Faculty, Students Train Chilean Public Defenders
August 23, 2012
A contingent of McGeorge faculty members and students from the law school's Federal Defender Clinic conducted a two-week training program for Chilean public defenders from July 30 through Aug. 10 in Santiago, Chile.
Charlie Young, '13, Meghan Clair, '13, and Matt Fleming, '11, each of whom is fluent in Spanish, joined Professors Emily Garcia Uhrig, Raquel Aldana, Cary Bricker and Luis Mogollon in a program that focused on interviewing, counseling and engaging in plea-bargaining.
Professors Bricker, Garcia Uhrig, and Aldana collaborated with Fleming to construct a skills-based syllabus and develop materials in the early summer that included different kinds of simulations and exercises used in the law school’s clinical courses.
“The students, who often played the role of clients, were incredible,” Bricker said. “We had the good fortune to have former student Matt Fleming, a superstar in the Federal Defender clinic two years ago, participate. Charlie and Megan were fantastic.”
The National Public Defender of Chile spoke to the visiting instructors and their 20-plus students on the first day of the training sessions. Later in the first week, the Regional Defender of Chile audited the course and expressed enthusiastic support for his participant-colleagues.
“I left after the first week, but our crew stayed on to teach plea-bargaining with a second group of defenders,” Bricker said. “Professor Michael Colatrella’s terrific materials on negotiation really came in handy.” Bricker directs the on-campus defender clinic that is now in its fourth year
"I had thoroughly enjoyed working in the Federal Defender Clinic two years ago and being a part of the teaching team in Chile was a bonus," Fleming said. "With these two unique and challenging experiences that were made possible by McGeorge, I now look forward to a third one, working as a trial attorney at the Federal Defender's Office in San Diego."
In the past decade, Chile completely overhauled its criminal justice system with the implementation of a new adversarial system as opposed to its former inquisitional judicial-tribunal system. The government of Chile first called on McGeorge for its training assistance in early 2004 when eight prosecutors and 11 public defenders came to Sacramento for a four-week program directed by Professor Jay Leach. McGeorge is recognized as a leader in experiential legal training. It recently completed a five-year, multi-million dollar, USAID-funded program working with hundreds of legal educators in China.