The First of Its Kind
Operated in partnership with the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, North Carolina Central University School of Law has the first and only Criminal Prosecution Clinic in North Carolina.The Criminal Prosecution Clinic teaches students the importance of dedicated, knowledgeable, and professional counsel in furthering the cause of justice for both victims and the accused.
First semester students study prosecutorial ethics as well as the practical aspects of criminal procedure. Guest speakers include district attorneys from across the state. The second semester provides students with the opportunity to represent the State and victims of crime, primarily in district court, while under the supervision of an experienced assistant district attorney. Students gain valuable courtroom experience and practical skills that can form the basis for a successful career as a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney.
While serving as prosecutors, students will prepare and argue applicable pretrial motions in their cases. Students will consider alternatives to prosecution, conduct pleas negotiations, prepare witnesses for trial and represent the State in trials and sentencing hearings before the court. Such experiences help students develop the confidence and competence to handle the fast-paced atmosphere of criminal district court.
Our Requirements: Plan in Advance!
Before you reach the second-semester field component of the Clinic, you must have completed courses in Criminal Law, Evidence, Trial Practice and Criminal Procedure. If other prerequisites have been satisfied, students may take either Trial Practice, or Criminal Procedure simultaneously with the first-semester classroom component of the Clinic. However, it is recommended that students try to complete Criminal Procedure before enrolling in the classroom component to fully understand the topics and issues discussed in class.
From a Student Prosecutor
“I was prosecuting a guy for stalking his girlfriend. Along with constantly driving by her home, work and the schools where her two children attended, the defendant printed over 100 fliers that had a photo of the victim with the headline, ‘Illegal Immigrant in Our Community’. The fliers gave her home address, work address, names of her children and where they attended school, along with a laundry list of false accusations. Those accusations ranged from allegations of adultery all the way to molestation. The defendant then proceeded to distribute the fliers in all of the mailboxes of the victim’s neighbors, posted them all around her place of employment and at every local grocery store and gas station. To add insult to injury he used the court system to further harass her … after he tried to continue her stalking case for the sixth time (in an effort to force the victim to have to continuously miss work in order to appear in court) I finally got in front of a judge who agreed enough was enough and forced the defendant and his attorney to try the case that day. After all of this we were finally going to trial and it was at this point that my nerves set in. I didn’t want to somehow mess up the case after all that this victim had been through. Right before I called her to the witness stand I turned around to tell her not to be nervous; probably talking more to myself than to her. She looked up at me and said: ‘No matter what happens, thank you for sticking up for me.’ I realized that was the exact feeling I had that moment that I had been working so hard for … although the feeling when the judge said ‘guilty’ was pretty good too!” – Kathryn Pomeroy-Carter, Criminal Litigation Student Class of 2008
Supervising Attorney: Jeffrey R. Edwards