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LAW 0783: Sheller Center for Social Justice: Federal Reentry Court
Fall 2018 • Section 21 • CRN 28352

Course Description

            In this six credit, year-long experiential learning course, students will provide direct legal representation to participants in the Supervision to Aid Reentry Court (“STAR”) program (a.k.a. “Federal Reentry Court”) of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The STAR program assists previously incarcerated federal prisoners to successfully reenter the community.  Federal judges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Defender’s Office, the U.S. Probation Office, the Reentry Coordinators, and the Legal Intern Coordinators work together as a team to discuss each participant’s progress and develop plans to help participants succeed. The program features myriad objectives, including preventing recidivism, reducing the high rate of violent crime in Philadelphia, and assisting high- risk ex-offenders with the multiple social, family, and logistical issues they must confront upon their return to society after years in prison.

            Students will participate in either Morning or Afternoon Reentry Court. Morning Reentry Court occurs every other Tuesday from 8:35 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Afternoon Reentry Court occurs every other Wednesday from 2:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. In addition, students will also attend a seminar held on every other Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Students will assist participants on legal matters, including challenging traffic citations and fines, obtaining/restoring driving privileges, establishing affordable payment plans for court costs and fines, waiving supervision fees, challenging default judgments entered while incarcerated, business planning/non-profit formation, obtaining no fault divorces, and landlord/tenant disputes. The bulk of in-court student representation takes place in the Traffic Division of Philadelphia Municipal Court. Under the supervision of attorneys from local law firms, students will have the opportunity to assist with all aspects of clients’ cases, including intake interviews, development of a case plan, drafting of pleadings, counseling of clients, negotiation with opposing counsel or parties, development of trial strategy, trial preparation, and court appearances. The seminar will develop students’ lawyering skills, provide legal training, and explore problems and responses to mass incarceration, including innovative solutions to mass incarceration such as reentry courts, other problem solving courts, and restorative justice initiatives.  As part of the course, students will participate in the Graterford Inside-Out Think Tank, tour the Traffic Division and U.S. Probation, observe another problem solving court, and meet with federal judges, returning citizens, and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system.


Schedule

Day/Time Location Note
Th 4:00-6:00 PM TBA Class is held at the Federal Courthouse at 601 Market Street.

Additional Time Requirements

NOTE: This course has a seminar that meets once every other week. See description for additional time requirements.

Course Details

Instructor
  • Maya Sosnov
Credit Hours

3 Credits

Seats/Capacity

6

Course Type
  • Externship
Course Modality

Classroom

Fulfills J.D. Requirement
  • Experiential/Professional Skills

Registration Info

Registration Notes

Students will participate in either Morning or Afternoon Reentry Court. Morning Reentry Court occurs every other Tuesday from 8:35 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Afternoon Reentry Court occurs every other Wednesday from 2:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. In addition, students will also attend a seminar held on every other Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Registration is limited to 3Ls because certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required. Students must commit to participate in the course for their entire 3L year. If necessary, a student may be able to switch between Morning and Afternoon Reentry Court after the Fall Semester. You may not take this course if you plan to intern for a federal judge during your 3L year. You may, however, take this course simultaneously with another clinic.

Pre-Requisites

You must have completed the following courses before enrolling in this course:

  • LAW 0460 (Trial Advocacy I ) or LAW 0558 (Introduction to Trial Advocacy)
  • LAW 0540 (Evidence) (C or better)

Book List/Materials