My name is Nell Kirkland and I am a senior at Henry Clay High School. I am a part of the EBCE program there and have spent the last couple weeks at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. From my time at the Attorney’s office I have been exposed to different aspects of the criminal justice system, including contacting victims and sitting inside a courtroom to observe a trial.
I am fortunate enough to be able to work with Mrs. Briana Persley, who has taught me the process she goes through when working through a case as a victims advocate. She has taught me to enter information involving the contact with victims and the actions of the defendant so that she can keep track of the status of a defendant and inform the victim of any new updates. Along with office work, I have been able to observe court hearings and arraignments, including a competency hearing. The competency hearing was especially interesting, because I was able to listen on a conference call with a doctor who evaluated the defendant. He listed his
education and experience and discussed the results of his evaluation of the defendant and determined that the defendant in fact was competent enough to stand trial. It was intriguing to see the results of the hearing and see that he will stand trial later on and I hope to be able to observe occurrences like this in the future.