Students in the Criminal Prosecution Clinic prosecute misdemeanor offenses in Delaware County, located just north of Columbus. Students act as lead counsel in their cases, prosecuting charges from theft and disorderly conduct to weapons offenses and domestic violence. Students handle their cases from just after arraignment to disposition. Their work includes interviewing complainants and witnesses, conducting investigations and legal research, developing case strategies, negotiating with defense attorneys, communicating with law enforcement, and appearing in court to represent the State on motions, plea hearings, and trials.
The clinic has a long-standing and close relationship with the judges and prosecutors in the City of Delaware. The faculty member teaching the clinic is appointed each fall as a special prosecutor, allowing the clinic full discretion in its handling of cases. Clinic students work creatively and holistically to identify and address the problems underlying the criminal conduct and engage in best practices to ensure the ethical and appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion.
In addition to their casework, students meet twice a week as a class to discuss their cases and reflect on readings and assignments exploring larger issues in the American criminal system. Classroom discussions consider factors that contribute to acts of violence and other wrongdoing as well as critiques of and alternatives to the current system. Students participate in field trips and learn about recent innovations in prosecution and crime prevention across the country, providing a foundation for discussing reform. These experiences help prepare students for a career in criminal prosecution or defense, while the transferrable skills built over the semester serve students pursuing careers in private practice as well as in public interest and government jobs.