Suffolk Prosecutors Program
The Prosecutors Program provides students with the opportunity prosecute cases for a District Attorney's Office in a district or municipal court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a full year. Students perform all the tasks of an Assistant District Attorney and bear the responsibilities of representing the government in criminal proceedings.
These tasks may include:
- Arraignments and first appearance hearings
- Pretrial conferences
- Plea negotiations and hearings
- Interviewing and preparing witnesses
- Pretrial motions (including motions to suppress and dismiss)
- Bench and jury trials
- Sentencing hearings
- Post-conviction motions
A student prosecutor's responsibilities may include:
- Complying with stringent ethical rules particular to prosecutors (See Mass. R. Prof. R. 3.8)
- Diligently procuring and expediently providing all discovery
- Thoroughly investigating cases
- Using known facts to screen for probable cause and appropriate charge(s)
- Conducting in-depth legal research
- Writing motions, oppositions to motions, informative memoranda
- Preparing for motion hearings and trials
- Formulating sentencing recommendations
In addition to in court work, students will learn about the procedures and law they will use to perform their work through weekly classes, where Associate Professor Christina Miller works with students to not only teach substantive rules and procedures, but also provides experiential learning opportunities through mock exercises, written assignments, and in-class group work. The classroom discussions, exercises, and simulations focus on criminal procedure, courtroom advocacy, prosecutorial ethics, case preparation, and the exercise of discretion by prosecutors. Students use reflective and skill development journals and case assessment assignments to further their experiential learning.
Students are in court one full day per week in the fall semester and two full days per week in the spring semester. The in-court time is in addition to time required for class preparation and assignments. Classes are held on Wednesday. A student may not work in court on that day. Students are also expected to attend two full-day orientations. The All-Clinic Orientation occurring in August (before the first day of classes) and a Prosecutor Program Orientation occurring on a weekend day in September.
Credits & Grades
The Prosecutors Program is offered for 10 credits during a student’s 3L year. Four of the ten credits are earned through classroom work, for which the student will receive a letter grade at the end of the year. The remaining six credits are earned through in court work, for which the student will receive a "credit/no credit" grade.
Qualifications & Prerequisites
A student must be in their final year of school and qualify for certification pursuant to the Supreme Judicial Court's Student Practice Rule 3:03. Evidence is a prerequisite for all students, trial practice course or the equivalent (i.e. Trial Team or similar experience) may be given preference or students may take a trial practice in the Summer or concurrently in the Fall semester. Accelerated JD students may take evidence or trial practice concurrently with the Prosecutors Program in the fall semester. Day and Evening students who represent on their application that they intend to take Trial Advocacy in the summer or concurrently with the fall semester of their third year will be considered after others who have completed all prerequisites.
- Students are not allowed to engage in employment where they handle criminal or juvenile defense matters during the academic year in which they are in the clinic. Students are screened for conflicts if they have any outside, legal employment
- Students are subject to a criminal background check. While it may not prohibit a student from participating, early determination of inclusion or exclusion is required. If there is anything in a student's background that would appear in a criminal background check, please speak with Associate Professor Christina Miller during the application period
If you have any questions, please contact Associate Professor Christina Miller.