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Office of State Public Defender Clinic

Variable Credit(s)
Fall: 600 20 | Spring: 601 17

Academic Year/Summer

Office of State Public Defender
Supervising Attorney:
Eric Olson

Faculty Supervisor:
Adjunct Professor David Rice
406.243.5127
david.rice@umontana.edu

Prerequisites:

  • Professional Responsibility (effective for all classes entering Fall 2011 and thereafter).
  • Criminal Procedure, effective Fall 2012

Areas of Law: Criminal Law; Appellate Advocacy
 
Lawyering Skills: Full representation of defendants in criminal cases; Appellate representation in the Sentence Review Division of the Montana Supreme Court

Sample Projects: Present oral arguments and briefs to the Sentence Review Division; Post and edit briefs which are available to all approved indigent defense attorneys on-line through the Office of the Public Defender Brief Bank.

The Montana Office of Public Defender is the court appointed attorney, where a person cannot afford counsel, in all misdemeanor criminal cases in the municipal courts and justice courts, in all felony criminal cases, in all juvenile proceedings, mental commitments, and dependent and neglect proceedings.

A law student selected for this clinic will be handling, under the Supervising Attorney, investigation, client meetings, entry of pleas, on misdemeanors, in municipal court and justice court; changes of plea, in those courts; hearings on motions; jury trials; and, bench trials. A law student will also be able to assist a felony trial attorney by serving as second chair during a felony jury trial. The person selected will also be asked to research and write pre-trial suppression motions; motions to dismiss; and, any other significant pre-trial motions.  Students also argue before the Montana Supreme Court’s Sentence Review Division.

Students will meet with clients and will be primarily responsible for all cases assigned to them.  Students will also appear, with any of the full time public defenders, at jail court, for video appearance in all of the Missoula courts.

The work will be primarily in Missoula County, but may include work in Ravalli and Mineral Counties. This is because the Supervising Attorney supervises all public defenders in each of those counties and handles cases in all three counties