Youth Justice Clinic is either a one or two-semester clinic in which
third-year law students represent young people accused of delinquency offenses, crimes, status
offenses, and school discipline violations in Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties. Specifically,
students handle a wide variety of felony and misdemeanor cases in delinquency and criminal courts, ranging from
disorderly conduct to assault and drug distribution. Additionally, students represent children
alleged to be truant, beyond the disciplinary control of their parents, and
runaways, as well as sixteen and seventeen-year-olds who have petitioned for
emancipation. Students are also assigned
to represent clients in long-term suspension hearings and appeals. When
appropriate, students handle appellate matters.
are assigned to individual students, each student works with a partner and the
pair meets regularly as a team with their faculty supervisor.
Students research legal theories and
defenses, prepare and update case plans documenting defense strategy, draft
motions and legal memoranda, and prepare witness examinations and argument for
conduct pretrial and pre-sentencing investigations in which they interview
state, school and defense witnesses as well as family members and service
Throughout the process,
students maintain regular contact with their clients, advising and counseling
them at each stage.
appear in court frequently and handle all aspects of juvenile court practice
and procedure, including detention, probable cause, motions, trial and
Students regularly negotiate
with prosecutors and court personnel on behalf of their clients.
In the suspension context, students appear in
contested hearings before school administrators and administrative law judges.
Evidence, Criminal Procedure: Investigation. Trial Advocacy is a prerequisite or corequisite in the fall. In addition, Criminal Procedure: Adjudication is strongly recommended. Students entering the Youth Justice Clinic for either the fall or the spring must also register for Criminal Lawyering Process in the fall.