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Spring 2023

5300 Criminal Defense Clinic - LOCASCIO/TOUCHSTONE- 15128

Professor(s): Erik Locascio (ADJUNCT)
Stephen Touchstone (ADJUNCT)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Practice Skills - Clinics and Externships 

Time: ARRANGED    Location:  

Course Outline: The Criminal Defense Practice Clinic is a hybrid program offered through the UHLC Clinics Program. It consists of a weekly classroom component along with hands-on practical experience handling felony cases in the Harris County Criminal Courts. These cases will be handled by the student attorney from initial arraignment of the client to either a plea bargain, dismissal, or trial at the end of the process. The student attorney will be responsible for all aspects of his or her case, including client interviews and updates; legal research of any issues in the case; analysis and evaluation of the State’s evidence; weighing and considering the various options available to the client for case resolution; and, if needed, sitting first chair during a criminal trial if the client so chooses. During the classroom component, a variety of topics will be discussed, including a detailed walk-through and analysis of the Harris County criminal justice system, law practice management, trial strategies, and more. Students will also be exposed to the many aspects of the criminal justice system, including hearings before a judge, plea negotiations with prosecutors, and interviews with witnesses. Cases will be selected to provide students with a variety of experiences.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus

Course Notes:   Quota=3.

Students must apply to the Clinic by submitting the online application at

It should be noted that essentially all court settings begin at 9 am each day, if a case is set for a given day. If you have other classes you need to take that are only held in the morning, you will miss out on a significant source of clinic hours. Please set your schedule accordingly. If you have questions regarding this, please feel free to contact Professor Locascio.

This is a graded class. Students will be evaluated on a variety of factors, including participation during class and during court appearances; journal assignments; case preparation; and attendance.

• One-page bi-weekly journals will be due beginning Week 2 and continuing throughout the semester on every even week. These journals can include impressions on court proceedings; thoughts and ideas about criminal justice; case theories and issue spotting; current events in criminal law; and any other appropriate topic.

• There will be one “quiz” regarding a handful of the crimes and punishments found in the Crimes and Consequences book. The quiz will be open book and will potentially cover: punishment ranges; types of crimes; other potential consequences; and enhancements. The quiz date will be announced in advance to allow for preparation If a student does not turn in a journal on the appropriate due date, they may turn them in on the next journal

Student Orientation: TBA

Prerequisites: Yes  Completion of Evidence; good academic standing; at least 30 hours completed.

First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Experiential Course Type: clinic

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA: No

Pass-Fail Student Election: Unavailable (Instructor Preference)

Course Materials

Book(s) Required

Required: O'Connor's Texas Criminal Offenses & Defenses, Jani Maselli Wood
ISBN: 9781731931795

Required: O’Connor’s Texas Crimes & Consequences, T.B. Todd Dupont II
ISBN: 978-1539210689