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Criminal Defense Clinic

Criminal DefenseThe Criminal Defense Clinic, the oldest of our  in-house clinics, provides representation to clients charged with misdemeanors and violations in Syracuse City Court.  The students do extensive fact investigation, interviewing, client counseling and plea negotations, and conduct hearings and trials.  Students represent clients on civil matters related to their criminal cases, such as school disciplinary hearings and benefits issues.

What to expect

CDC is a 1 semester, 6 credit clinic.  Students spend 20-25 hours per week on their cases and other clinic-related work.  Professional Responsibility, Evidence and Constitutional Criminal Procedure are co- or pre-requisites.

Students will:

  • Negotiate plea agreements, argue motions to dismiss, participate in pretrial conferences and hearings.
  • Conduct legal research and analysis.
  • Conduct fact investigations, and interview witnesses.
  • Draft discovery demands and motions.
  • Engage in critical analysis of the criminal justice system and potential reforms.

In the classroom

The CDC offers students the opportunity to learn about the following areas of law in context: New York State Penal Law and New York State Criminal Procedure Law, as well as a holistic approach to criminal defense practice.

"In the criminal defense clinic I was actively engaged
in the practice of law. I had real clients, with real problems,
who needed me to advocate on their behalf and help guide
them through the legal process. This required a thorough
knowledge of sustantive and procedural law, as well as a
constant attention to the rules of professional ethics.

James D. Flynn
Class of '09