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Defending a Criminal Case: Tactics, Theory, and Reform Short Course

This short course will explore the best and worst of criminal defense.  Criminal law practitioners and scholars tend to focus on the judge, the prosecutor, or even the jury instead of arguably the most important player in the courtroom: the defense attorney.  Often, the verdict is preordained long before opening statements, and not because of the evidence.  In far too many cases, the choice of defense counsel determines the outcome.  And many defendants have no choice.  This class will explore how some of the best defense attorneys in the country defended Senator Ted Stevens—one of Senator Stevens’s former lawyers, Rob Cary, will co-teach the class.  We will also examine a case where a defendant was wrongfully convicted due, in large part, to the ineptitude of his counsel.  An in-depth study of both cases will help students learn how defense attorneys—experienced and inexperienced alike—can better represent their clients before, during, and after trial.  More broadly, the class will examine the indigent defense system and discuss reforms necessary to ensure that all defendants can receive a just result. Enrollment Limited. [1]