Under close attorney supervision, students who participate in the Public Defender Clinic represent indigent defendants in criminal cases in the Maricopa County Superior Court and Justice Courts. In the past, clinic students have represented clients charged with drug possession, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, promoting prison contraband, car theft and DUI, to name a few. Students interview clients and witnesses, draft motions, and handle preliminary hearings, plea proceedings, settlement conferences, sentencing, evidentiary hearings and jury trials. They receive regular feedback on their verbal and written work from adjunct professors, other experienced criminal defense attorneys, and sitting Superior Court judges.
In order to sharpen the requisite courtroom skills, students also take a mandatory clinic seminar in trial advocacy. The seminar teaches effective public speaking techniques generally and also provides specific training in all aspects of trials including opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross-examination, and voir dire.