model of criminal defense, students will also work to assess their clients’ interests beyond the narrow confines of the criminal case, and will assist their clients with needs such as housing, mental health treatment, and employment. The classroom component will cover relevant substantive law, including Fourth Amendment search and seizure law and the intersection of immigration law and criminal law.

In addition, clinic students will work on criminal justice reform projects that strive to positively impact the community in which their individual clients live. Through these community-based projects and the clinic seminar, students will place their individual client work in the broader context of the local community and the criminal justice system, and will consider issues of local and national importance, including race and policing, mass incarceration, and the challenges of reentry.

The Criminal Justice Clinic provides free criminal defense representation to low-income individuals charged with misdemeanors. Call for more information: (949) 824-8152

La Clínica de Justicia Criminal (CJC) provee representación de defensa criminal gratis para individuales de bajos recursos acusados de un delito menor. Llame para más información: (949) 824-8152

Learn more about the Criminal Justice Clinic (PDF) >

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