Resentencing Clinic Partnership (2022)

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Yolo County District Attorney’s Office (Woodland, CA)

Population: 220,410 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 42 | Contact Information

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office (YCDA) has partnered with For the People, a non-profit group focused on sentencing equity, and the law school at University of California, Davis to create a clinic that engages students in reviewing convictions to determine if resentencing would serve the interests of justice.  In California, prosecutors were recently given the ability to petition the court to resentence individuals, even after all appeals are final.  This new law allows prosecutors to request shorter sentences in appropriate cases. 

In order to utilize this new tool, YCDA developed a partnership that allows law students to gather necessary documentation and make arguments in support of approved petitions.  Cases are selected by YCDA and students enrolled in a specialized clinic work with a designated professor and For the People to contact the defense and obtain relevant information about rehabilitative efforts, education, and post offense conduct in custody.  Students present gathered information on each case to prosecutors, who make the final decision to pursue resentencing.  In Yolo County, the victim in the case must agree to the petition in order for it to be approved.  Once approved, certified law students handle the petitions in court, under the supervision of Yolo County prosecutors.  The program has helped increase transparency and generate interest in prosecution work among law students, all while helping to mitigate inequities in the criminal justice system.