This is a full-year program offered for 10 credits (5/semester). Four of the 10 credits are classroom credits (for which students receive letter grades at the end of the year) and 6 are fieldwork credits (graded credit/no credit). The Prosecutors Program is open only to day or evening students (including Accelerated JD students) in their final year of law school who qualify for certification pursuant to SJC Rule 3:03. The fieldwork placement is in a district or municipal Court where students represent the Commonwealth in criminal cases under the direct supervision of an assistant district attorney. As student prosecutors, participants learn the multi-faceted role of the district attorney in the prosecution of criminal cases including handling arraignments and bail hearings; interviewing witnesses; providing discovery; handling pre-trial conferences and motions; engaging in plea negotiations, formulating sentence recommendations, and handling pleas; handling post-conviction motions; and preparing for trial. Students are likely to handle evidentiary hearings on Motions to Suppress and may also handle bench or jury trials during the year.
The classroom component consists of lectures, discussions, and simulations focusing on criminal procedure, courtroom advocacy, prosecutorial ethics, case preparation, and the exercise of discretion by prosecutors. Students are required to submit reflective journals and time logs and, at the end of each semester, a short paper. Students must have available at least one full day per week, other than Wednesday, in the fall semester (8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.) and two full days per week in the spring semester (8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.) for court appearances and case preparation. The in-court time commitment is in addition to time required for class preparation, the seminar, and journal and time log entries. Students’ preferences for court assignments will be solicited, and court assignments will be made at or before the beginning of the fall semester. Students will be expected to begin their placements the first week of classes. In addition to the clinic-wide, one-day orientation in August 2019, students accepted to the Prosecutors Program must also be available for a full-day clinic-specific orientation on TBD.
Evidence is a prerequisite for all students, but co-enrollment in Evidence may be permitted for Accelerated JD Students. Preference will be given to students who will have completed a trial practice course or the equivalent (e.g., Trial Team) before the start of the fall semester. If a student represents that s/he will take Trial Advocacy during the summer 2019 semester and fails to do so, and if there are applicants on the wait list who will have completed a trial practice course, a qualifying student from the wait list will be selected to replace the student originally admitted. If clinic space remains for students who will not have completed a trial practice course before the start of the fall semester and any such students are accepted into the clinic, those students are required to register for and complete a trial practice course in the fall 2019 semester. Concurrent enrollment in Trial Advocacy is option for Accelerated JD students.
Students will not be able to engage in employment in which they handle criminal or juvenile defense matters during the academic year in which they are enrolled in the clinic and will need to avoid all potential conflicts if they have outside employment. Also, please note that each district attorney’s office will conduct a background check, including a criminal record check, before accepting a student for placement, and the ability to be placed is a requirement of clinic participation. If there is anything in your background that might preclude a placement in a district attorney’s office, please speak with the clinical professor to discuss whether placement is likely to be a problem. If you have any questions, contact Professor Christina Miller.