A detailed classroom study of Connecticut and federal appellate law and practice, with special emphasis on the processing of criminal appeals and writs of habeas corpus, the practice and perfection of appellate research, brief writing and advocacy skills. The Clinic represents indigent clients on direct appeal from conviction and in habeas corpus actions. Most appeals are to the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts, while our habeas work brings us to the United States District Court of Connecticut and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Student representation includes presenting oral argument in state or federal court. Pre- or Co-requisites: Criminal Procedure and Evidence.
The Criminal Clinic has handled over seventy appeals to the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts over the last two decades. The Clinic has also handled assorted other post-conviction matters, such as pardon and parole applications, sentence modification and sentence review case, etc. A small sample of post-conviction cases handled by the Criminal Clinic:
- State v. Sam, 98 Conn. App. 13 (2006)
- On October 10, 2006 the Connecticut Appellate Court upheld a right to counsel claim made by the criminal clinic in a case on which students co-wrote the defendant's briefs and which a student, Emily Dean '06, argued in late May. The Appellate Court reversed the defendant's six felony convictions and ordered a new trial.
- Johnson v. Commissioner, 258 Conn. 804 (2002).
- Appellate Clinic student co-wrote Connecticut Supreme Court brief and then presented oral argument in support of lower court's judgment in our client's favor (won by two other Clinic students the previous year). Client was a prisoner who challenged a new parole eligibility law. Under new parole law, petitioner (and over 800 other Connecticut inmates) were required to serve an extra 35% of their sentences before being parole eligible. At the habeas corpus trial the Trial Clinic prevailed on constitutional grounds (violation of ex post facto prohibition). On appeal the Supreme Court affirmed on statutory grounds.
- Beasley (& Narducci) v. Commissioner, 50 Conn. App. 421 (1998), aff'd, 249 Conn. 499 (1999).
- Appeal from denial of habeas corpus actions brought by two inmates deprived of opportunity to earn statutory good time reductions in their sentences because they were transferred to Connecticut's supermaximum security prison, Northern Correctional, and placed in administrative segregation for a minimum of one year. Case was tried by clinic students at trial level. Appellate Court and Supreme Court both rejected constitutional and statutory challenges to administrative policy excluding inmates at Northern from earning good time.
- State v. Wilkins, 240 Conn. 489 (1997)
- Search and Seizure case argued before Connecticut Supreme Court by student attorney. Raised state constitutional issue: whether police may search a car for weapons when its driver and passenger have been removed, personally frisked, and the police intend to give them a traffic summons and release them if no weapons are found.
- State v. Linares, 232 Conn. 345 (1995)
- Client prosecuted under never-before-used statute, interfering with the legislative process, for chanting "Gay rights, lesbian rights," during Governor O'Neill's last state of the state address. Client challenged statute's constitutionality facially and as it applied to her. Client pled nolo contendere conditional on right to pursue appeal of free speech issues. Supreme Court held that Connecticut Constitution is more speech protective than first amendment but upheld constitutionality of statute.
- State v. Hammond, 221 Conn. 264 (1992)
- Won remand to the trial court for reconsideration of defendant's motion for new trial/post-trial discovery based on DNA profiling and blood testing in sexual assault/kidnapping case. Argued by student attorney. (On remand the trial court vacated the convictions and ordered new trial.)
- Phillips v. Warden, 220 Conn. 112 (1991)
- Writ of habeas corpus claiming ineffective assistance of counsel: trial counsel had conflict of interest where counsel, himself convicted of murder in a notorious court case, continued to practice law while taking appeal and represented petitioner at trial without taking any precautions to ensure that jurors did not hold lawyer's conviction against his client. Habeas case originally tried in Superior Court by student attorneys; students co-wrote appellate briefs and participated in oral argument before Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts. Connecticut Supreme Court ultimately ruled for petitioner and ordered new trial.