** This course meets the Professional Skills requirement for graduation.
This clinic provides students with the opportunity to assist in the representation of indigent criminal defendants charged with or convicted of capital offenses. Students work under the supervision of attorneys on death penalty cases at the trial, appellate, and post conviction stages of the legal process. Students perform various tasks that are integral to death penalty representation, including visiting clients on death row; interviewing witnesses and conducting field investigations; drafting motions, appellate briefs, and habeas petitions; and assisting attorneys in the preparation for trials, evidentiary hearings, and appellate arguments.
Clinic students are expected to devote an average of 10 hours of work per week to their clinical responsibilities during the semester, though the workload in any given week will vary, depending on the needs of the case to which the student is assigned. Investigative work on some cases may require out-of-town travel.
The Clinic meets once a week as a class (two hours) for training and practical skills sessions related to death penalty representation.
Attendance at these sessions is mandatory.
As a prerequisite to enrolling in the Clinic, students are required to take concurrently, or to have taken previously, the Capital Punishment course (Law 278R / 378R).
First-semester second-year students are welcome to enroll in both the Clinic and the Capital Punishment course, which takes as its subject the substantive and procedural law governing death penalty trials and appeals.
A background in Texas and federal constitutional criminal procedure is also extremely helpful, but not required, to enroll in the Clinic.
Grading is pass/fail. There is no paper or examination.
In addition to selecting the Clinic during Early Registration, students must fill out a short application