Third-year students can gain practical legal experience in trial and appellate work through the Wyoming Prosecution Assistance Program. The program, which was founded more than 20 years ago, provides assistance to Wyoming County and Prosecuting Attorneys, to the Wyoming Attorney General, and to the United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming in criminal cases and in selected civil cases involving questions of significant public interest.
Some students who participate in the program choose to work directly under the supervision of a Wyoming County or Prosecuting Attorney or the United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming. Among the tasks frequently assigned to these students are: participation in preliminary hearings on felony charges; participation in criminal trials, principally of misdemeanor charges; the preparation of motions, motion responses, jury instructions, and trial briefs in circuit and district courts; and participation in arraignments and bail hearings.
Other students work under the supervision of the faculty director in representing the state in criminal appeals before the Wyoming Supreme Court. In handling these appeals, students are responsible for the preparation of appellate briefs and the presentation of oral argument to the court. Students gain intensive training in appellate advocacy during the brief-editing process and in mock arguments leading up to the student's court appearance.
All of the program's students also devote time to staffing the clinic office. In the clinic office, students field calls from Wyoming County and Prosecuting Attorneys and provide requested assistance with legal research and the preparation of legal memoranda. The clinic also includes a classroom component, designed to enhance the students' understanding of criminal practice and of the prosecutor's unique ethical obligations. Wyoming prosecutors and others are often invited to address the students.
The Prosecution Assistance Program operates throughout the year, during both semesters of the academic year and through the summer. During the school year, students enroll in the Program for academic credit, earning three hours each semester for working not less than 150 hours. In the summer, most of the students are employed through the work-study program, and work full time.