Criminal Practice Externship

This course can be taken full-time or part-time in one semester. This placement is only available to incoming third-year students. Typical placements include the offices of the State Attorney, U.S. Attorney, and Public Defender.

Placement in the State Attorney’s office and U.S. Attorney’s office provides eligible students with intensive exposure to criminal prosecution practice through a combination of actual trial practice and classroom work. Students are assigned to work in either the State Attorney’s office in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach Counties, or the U.S. Attorney’s office.

After a short orientation, students are given a docket of cases for which they are responsible. Under the supervision of an assistant state attorney, the students engage in plea bargain negotiations and try cases to the court or, in some cases, to a jury. Students have many opportunities to evaluate different styles of lawyering by watching criminal trial lawyers in action.

Placement in the Public Defender’s office provides students the opportunity to defend indigent adults and minors charged with felonies and misdemeanor crimes such as assault, theft, or drug and weapons possession. The cases frequently involve issues concerning the legality of searches and seizures, identification procedures, or confessions. They also may involve the defenses of insufficient evident, mistaken identity, alibi, entrapment, or self-defense.

In addition to learning investigative and trial techniques, students learn about alternatives to incarceration and creative approaches to sentencing. To supplement and refine their practice experience, students attend a weekly class in which they discuss their cases, relevant law and what they have encountered in court.

Prerequisites: Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility
Co-requisites: Trial Advocacy Practice
Course Credit: 12 credits (one semester)
Grading: This is a Pass/Fail clinic
Faculty: Ken Noto