• Sentencing Advocacy – 6868

    Spring 2019




  • Prerequisites

    co-req or prereq: Law 6085 Criminal Procedure or Law 6229 Criminal Process: From Bail to Jail

    Grad. Requirements
    • Experiential Learning
    Subject Area
    • Criminal Justice *
    • Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution & Advocacy
    Student Year
    Upper Division, LL.M.
    Grade Base
    A - F
    Course type

Sentencing advocacy has assumed the vanguard position of criminal defense. In what the Supreme Court has acknowledged has become an essentially administrative system of criminal justice, sentencing advocacy is now a critical - in some cases, the only - component in the criminal defense lawyer’s arsenal, and the site of some of the most sophisticated developments in the litigation of criminal cases. Taking this understanding as its backdrop, this class explores the role of sentencing advocacy in state and federal sentencing systems, the factors that influence its quality, and the insights from social scientists that can critique and improve it. The class will introduce the students to several guest speakers (defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, social scientists and mitigation specialists) who will put the role and quality of sentencing advocacy in perspective. Most significantly, students will learn themselves, through hands-on involvement in actual pending cases, how to strategize, research, and develop an effective sentencing petition. Thus, the class instructor will seek out cutting-edge/novel/interesting sentencing issues in the cases of court-appointed lawyers in state and federal cases for which students can draft the sentencing memoranda, research the sentencing guideline and mitigation issues, and develop the client’s counter-narrative to the prosecutor’s position (all with the appointed lawyer’s consent). The students’ work in this class will be subject to a strict confidentiality protocol developed in consultation with the Director of the Law Clinics.

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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