Criminal Defense Clinic

If you are interested in obtaining legal assistance from our office, please ​review our intake guide and contact information.

The Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) is the oldest of our in-house clinics. It provides representation to clients charged with misdemeanors and violations in Syracuse City Court and town courts in Onondaga County. Clients are represented at pretrial hearings and trials, and on civil matters related to their criminal cases, such as school disciplinary hearings and benefits issues. All criminal cases are assigned to the Clinic through the court.

For Students

Students Can Expect

The CDC offers students the opportunity to learn about New York State Penal Law and New York State Criminal Procedure Law, as well as a holistic approach to criminal defense practice. 

Students Learn To: 

  • Negotiate plea agreements, argue motions to dismiss, participate in pretrial conferences and hearings
  • Conduct legal research and analysis
  • Conduct fact investigations, and interview witnesses
  • Draft discovery demands and motions
  • Engage in critical analysis of the criminal justice system and potential reforms

Credits & Requirements

  • 1 semester clinic
  • 6 credits
  • 20-25 hours per week time requirement
  • Requirements: Professional Responsibility, Evidence (suggested), and Constitutional Criminal Procedure (suggested)


Gary Pieples

Director, Criminal Defense Clinic
Teaching Professor