Indigent Defense

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 3:55 - 5:45 pm CCJ 3.306

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


America incarcerates people at a rate higher than most countries in the world and those incarcerated are disproportionately low-income and from communities that have been historically neglected and oppressed. Course materials will examine how the socio-economic and racial disparities in the population of people incarcerated in America reflects this country’s history of poverty, slavery, and segregation.  The course will cover several theories about the drivers of mass incarceration and the legal and philosophical foundations of public defense.  

This course will explore theoretical, philosophical, and practical elements of indigent criminal defense, exploring questions such as: How do criminal justice theory and practice interact? What can an individual lawyer do to further her client's interests within this context? What is the role of the public defender in criminal justice reform? How does a public defender maintain the long view on mass incarceration and socio-economic and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system while advocating for her individual clients? What roles and tools are available, besides line public defense, for future lawyers to fill and utilize in enacting the promise of Gideon

Weekly reading assignments will explore these topics and students will be required to discuss their reflections during class discussions.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


Log In to View Course Evaluations

Important Class Changes

Date Updated
07/24/2023 Instructor(s) updated