The Death Penalty Clinic is a one-semester clinical course offered for four credits. Students in this clinic will be working on actual death-penalty cases under the direct supervision of Professor Stephen K. Harper.
Death Penalty Clinic students will assist capital defense attorneys with gathering documents and evidence, analysis of discovery, mitigation investigations, interviewing clients and witnesses, legal research, drafting pleadings and memoranda, and will assist with strategic decisions related to the development and integration of the theories of defense. The emphasis will be on making a case for life. By the end of the semester, students will have acquired a basic understanding of the many ways in which “death is different.” They will have obtained knowledge of the basic components of death-penalty litigation and the many additional skills necessary to the effective representation of a capital client. They will have learned how to develop theories of defense and mitigation and will understand the critical importance of integrating the first and second phases of a capital case. Students will have an appreciation of the many issues, techniques, and priorities unique to death penalty litigation and the many differences between capital and noncapital cases. Importantly, they will also come away with having acquired many of the basic litigation skills common to all types of cases, such as legal writing, legal research, fact investigation, and the development of case theories and themes.
- Credits: Four graded credits
- Time Commitment: Average 14 hours a week (minimum 196 hours for the semester), which includes case work, supervision, and a seminar.
- Faculty: Stephen K. Harper
- Prerequisite: 45 credits and Death Penalty Law
- Pre- or Co- Requisite: Professional Responsibility
- Certified Legal Intern Certification Required: Not required