The Criminal Justice Clinic operates in collaboration with the St. Louis County office of the Missouri State Public Defender System. The clinic exposes students to real-life lawyering skills within the framework of the criminal justice system for adults charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses. The clinic is located in the St. Louis County Public Defender Office. Each student works closely with Professor Peter Joy as well as with attorneys in the Public Defender Office.

The major objective of the clinic is to assist the student in the transition to the role of a practicing lawyer by serving as lead counsel on preliminary hearings, bond hearings, and occasionally suppression and other pretrial motions, assisting with Circuit Court Dockets and probation revocation hearings, and assisting with pretrial motions and trials in felony cases.

Students work under student practice Rule 13 and are certified to perform the tasks of providing competent representation to clients and exposed to the legal and ethical problems criminal defense lawyers face. Students confront these problems in the lawyer’s role, identify and work to solve their clients’ legal problems as well as any ethical issues and receive feedback on their lawyering skills. By partnering with the Public Defender Office, students are immersed in the workings of this typical public defender office while still providing students with faculty supervision.

Typical Student Activities

  • Conduct initial appearances and assist with dockets.
  • Represent clients in preliminary hearings, bond hearings, probation revocation hearings, and suppression motions for felony cases.
  • Interview and counsel clients.
  • Draft briefs, motions, and other legal documents.
  • Engage in strategic case planning.
  • Whenever possible, sit second chair in a major felony case and/or participate in a misdemeanor trial.

Criminal Justice Clinic Faculty

Faculty and Staff Directory