About the Criminal Defense Clinic Section
The Criminal Defense section is designed to teach law students substantive, procedural, and practical trial and appellate advocacy skills in the context of actual criminal cases. Law students are also taught to consider the ethical considerations applicable in the context of their cases and the practice of law as well. At the end of the year, students in this course are expected to be effective trial litigators, having acquired the necessary experience to handle every aspect of a criminal case. Students have multiple experiences in the criminal defense section including interviewing clients and witnesses, formal and informal fact investigation, research and cite the appropriate statutory and case law, drafting pleadings and writing memoranda and briefs. They also, through the guidance and supervision of their clinical professors, who are seasoned criminal trial attorneys, handle every aspect of their court appearances such as pretrial motion hearings, revocation hearings, multiple bill hearings, negotiate plea bargains, jury voir dire, direct and cross examination of witnesses at trial, as well as opening and closing arguments. The practice of criminal law also affords the students the opportunity to file writs and appeals. In the past, students have argued before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal and Louisiana Supreme Court.
Loyola Law Criminal Defense Clinic has been involved in several interesting hearings since the start of the Fall 2022 semester. In one case, the client's bond was revoked after his psychotic break. The student practitioners filed a request to have the client examined by the sanity commission. The client was found incompetent to stand trial and was sent to a forensic facility. After months of treatment, he was deemed restored and returned to Orleans Parish Jail. A motion to reinstate bail was filed and student practitioners argued the case. After extensive argument, the trial court refused to set any amount of bail. The client is currently awaiting trial.
Supervised by Professor D. Majeeda Snead
Pearl of Justice
On Sunday, May 22, 2022, Professor D. Majeeda Snead was recognized as the inaugural Pearl of Justice award winner in honor of Coretta Scott King by the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.- Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter and the Crescent City OLQ Charitable Organization. Professor Snead was selected for this award in recognition of her outstanding impact and accomplishments in the areas of women rights, social justice, community service and leadership in the New Orleans community.
"Bridging the gap between textbook and trial litigation, Loyola's Criminal Defense Clinic has allowed me to gain experience in courthouse practicalities but, even more importantly, in strategic client representation. When a person's very freedom is at risk, the benefit of a team environment and Professor Snead's guidance cannot be overstated. This real-world, real-client experience has been my most significant education during my three years in law school." - Peter Finney (pictured left)
Justice for All
The Criminal Defense Clinic was appointed to represent a client on appeal. The students filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, presenting several assignments of error, including that a juror was related to the lead detective. While the client's appeal was pending, The Supreme Court decided Ramos v. Louisiana (2020). The students moved to supplement the brief to include this decision because the client was convicted by a 10-2 verdict, but the motion was denied. The client was also denied post-conviction relief. The Criminal Defense Clinic is preparing for a new trial.