Advocacy of Criminal Cases

This course introduces students to the law and skills involved in criminal practice, including a semester-long case simulation to help students hone the skills they learn.

Advocacy of Criminal Cases

Advocacy of Criminal Cases

Advocacy of Criminal Cases (ACC) introduces students to the law and skills involved in criminal practice. The topics covered include charging, arrest and pre-trial release, discovery, suppression and exclusion of evidence, and trial. The skills developed include information acquisition (interviewing, direct and cross examination, and drafting discovery requests), development of a case theory, case planning, and persuasion (memoranda of law, oral argument and summation). The course follows New York’s penal and criminal procedure laws and rules of evidence. The twice weekly seminars alternate between skills exercises, discussion of criminal law, procedure and ethics, and simulations of the major stages of a criminal case from post-arrest through jury trial. Throughout the semester, student litigation teams consisting of two prosecutors and two defense attorneys, each supervised by faculty, litigate a single criminal case.

The semester-long case simulation includes interviews (police, client and witness), arraignments (local criminal and superior courts), a probable cause hearing, scheduling conferences, plea negotiations, a suppression hearing and argument, and a full-day jury trial. In addition, students draft accusatory instruments, discovery and suppression motions, memoranda of law, and requests to charge. Approximately half of the seminar sessions are devoted to focused skill exercises and drills and discussion designed to prepare the students for their roles in the semester-long case simulation.

Approved for the Experiential Learning Requirement. The course is offered in the spring semester only, and is open to 2Ls and 3Ls. Neither the Criminal Justice Workshop and Seminar nor Trial Advocacy may be taken in the same semester as ACC. Enrollment is limited to 16 and permission of the instructors required. Registration is binding. Application and interview are required, and the application can be found on the Academics section of the NYLS Portal under Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning. 

Recommended for the Following Professional Pathways: Criminal Defense; Criminal Prosecution; General Practice – Litigation/Dispute Resolution

For 2Ls: Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure Law – Investigation, and Co-requisite: Criminal Procedure – Adjudication

For 3Ls: Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure Law – Investigation, Criminal Procedure – Adjudication

Recommended Course: Criminal Procedure – Ethics in Criminal Practice

Prerequisites may be waived at the discretion of the professor.

6 Credits (Spring)


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Graduation Requirements