This clinical practicum provides students with instruction in the laws and policies governing post-conviction relief in capital and life without parole cases coupled with lawyering experience in handling ongoing cases in Missouri and other capital jurisdictions. The course is taught by adjunct professors who litigate capital cases in Missouri and other states.
During class sessions, the course will examine legal and policy issues involved in capital post-conviction litigation. The readings and class discussion will provide not just the doctrine in post-conviction cases but also address the ways lawyers can use their skill to challenge convictions and sentences. Doctrinal and practical facets to be covered in the classroom portion are expected to include: death penalty constitutionality; overview of law and procedure in state courts; “evolving standards of decency” and exclusion of intellectually disabled and juveniles; the roles of juries; entitlement to the effective assistance of counsel; state post-conviction procedure; and federal habeas corpus relief.
Some class sessions will be held at St. Louis University School of Law. Days and times of meetings will be arranged around the instructors travel schedules.
The majority of the student’s course time will be spent working with the instructors, practicing attorneys in the field, on capital cases. This hands-on legal work will provide students with the opportunity to develop lawyering skills such as interviewing, fact development and analysis, problem solving, legal research and writing, organization and management of legal works, and professionalism.