Criminal Law

Gain Invaluable Experience in One of the Nation's Most Comprehensive Litigation Skills Programs

Miami Law provides extensive training for both state and federal practice as an aspiring prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, or advocate for criminal justice reform and policy. Miami is home to a nationally recognized Public Defender’s officeState Attorney’s Office, and government agencies specializing in all areas of criminal law. Miami Law students have direct opportunities with these agencies through our externship programs. You can become practice-ready through our numerous experiential learning opportunities, and Miami Law’s highly acclaimed Litigation Skills Program engages you in rigorous, hands-on training providing you with practical skills and courtroom experience.

pre law magazine badgeSome Facts about Miami and Miami Law:

  • 'A' ranking for Criminal Law in Pre-Law Magazine (fall 2021, fall 2020, fall 2019)
  • 65+ highly experienced trial attorneys and judges teach our students in our Litigation Skills Program
  • Miami Law’s Moot Court Board was ranked 17th in the nation for the 2021-2022 academic year
  • Miami Law’s Innocence Clinic is one of two Innocence Network member organizations in Florida and is the only university-based innocence organization in the state
  • Lawyers in South Florida practice in numerous courts, including the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, state and federal, trial and appellate, bankruptcy, immigration, family and more

Mike Klinkosum“I find helping people who are in trouble to be incredibly rewarding. If you see what wrong has been done to people in the past, you make an even greater concerted effort to look under every stone in a case. This career requires you to be versatile and learn other disciplines outside of criminal law. For example, you must continually learn about new advances in science and technology, such as the process of digital storing and downloading of evidence. You have to continually work to stay current.”

Mike Klinkosum, J.D. '95
Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and Criminal Trial Advocacy, Tin Fulton Walker & Owen
Raleigh, NC

Courses*

  • Comparative Criminal Justice
  • Comparative Criminal Justice After COVID-19
  • Controlled Substances
  • Craft Alcohol Beverages and Cannabis
  • Crimes at Sea
  • Criminal Justice Policy Reform
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
  • Criminal Prosecution
  • Criminal Prosecution and Defense Lawyering
  • Evidence False Confessions and Interrogations
  • Federal Criminal Motion Practice
  • Federal Criminal Tax Practice
  • Florida Criminal Procedure
  • Florida Post-conviction Procedure
  • Gender Violence, Social Justice, and Law
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Human Trafficking
  • Images of Evil in Criminal Law
  • Impeachment Politics in Constitutional Perspective
  • International Criminal Law
  • Introduction to Death Penalty Litigation 
  • Law and the Media Law of International Treaties
  • Legislation
  • Mental Health Law
  • Philosophies of Sentencing
  • Piracy, Terrorism, and Drug Smuggling in the Maritime Domain
  • Policing the Police
  • Post-Conviction Relief
  • Problems in Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Race and Economic Justice
  • Race and the Law
  • Race, Class, and Power: the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
  • Restorative Justice Processes
  • Scientific Evidence
  • Second Amendment Fundamentalism
  • Substantive Criminal Law
  • The Criminalization of Homelessness
  • The Death Penalty in Decline
  • The Language of Habeas Corpus
  • The Wire
  • Torture and the Law
  • Trial Litigation
  • White Collar Criminal Law
  • Wrongful Convictions 

*Course list is not exhaustive and does not set out a path of study.

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Clinics and Practicum

Joint Degrees

J.D./M.S.Ed. - Community and Social Change

International Opportunities

Alex Calle"I have been able to grasp complex issues because of the criminal law and criminal procedure courses that I have taken. The skills that I learned in the Litigation Skills program allowed me to be able to follow many fast paced pre-trial and trial proceedings. You're not sitting behind a desk doing transactional work; you're negotiating, you're in trial, everything is fast paced and I like that."

Alex Calle, J.D. '14
Attorney at Florida Department of Children and Families, Children's Legal Services
Miami, FL

Extracurricular Opportunities

  • American Constitution Society
  • Charles C. Papy Moot Court Board
  • Criminal Law Society
  • Honor Council
  • Human Rights Society
  • Trial Team
  • Legal Writing at Dade Correctional Institution
  • Sealing and Expungement Project 

Nick Bancroft“I would not have the career as a public defender that I have today at the Legal Aid Society of NY without the support of HOPE. Miami Law provided me with the experiences I needed to do my job well."

Nick Bancroft, J.D. '15
Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of NYC
New York, NY

(Note: After working as a Summer Public Interest Fellow during his 1L summer at the Miami-Dade Public Defender, Bancroft decided that a career in public defense was what he aspired to after law school. He spent the remainder of his time at Miami Law making this happen through his participation in the Innocence Clinic and the Litigation Skills Program, and by serving as a HOPE Fellow with the Colorado Public Defender, where he was hired upon graduation.)

Externships and Internships**

  • 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Domestic Violence Division
  • Arc National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability (Washington, DC)
  • Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Bronx Criminal Division, Legal Aid Society (New York, NY)
  • Broward Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel
  • Broward Public Defender’s Office
  • Center for Children’s Law and Policy (DC)
  • District Attorney’s Office (TX, MA, NY, GA)
  • Florida Justice Institute
  • Guardian Ad Litem in Tanzania (Arusha, Tanzania)
  • Internal Revenue Service (DC)
  • Legal Services of Greater Miami
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (CA)
  • Manatee County Attorney’s Office
  • Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office
  • Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (DC)
  • New York Legal Aid Society, Criminal Division
  • Office of Police Complaints (DC)
  • Office of the Attorney General (FL & VA)
  • Office of the Attorney General, Economic Crimes Division
  • Office of the Attorney General, Office of Statewide Prosecution
  • Office of the Federal Public Defender of the Southern District of Florida
  • Office of the Public Defender (CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, IL, MD, OH, RI)
  • Office of the State Attorney (CT, FL, IL, KS, MA, NM)
  • United Nations (NY)
  • United Nations (Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic)
  • United Nations International Criminal Tribunal (Kigali, Rwanda)
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Military Commissions Defense Organization (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DC & FL)
  • U.S. Department of Justice (DC, FL, NC, WI)
  • U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (DC, HI, VA)
  • U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Germany & Italy)
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (DC & FL)
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (DC)

**List is not exhaustive and is intended to provide examples of past externships and internships.

Faculty Experts

(Listen: In this recorded session for prospective law students, Professor Mary Anne Franks discusses the basics of criminal law.)

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. Full-Time Faculty With Criminal Law Expertise:

  • Ricardo J. Bascuas is an expert in evidence, criminal procedure, international criminal law.
  • Donna K. Coker is an expert in criminal law, gender and inequality.
  • Mary Anne Franks is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, discrimination, free speech, cyberlaw, law and gender.
  • Elizabeth M. Iglesias is an expert in International criminal law.
  • Donald M. Jones is an expert in criminal procedure, constitutional law, employment discrimination.
  • Tamara Rice Lave is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, ethics, punishment, sex offender legislation.
  • Martha R. Mahoney is an expert in criminal law, race and urban development, public interest law, property and land use.
  • Irwin P. Stotzky is an expert in criminal procedure.
  • Scott E. Sundby is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law.
  • Craig Trocino is Director of Miami Law's Innocence Clinic and an expert in wrongful convictions.

Conferences, Lectures, Centers

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI)  - founded in August 2012 as the End Revenge Porn campaign, which called for the criminalization of nonconsensual pornography, the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. CCRI has its home at Miami Law and the Initiative offers opportunities for law students and other university students eager to apply their professional skills to a cutting-edge issue with real-world implications.

HOPE Public Interest Resource Center - supports students looking to work in the area of criminal law defense and advocacy.

Class Action and Complex Litigation Forum - judges, lawyers, and scholars from around the country discuss current cutting edge issues and topics associated with multi-district class actions and mass tort litigation.

Learn More