Criminal Practice Clinic (Professor Krieger)

Clinical Prerequisite: primarily for students preparing for defense or prosecution externship

The Criminal Practice Clinic provides training in the trial and pre-trial skills necessary to function as an effective prosecution or defense attorney. The course traces the criminal process from the time an accused is taken into custody or charged with a crime through the determination of guilt and sentencing. Students not planning to extern may enroll on a space-available basis. The course is not offered during the summer term. Grading is pass/fail with an S+/S- option. Students receive three hours of academic credit. Classes generally meet 3 hours per week during the term; the concluding mock trial meetings are 4 hours, usually in the evening.

Note that Prosecutor/Defender externships vary in credit (from 4-12). A 9- or 12-credit, full litigation experience requires previous completion of Criminal Practice Clinic or Trial Practice.   Evidence is a prerequisite or co-requisite for the CPC course.   Professional Responsibility and Criminal Procedure-Police are not required before taking this course, but are required before beginning your externship. [For Criminal Procedure-Police, you may request a waiver from Professor Krieger when applying for the Criminal Practice Clinic.]

Enrollment in CPC is individually approved by the faculty supervisor. Priority for enrollment is given to students fully committed to the related 9- or 12-credit externship; next priority goes to students fully committed to a 6- or 4-credit criminal externship.  Students MUST file an application form with the Externship Office by the posted deadline to be considered for the course. Application forms are available online during the advertised application period. The Program Assistant will register students for this class. Students (a) may not simultaneously take Civil Pretrial Practice; and (b) may not also take Trial Practice (credit will not count toward graduation requirement), except that Mock Trial team members may also take Mock Trial Practice but will receive reduced credit (2) for Criminal Practice Clinic because of overlap. Other important considerations for the CPC course:

  1. This course is often overenrolled. Because the externship that follows this course requires Certification (CLI status) under the Student Practice Rule, students seeking to maximize their likelihood of taking this program are advised to apply to the Florida Bar (for either certified status or full membership) early. Status toward certification (including, if not yet certified, date of Bar application) is an important factor in selection for this course. You may also benefit from applying for this course early in law school, to have additional opportunities if not immediately admitted.
  2. There is also a part-time prosecutor/defender externship that does not require this course or Trial Practice. The part-time externship provides a substantially reduced experience compared to the 9- and 12-credit options. See program descriptions at SA/PD/RCC.
  3. Unless waived in writing by the instructor, students must complete a 9- or 12-credit Prosecutor or Defender litigation externship (not appeals) in order to receive a satisfactory grade for the Criminal Practice Clinic.  More information on this policy, on registering for fewer credits of externship, and on waivers to take this course without committing to the externship may be obtained from Professor Krieger as part of the preregistration application process.
  4. If there are too many applicants for externships in a given semester (exceeding 20 in the Summer, 15 in the Fall, or 10 in the Spring), students who are not enrolled will be excused from the externship requirement if they so choose (or may extern in another semester if they prefer and can otherwise do so).
  5. Students who receive a U for the CPC course are generally disqualified from the externship, as are those who receive S-, unless the faculty supervisor is confident of their ability to succeed in the externship.   Further, the prosecutor/defender externship is a rigorous experience which requires initiative, focused attention, interpersonal skills, and self-motivation from each student. Consequently, students who do not consistently display these qualities during the CPC course will not be enrolled in the externship, regardless of the grade they obtain in the course.  Similarly, students whose previous record creates questions about these qualities will receive reduced priority for enrollment in the prerequisite Criminal Practice Clinic if it is over-enrolled.

**Interested students should be aware that these externships, like the actual work of a prosecutor or public defender, involve a large amount of case processing, pleas negotiations, and the like. A student’s time is therefore not primarily spent in trials, and this reflects the reality of a prosecutor of defender in practice. Because these are high-credit programs, during the externship semester there is also a substantial amount of reporting (daily journal, monthly reports, etc.), and Web discussion with other students.