Felony Criminal Defense Externship


Felony Criminal Defense Externship (LAW 70729)

Students in the Felony Criminal Defense Externship will provide representation to criminal defendants in the St. Joseph Superior Court pursuant to a Student Practice Certification. With direct supervision by Public Defender and Adjunct Assistant Professor Stanley Wruble, students will represent indigent clients charged with lower-level felonies which can routinely be resolved within one semester. Students will represent their clients through all phases of the criminal justice system from charging through plea negotiation or trial and will perform the following tasks: client interviewing and counseling, factual investigation, legal research, case theory formulation, motion practice, suppression and evidentiary hearings, plea negotiation with deputy prosecutors, and trials.

Structure and Academic Component
Felony Criminal Defense Externship is a one semester, four credit course that will have four students per semesters. They will attend classroom seminars that focus on criminal law issues and procedures in St. Joseph Superior Court. These classroom sessions will be “front-loaded” to arm students with the knowledge needed to start their casework at the beginning of the semester. Students must attend four 3-hour classroom sessions specifically designed for the Externship during the first two weeks of the semester, plus two additional three-hour sessions later in the semester, focusing on trial strategy and preparation. Students will meet weekly with Professor Wruble to monitor their progress and provide guidance and instruction. Students will be given a letter grade for one credit hour of the classroom component, and will be graded on a pass/fail basis for the remaining three credit hours.

Classroom sessions, client meetings, and weekly supervision meetings will be held primarily in Professor Wruble’s downtown South Bend law office.

Work Load and Requirements
Students will be required to devote 12 hours per week to case work in addition to the classroom sessions. Each student will have six to eight cases, depending on how quickly cases are resolved. A student with a case that is resolved quickly at the onset of the semester will be assigned another case.

Students will have occasional brief courtroom sessions that typically occur between 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Trials will typically last all day for one to days.

Evidence is a prerequisite or corequisite course. It is preferred, although not formally required, that students applying for this Externship will have taken either or both of the following: Constitutional Criminal Procedure: Adjudication and Constitutional Criminal Procedure: Investigations. Trial Advocacy, either Comprehensive or Intensive, is another preferred prerequisite or corequisite but will not be formally required.

Selection of Students
Students will be required to apply for the class. Students with a sincere interest in criminal law, whether as prosecutor or defense counsel, get priority. Four students will be selected based upon the application and prerequisites, with preference given to students in their third year.

This course does not meet the Skills Requirement.

Instructor: Adjunct Professor Stanley Wruble