Capital Defender Clinic

The Capital Defender Clinic provides Georgia State Law students with an unforgettable opportunity to be part of a defense team for the Office of the Georgia Capital Defender, the agency representing indigent defendants statewide who face death penalty trials or are on direct appeal from death sentences. Students focus heavily on the real – and often tragic – stories of their clients’ lives as opposed to technical or arcane points of law.

Educating Law Students

Through this yearlong clinical course (three credit hours a semester), students help the capital defender attorneys make a strong case for life at trial and build factual and legal narratives that will lead to the reversal of death sentences on appeal. Students help by:

  • Conducting investigations,
  • Interviewing clients and potential witnesses,
  • Compiling forensic evidence,
  • Seeking documents,
  • Conducting research,
  • Drafting pleadings,
  • Formulating defense theories and
  • Strategizing each phase of the case.

Students also present mock motions arguments and jury sentencing arguments based on the facts of their cases.

Coursework and Time Commitment

Students are expected to commit to two hours of class meetings and 10 client work hours per week during the fall and spring semesters to receive the clinic’s total six credit hours.