Written By Rachel Broughton
A pre-trial conference is a proceeding during which the prosecutor, the defense lawyer and the defendant meet shortly after the defendant’s first appearance in court. Its purpose is to simplify the issues of law and fact and establish certain matters between the parties, in order to speed up the process. Basically, it is an attempt to determine whether the case will result in a trial or the prosecution and defense can come to an agreement to plead guilty before trial.
Today I attended my first ever pre-trial meeting with prosecutor Brad Bryant. My expectations were very high in regards to it being very action-packed with a lot of back and forth discussion between the opposing attorneys. It didn’t turn out that way. There wasn’t much conversation between the parties, just a recitation of the facts that the prosecution would produce at trial.
It was however a great learning experience for me, as I plan to attend law school in the future. I was a bit surprised by the fact that everyone seems to get along. I expect that will change when a case goes to trial. I am really pleased that we all get to do so many things during this internship that people only hear or read about.
Our interns spent the afternoon touring the Fayette County Detention Center on Wednesday! This is just one of many fun and interesting things our interns get to experience!
This week we all had the opportunity to visit the Fayette County Detention Center. While some had visited detention centers before, many came in with predisposed notions of what it would be like. Most ideas came from movies or TV shows – a loud environment with iron bars visible everywhere, dirty floors and angry staff. Instead of being met with ominous grey buildings, though, we experienced a beautiful visitor center that looked more like a horse barn than an entrance to a jail. It was large and white with dark green trim. Garden stones made up a paved courtyard decorated with arrangements of flowers and wild grasses. The entrance invoked a feeling of visiting the Kentucky Horse Park or Keeneland, definitely not a detention center.
The jail itself was different from our imagination – there were no holding cells with iron bars or dirty floors. Instead, every housing unit was clean and quiet, with the same forest green accents and plexiglass windows. Large common areas allowed inmates room to stretch their legs as staff kept eyes on them from command centers in the center of the courtyards. The care of the inmates was humane – with a full time medical center dedicated to both the physical and mental health of the patients. The inmates are given jobs, have access to GRE and other educational programs, spiritual counseling and vocational training in order to help them succeed once released.
While inmates are given access to these services, they certainly do not have free reign. The environment is very controlled, each housing unit dedicated to different groups of people and their specific needs. Officers are everywhere, protecting both the safety of the staff and the inmates. Doors only open after the one behind you is closed, making it very difficult to travel anywhere without permission.
The end of our tour was what our guide referred to as the “toy chest”, a room filled with riot gear ranging from helmets and vests to taser-equipped shields. It was a sober reminder that while it was nice and quiet the day we visited, the staff and guards at the Fayette County Jail have a tough job to do. They protect the public by maintaining the security of the jail, which sometimes requires more than locked doors and controlled movements.
We would really like to thank our tour guides, who took their time to answer questions and explain how everything worked. We also would like to thank those who dedicate themselves to helping keep the public safe.
Written by Rebecca Muscal
Intern Shannon Murphy researching a case to be presented on American D.A. Live this Friday!
Intern Rebecca Muscal on the job investigating biker gangs!
By Silvia Radulescu
Today, Mr. Larson and I took a trip to the Police Department. We visited the Homicide Unit and the Forensic Services Unit, which were both really neat. In the Homicide Unit, I met the detectives who investigate all homicides committed in Fayette County. It was interesting to see how the detectives work together with the prosecutors to carry-out justice in our community.
In the Forensic Services Unit, Sergeant Richardson showed us the fingerprint technology the investigators use. I had the opportunity to see the database in which fingerprints are kept, and learned about the different ways investigators collect and test fingerprints. As it turns out, there are various methods of testing for fingerprints, depending upon the surface of the object and whether or not the object can be brought into the lab.
Then, Sergeant Richardson showed us a new camera technology the police department recently started using. A camera documents the crime scene and this new computer program can show 360° of the scene, assess measurements, add pictures, and even create animated videos. These animated videos are incredibly helpful for attorneys in trial, because they can demonstrate to the jury exactly how a crime occurred. Overall, visiting the Police Department was really cool.
Cayla Combs is starting our summer internship program. She’s a winner!