DAY FIVE – Today I developed a better feeling for just how much work it takes to be a prosecutor. In the morning I worked on a murder binder for just one case. This particular case was very in depth and the binder was very thorough with all of the evidence it contained. Not only were the reports extensive, there were also numerous photos and witness statements. In the evening, I attended a sentencing docket. This is where I saw the “final” stages of a case come to rest. In the sentencing docket, defendants went before the judge with their attorneys’ to then be sentenced for their crimes. With family members waiting, the sentences of the defendants ranged from one year to twenty years, depending on the crime. So many people are being affected in this process that it shows just how important the job of the prosecutor is.
By: Kaitlin Himes
Perhaps one of my favorite things to do as an intern for the Commonwealth Attorney is going to the courthouse. So today was a very exciting day as I spent much of my time doing just that. Today started with Grand Jury selection for the month of February. These particular jurors are chosen at random from a group of Circuit Court Jurors who were requested to report today for their first meeting regarding their civic duty, that is jury duty. The people selected to the Grand Jury however, are assigned dates throughout the month when they will appear so they don’t have to call in like other jurors do because they are already assigned the dates. After the selection, all of the new Grand Jury members were brought to the Grand Jury room for a meeting with Mr. Ray Larson where they were then briefed on what was expected of them, among other things. I had little knowledge about Grand Jury proceedings prior to this, mostly from textbooks about what their role is so I did learn a lot from actually witnessing the selecion and briefing. Following this, I got to sit in on video arraignments where all courtroom players are present and a defense attorney enters a plea on behalf of their clients who are video broadcasted from the jail. It was a really neat experience to see all of this put into action. I am really enjoying my internship here at the Commonwealth Attorey’s office, I have learned so much in just the two short weeks that I have been here and I’m even making other intern friends and relationships with attorneys and victim’s advocates in the office. I’m truly grateful for this experience.
By: Nikki Fedorko
On January 14, I toured Fayette Regional Juvenile Detention Center (FRJDC). Juvenile detention centers are used to temporarily house youth who pose either a “high risk” of re-offending before trial, or not reappearing for their next court date. Detention centers also hold children who have received a sentence to incarceration. FRJDC can hold up to a maximum of 60 children and can house juveniles from 10 surrounding counties.
The facility holds “low level” offenders; FRJDC is also considered a “maximum” security facility. But, individuals who commit violent crimes like robbery, rape, and murder are typically held in a different pod than the “low level” offenders.
By Anika Gooch
There are several reasons why the 2015 Super Bowl will be the game to watch. Not only could Tom Brady potentially tie Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins, but the Seattle Seahawks, led by Russell Wilson, could become the 8th team in NFL history to win back to back Super Bowls. What else do you need to convince yourself that it is a must see event?
The National Football League has taken an active role in the fight against domestic violence with the No More campaign. One of the most powerful “No More” commercials will air during the first quarter of the game. The commercial will provide viewers a the opportunity to witness the destruction of a woman’s home as she disguises a 911 phone call as a pizza order.
Although each of the “No More” commercials have delivered powerful messages, the Super Bowl ad will be the most powerful yet and will resonate with audiences everywhere. I know I will be watching the game. Will you?
By: Anika Gooch
January 27, 2015 marked the 70th Anniversary of the Russian liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of most infamous Nazi death camps. An estimated 1.1 million Jews and 100,000 prisoners of war, gypsies and other minorities lost their lives from 1941 to 1944.
Auschwitz-Birkenau received its first inmates in 1941 and continued to do so until 1944. In November 1944, the Soviet Red Army began to approach Poland. In order to prevent the Russians from discovering any evidence of mass killings, the SS destroyed all written records, demolished several buildings, and evacuated 58,000 detainees. However, only 20,000 survived the death march to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Those too weak to walk were left behind. On January 27th, 1945, the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau and found around 7,500 prisoners that had been left behind. The camp’s liberation received little press at the time, but the left a lasting effect on the thousands of lives that were saved that day. After the war, 15 percent of Auschwitz’s 6,500 staff were eventually convicted of war crimes.
My First Day in Circuit Court
Today was my first day as an intern at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. I was able to observe the sentencing process in the Circuit Court with Judge Ishmael.
I was quite nervous at first, since I had never been in a court room before. After observing for a while, a few key elements stood out in my mind. The first being that for many of these offenders, this was not only the second or third offense, but their fourth or even fifth. I was very surprised by this at the time, but looking back, I know that I should not have been surprised at all. Many offenders imprisoned and released do end up committing another offense and are subsequently placed back in prison. This is a concept I understand theoretically, however, it is still hard for me to comprehend why an individual, after being released from prison, would ever act in a way that could get them sent back.
Another key element that stood out to me was the lengthy process by which the judge makes a final decision on what sentence will be carried out. While it did not take long for the judge to give some offenders a strong and timely sentence, others took a lot longer, accompanied by a lot of thinking and deliberation on the judge’s part to finally make a sentencing decision. I found this very interesting, because at the end of the day, the judge has the final say in what these offenders are sentenced to. Overall, my first day as an intern was very eventful, and time that I felt was well spent. I look forward to returning to the Circuit Court to observe future court proceedings.
My name is Dwayne Fuller. I’m from Louisville, Kentucky and I’m currently a senior majoring in integrated strategic communications at the University of Kentucky. I’m interested in working in public relations or crisis communications after graduation. In the future, I would like to open up my own public relations company for small businesses and those looking to get into the entertainment industry. From this internship, I hope to gain a better sense of the justice system and how it operates while getting the chance to work with the various attorneys.
Today, I had the privilege of observing a meeting between Mr. Ray and the Collision Reconstruction team of the Fayette County Police Department. A meeting of this nature occurs when a traffic collision happens and the end result is great bodily injury or death to someone involved in the collision.
This was a great learning experience for me to learn the background of how charges are brought against the driver or driver(s). I also learned how much goes into reconstructing the scene of a bad wreck. The Reconstruction team uses math and science to reconstruct these accidents. I found it interesting that they will reconstruct a scene using the same lunar (moon) cycle if the accident happens at night.
My advice is to NEVER drink and drive or drive under the influence of drugs because you could injure yourself or someone else and be charged criminally. It is not worth it!
Today I was invited to watch what takes place during the pretrial conference. I was able to sit in two conferences with Traci and Alex. They both were different in nature but, both prosecutors knew the law in and out. They made sure the charge or charges against the defendant met the definitions of the crime. I learned a lot from them in a short period of time. You can read about the process all day in textbooks but, it is nothing like the experience.
My name is Austin Monnett. I’m from Clay City, and graduated from Powell County High School in 2012. I’m currently a third year senior at the University of Kentucky where I’m majoring in environmental science with a minor in geography. I’m interested in a wide range of social and economic justice issues and I plan on attending law school in the fall of 2016 to pursue a career that will allow me to help resolve those very issues. My ultimate career goal is to work in prosecution for nonprofit organizations or for government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency or USAID. I plan to learn more about the strategies and tactics behind prosecution, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the judicial system during my internship here at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
I’m Leah Wolff and I am a junior from Fishers, IN studying Communication at the University of Kentucky. While being a rookie crime fighter, I am a veteran softball player and am the club softball president at UK. As someone very wise* once told me (*read Ray Larson), being an athlete means I have a very competitive streak alive in me that will help me in the long process of becoming an attorney, my ultimate career goal.
So far in my first two hours as the newest crime fighter, I have put together a large binder of documents involving a theft case, read a case summary about a burglary and listened in on the meeting with the lead detective on that case, and started transcribing an arrest—listening to the audio of the arrest and typing everything said word for word—for a drug case that will go to court next month.
One of the most important things I’ve learned so far is that I should always be picture-ready around this office, because social media is an important tool that helps us push our crime-fighters message to the community, which is “if you commit the crime, you should suffer the consequences.”