Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Miami Law has an array of courses, faculty, clinics and organizations to help prepare students to work in some aspect of criminal law in government, the non-profit sector, corporations or private practice. Nationally renowned faculty teach courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, cyber law, sex offender legislation, juvenile justice and other important topics in criminal justice.

Students can further immerse themselves in criminal justice law, policy, and practice through taking seminars that bring students into contact with leading criminal law scholars across the country to participating in clinics, lectures, and student groups.


All students receive an immediate grounding in their first year by studying Criminal Procedure and how the Constitution and criminal justice system regulate government investigation of crime. The other basic course in the area, Substantive Criminal Law, is offered as an elective to both first-year and upper-level students. Once students have a basic grounding, In addition, Miami Law offers a wide range of courses from seminars that bring students into contact with leading criminal law scholars across the country to clinics where students become involved in helping represent defendants facing the death penalty.

 List of Core Courses

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminal Prosecution and Defense Lawyering (Workshop)
  • Substantive Criminal Law

 List of Relative Courses

  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Evidence Seminar
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Immigration Law
  • Migration and Immigration Policy and Law Reform
  • International Criminal Law
  • Removal and Asylum

 List of Specialized Courses, Seminars

  • Advanced Moot Court
  • Death Penalty Clinic
  • Innocence Clinic
  • Criminal Law & Procedure (Colloquium)
  • Comparative Criminal Law Seminar
  • Florida Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Appellate Clinic
  • Human Trafficking
  • Litigation Skills I and II-Criminal, Advanced Criminal
  • Wrongful Convictions: Causes and Remedies


The criminal law and procedure area is taught at Miami Law by professors and practitioners with a wide range of interests and experience. The faculty teaching in the criminal law area has published articles and books on a diverse array of topics. One professor has devoted twenty years to the Capital Jury Project and the Project's effort to decipher the inner workings of juries. Another professor is engaging in empirical research that digs down past myths and assumptions surrounding sex offenders as a way to understand the realities of sex offenders.

Some of our faculty members have been prosecutors, others have been criminal defense attorneys, and others have worked for both the government and the defense. 

 List of Full-Time Faculty With Criminal Law Expertise

  • Ricardo J. Bascuas: Evidence, criminal procedure, international criminal law
  • Donna K. Coker: Criminal law, gender and inequality
  • Mary Anne Franks: Criminal law, criminal procedure, discrimination, free speech, cyberlaw, law and gender
  • Donald M. Jones: Criminal procedure, constitutional law, employment discrimination
  • Tamara Rice Lave: Criminal law, criminal procedure, ethics, punishment, sex offender legislation
  • Martha R. Mahoney: Criminal law, race and urban development, public interest law, property and land use
  • Scott E. Sundby: Criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law

Student-Led Opportunities

Criminal Law Society
The Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board
Human Rights

Student Projects though the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center:
Juvenile Justice
Domestic Violence
Workplace Justice

Experiential Opportunities


Students who participate in any of the Law School's clinics have the opportunity to work on cases that expose them to a wide variety of legal, ethical, strategic, and public policy issues that arise in the practice of criminal law. 

 List of Clinics

  • Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic
  • Children & Youth Law Clinic
  • Federal Appellate Clinic
  • Health & Elder Law Clinic
  • Human Rights Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Investor Rights Clinic
  • Tenants' Rights Clinic

Externships & Fellowships

Students have abundant opportunities for part-time work during the school year or full-time work during the summer in the field of criminal justice. Miami Law has externship opportunities run through the Litigation Skills Program and through the Career Development Office.

 Litigation Skills Externship Program

The Litigation Skills Externship Program provides students with a wide variety of hands-on professional opportunities. Past national placements have included:

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • IRS
  • State Attorney CT, MA
  • Public Defender CA, OH, RI, MD, CT
  • District Attorney TX, MA, NY

Past international placements have included:

  • The United Nations in Dominican Republic
  • Guardian Ad Litem in Tanzania

Local placements often include:

  • State Attorney's Office
  • Public Defender's Office
  • Office of the US Attorney
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of the Federal Public Defender
  • Consumer Advocates Office
  • Securities and Exchange Commission

 Career Development Office (CDO) Externship Program

The CDO Externship Program allows students to obtain academic credit while working in a real world legal setting. Below is a sampling of externships that students with an interest in criminal law have pursued as part of this program:

  • 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Domestic Violence Division
  • Collier County Public Defender's Office
  • Cook County Defender's Office
  • County of Carroll District Attorney's Office
  • Florida Legal Services, Inc.
  • Florida Office of the Attorney General, Office of Statewide Prosecution
  • Kansas Attorney General's Office
  • Kent County Prosecutor's Office
  • Law Offices of the Public Defender , 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
  • Legal Aid Society (of Dade County Bar Association and Palm Beach County)
  • Legal Services of Greater Miami
  • Miami- Dade State Attorney's Office
  • Monroe County, County Attorney's Office
  • Nassau Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Office of the Public Defender, 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida
  • Office of the State Attorney, (9th, 15th and 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida)
  • State of Maryland , Office of the Public Defender
  • The North Carolina Department of Justice
  • The Office of the Federal Public Defender of the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • United States District Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida
  • Wayne County Prosecutor's Office

 Trial Preparation

For students interested in the courtroom aspect of Criminal Law, the acclaimed Litigation Skills Program -- Lit Skills I (Criminal) and Lit Skills II (Advanced Criminal) -- offers students rigorous, hands-on litigation training.

  • Prepare for trial by writing trial briefs and preparing witnesses
  • Learn to litigate a case from start to finish
  • Gain invaluable courtroom experience
  • Can be awarded prizes and scholarships
  • Are taught by experienced trial lawyers and judges

How the program is unique:

  • 60 percent of second and third year law students enroll in this six-credit course.
  • Graduates of the course are placed in a 6-credit externship program and are certified by the Supreme Court of Florida to engage in the supervised practice of law.
  • It is open to all students and includes far more hours in litigation skills than at most law schools.

Read all about the Litigation Skills Program.