** This course meets the Professional Skills requirement for graduation.
Instructors: Robert Kepple and Jeremy Sylestine
The objective of this course is to educate students on the law and legal issues commonly encountered in criminal prosecution, and to familiarize the students with the unique duties and responsibilities of a criminal prosecutor not simply as an advocate, but as a minister of justice.
The course consists of a 2-credit classroom component and a 3-credit internship program in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. All credits are pass/fail. The course is open to students who have completed the first two semesters of law school, but enrollment is limited and preference is given to students who have completed 43 credit hours and who would be eligible to appear in court for the State under the supervision of a licensed prosecutor. It is strongly recommended that students have completed Evidence prior to this internship.
The classroom component of the course will require students to study substantive and procedural law and issues commonly-encountered by criminal prosecutors, covering topics such as charging instruments, discovery, search and seizure, jury selection, public integrity prosecution, trial tactics, evidence, post-conviction DNA, and oral advocacy. Students will also spend significant time discussing the unique ethical responsibilities and duties of a public prosecutor, with focus on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and the National Prosecution Standards.
Each student will also be assigned to a trial court or to the Family Justice Division in the district attorney’s office, and will be supervised by prosecutors assigned to the court and the Division. Students can expect to gain active experience in all aspects of the day-to-day functions of the public prosecutor, including the charging decision, pleading, discovery, motions to suppress evidence, motions to revoke probation, and the trial of the case. Commensurate with experience and opportunity, students may have the opportunity to actively participate in the courtroom proceedings.
Students are required to fill out applications for admission to the course, and will consult with the instructors in advance regarding their court placement. Students must work 60 hours per credit for their internship. Each student will arrange a mutually convenient work schedule with their supervising attorney. Students may not receive compensation for their internship.