Mitchell | Hamline School of Law
Course Information Pages

Criminal Law


Criminal Law: Statutory Interpretation (1005)

This course examines the skill of statutory interpretation in the context of the legal and doctrinal underpinnings of the substantive criminal law. The course will address: the elements of crimes against persons and property, the theories justifying punishment, the principles of criminal responsibility, and the defenses to criminal liability. The course will also address the practical and ethical application of these principles.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall

Categories: Bar Courses, Required

Subject Areas: Academic Support and Bar Preparation, Criminal Law

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Criminal Procedure (1204)

Provides an introduction to federal constitutional limitations on governmental power to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate individuals, including stopping and detaining people, arrest, frisks, searches and seizures, custodial interrogations, right to counsel, identification procedures, confrontation, and double jeopardy.

Grading: To be determined.

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall/Spring

Subject Areas: Academic Support and Bar Preparation, Civil Litigation, Constitutional Law and Civil Rights, Criminal Law

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Wrongful Convictions (2106)

This course will examine the reasons behind wrongful convictions in the United States. There are many people in this nation convicted of, and serving time for, crimes they did not commit. Currently over 200 people have already been exonerated of crimes for which they were convicted. The course will include lecture, discussion and guest speakers about eyewitness identification, false confessions, snitches and informants, government misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, forensic science including DNA testing, post-conviction remedies, the death penalty, media and investigative journalism, and racial bias. The course will also include in-class exercises designed to help deal with these issues as a practitioner. Note: this course is not a clinical course.

Grading: Letter-graded

Credits: Variable

Offered: Spring

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Sentencing Seminar (2222)

This seminar focuses on Federal and State of Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Students will interview members of the judiciary and practitioners on their interpretation and application of the Guidelines. Each student will be asked to interview four persons each regarding State and Federal Guidelines and present reports in class. Limited enrollment.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: Variable

Offered: Irregularly

Categories: Long Paper

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Evidence (2500)

Studies the theory and practice of the Rules of Evidence. Emphasizes the analysis and interpretation of codified rules and common law principles pertaining to foundation, relevancy, character evidence, privileges, witnesses, expert testimony, scientific evidence, hearsay, authentication of real evidence, and documentary evidence. Designed to facilitate understanding of the uses of evidentiary rules in the preparation and trial of cases in state and federal courts. It is recommended that students take Evidence prior to or concurrent with Advocacy.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Bar Courses

Subject Areas: Civil Litigation, Criminal Law

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Evidence II (2512)

Evidence II picks up where Evidence leaves off. It will focus on certain advanced doctrinal topics such as scientific evidence and privileges. The course will explore in detail, for example, the Daubert framework and the rules governing expert testimony. It will examine special and emerging topics in scientific evidence, such as the admissibility of "syndrome" evidence. It will also examine evidentiary privileges, including the attorney-client privilege, other relationship-based privileges, and the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. In addition to examining federal law governing these topics, Evidence II will also examine state law variations, with a particular emphasis on Minnesota practice.

Grading: Letter-graded

Credits: 3

Offered: Spring

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Clinic: Innocence (3043)

Students work side-by-side with staff attorneys in the Innocence Project of Minnesota as they investigate and litigate inmates' claims of actual innocence. These investigations go to the heart of current issues in the criminal justice system, such as the reliability of eyewitness identification, the problem of false confessions, the use of snitches and informants, government misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and forensic sciences including DNA testing. Class time is divided among class work, discussion of cases, and periodic guest speakers selected both for the general subject matter and for the specific cases under review. This clinic puts students on the cutting edge of scientific and social science issues that affect the practice of law in the criminal justice system as well as hands-on experience in managing and analyzing large-scale cases for litigation. This clinic is a full-year clinic that carries 3 credits per semester in the fall and spring.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: 3

Offered:

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Clinic: Innocence (2nd semester) (3064)

Students work side-by-side with staff attorneys in the Innocence Project of Minnesota as they investigate and litigate inmates' claims of actual innocence. These investigations go to the heart of current issues in the criminal justice system, such as the reliability of eyewitness identification, the problem of false confessions, the use of snitches and informants, government misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and forensic sciences including DNA testing. Class time is divided among class work, discussion of cases, and periodic guest speakers selected both for the general subject matter and for the specific cases under review. This clinic puts students on the cutting edge of scientific and social science issues that affect the practice of law in the criminal justice system as well as hands-on experience in managing and analyzing large-scale cases for litigation. This clinic is a full-year clinic that carries 3 credits per semester in the fall and spring.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: 3

Offered:

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Administrative Law (3130)

Clean water, safe food and drugs, stable banks, sensible land use, an open and accessible internet-these and many more aspects of modern American life depend largely on decisions made by unelected officials staffing administrative agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. This course examines the authority and procedures that these administrative agencies use to make law, investigate violations of the law, and adjudicate the application of the law to individuals and businesses. The course raises student awareness regarding the operation of the administrative state and important separation of powers and due process questions raised by ubiquitous administrative governance.

Grading: Exam

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall/Spring

Subject Areas: Administrative and Legislative Process, Business and Commercial, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Child and Family Law, Government Practice, Health Law, Public Interest Law

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Criminal Procedure - Minnesota Practice (3804)

Emphasizing Minnesota practice, this course examines from a prosecution and defense perspective the problems and tactics arising during the stages of a criminal proceeding, including preparation of a case, pretrial release, evidentiary issues, defenses, the trial, plea negotiations and sentencing alternatives, post-conviction remedies, and procedure and sample pleadings throughout the course. Limited enrollment.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: 2

Offered: Fall/Spring

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Juvenile Justice (4583)

Examines the procedural and substantive law and judicial administration of the courts in the area of juvenile delinquency. Primary concentration is on rights of accused delinquents, detention and police conduct, constitutional protection, trial, adjudication, reference for adult prosecution, treatment, and the proper function of the lawyer and the court in the juvenile court system.

Grading: Letter-graded

Credits: Variable

Offered:

Subject Areas: Criminal Law, Child and Family Law

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Externship: Criminal Justice - Prosecution (7110)

This externship involves students in numerous courtroom appearances on behalf of the prosecution in all phases of the misdemeanor case. Students prosecute misdemeanor cases and attend skills exercise classes. Each student, under the direct supervision of a practicing city attorney, observes and conducts the charging of cases, arraignments, pretrial conferences, court trials and, where possible, a jury trial. Classroom discussions consider both the prosecution and defense roles and focus on special areas of importance to the misdemeanor practitioner, with an emphasis on the DWI and Implied Consent Laws.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring/Summer

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Externship: Criminal Justice - Defense (8555)

The participating students will be placed with Public Defender's Offices in the Metro Area. Because there will be court appearances required, the students must be available during the day and must be eligible to be certified as student attorneys under the Minnesota Student Practice Rules at the start of the externship. The State Public Defender has implemented a policy that does not allow law clerks/student attorneys (whether volunteer, paid, or externs) to be placed with our offices if they are also working for a prosecutor’s office during the same time frame. In addition to their onsite placements, the students will be required to attend a two hour seminar discussion.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall/Spring/Summer

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Clinic: Immigration Law (8752)

Students represent indigent clients in administrative proceedings before the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Federal Court. Cases concern the immigration status of aliens. Students interview and counsel clients, research laws and regulations, write briefs, prepare for hearings, and act as trial counsel at evidentiary hearings. Heavy emphasis is placed upon active representation of clients, and cases that present novel and interesting issues of law and fact. Some required activities (such as court appearances, investigation and interviews) take place during normal business hours.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law, Public Interest Law

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Externship: District Court (8805)

Students intern with state court judges, magistrates or referees (occasionally with a federal judge). Students participate in a variety of clerking activities, attend chamber discussion, and observe trials and hearings. Class meetings will be held to discuss topics related to judicial ethics and the judicial process. Students must have regular daytime hours available in order to fulfill time requirements for the course.

Grading: Pass/fail

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring/Summer

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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Clinic: Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners (9002)

Students provide civil representation to indigent persons incarcerated in Minnesota. Students represent clients from interview through any trial. Cases include domestic relations, imprisonment-related matters (institutional grievances, parole, and detainers), and the full range of other civil problems including debtor-creditor, wills, contracts, torts, and civil rights issues. LAMP Clinic on the Web

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Child and Family Law, Public Interest Law

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Residency - Criminal Law Residency Seminar (9004)

Only offered in the spring, the Criminal Law Residency Program gives students in their final year of law school an opportunity for intensive practical training in the field. The 2-credit weekly seminar focusing on development of professional judgment as well as doctrine and skills related to the Residency. Students are placed in prosecutor's and public defender's offices, and private law firms and work 3-5 days each week. In addition to the 2-credit seminar, students receive between 8 and 13 credits for work at the Residency Placement. Students must apply and be accepted into the program before being matched with a Residency Placement. Due to the intensity of the workload, applicants should be in their final year of law school and have a demonstrated interest and prior course work in the substantive area of criminal law.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Credits: 2

Offered: Spring

Subject Areas: Criminal Law

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