I have learned a lot so far in my time at the Commonwealths Attorney Office. Every week I do a “Crime In Pop-Culture” segment where I talk about topics related to crime that are happening in todays pop culture. I also get to do other public relations tasks like manage social media account and handle media outlets.
I really enjoy going to court with the prosecutors and sitting in on grand jury selection, video arraignments and so much more.
The most heartbreaking part of my internship is working with victims of domestic abuse. In the state of Kentucky, domestic abuse is considered a “non-violent” crime. This means that the defendants only have to serve 20% of the time they are sentenced to. While this may seem like a lot of time, if a defendant is sentenced to 1 year of repeatedly beating his wife, they only have to serve just a few months before they are released back into the world. What is most alarming about this and what I have the most trouble dealing with is the thought that the victims abuser has served just a little time in jail and will be released with the potential threat, and in most cases very serious threat, of harming the victim again.
The legal system does protect us in so many wonderful ways but I have learned in my time here that there are a number of laws and litigation that allows defendants the opportunity to “get off easy” for their crimes.
I really enjoy the work that I do here and love the people that I work with. In my short time here, my desire to go to law school after graduation from under graduate. I know that this and the work that the prosecutors do here is what I want to do with the rest of my life and help victims of the terrible crimes.
Working in a prosecutor’s office can be like an emotional roller coaster. I never know what types of cases I will experience or the stories behind them.
I help prosecutors prepare cases for court. Sometimes I have to listening to 911 calls, or listen to what are called “Jail Phone Calls” which calls that defendants make from jail while they are incarcerated. All of those calls reveal information that is shocking.
There are unexplainable reasons why people break the law and do certain things that they know are wrong. There are situations involving violations of the law that cause me to wish I could just hit the rewind button and reverse time. In those situations there was nothing that the defendant could do to prevent a terrible thing from happening.
I have always been a forgiving person, and sometimes I would like to just say that these people should get a second chance, that it was an accident that never should have happened. However, in the world of the law that isn’t the way things work. Criminals have to be responsible for what they have done even if they did it completely out of character. We learn from our mistakes and sometimes that means serving a little time.
This internship is teaching me a lot about how people think and makes me view the world and the people around me in a different way.
Last week Kathy High invited me to sit in on a very insightful meeting called Operation Safe Child. This meeting happens only once a month where they meet up to discuss crimes against children. Finding the Children’s Advocacy Center where the meeting was located was easy, but finding the meeting room was more complicated. Thankfully, when I arrived at the top of the stairs I saw some familiar faces from the police department that showed me to the room. This type of meeting provided interesting insight into crime fighting because it had to do with federal issues with representatives from federal agencies, instead of merely state ones. I learned about new tools that will help police detect the number of devices connected to a wireless network and various policies and procedures used in combating the child pornography industry. Although the topics discussed at this meeting were saddening, the issues were eye-opening that proved to be great learning experience.
We, at the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, along with her mother and her father already knew that she was A REAL WINNER!!
SURPRISE? Maybe to Larkin but not to us!
At exactly 2pm on Saturday, February 22 I stood up and began dancing for 24 hours. I participated in Dance Blue at the University of Kentucky which is a no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon that benefits Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinics. I wanted to participate this year because I heard it was an uplifting experience and it was 24 hours of free food.
As the date approached I was very nervous about participating in Dance Blue because I was unsure if I had what it took to stay awake and stand for 24 hours. Some would say I was being a sissy. However, once the marathon began and I saw the children who would benefit from my efforts, standing for 24 hours did not seem so bad compared to what they were going through. Hearing the stories of families who have been affected by cancer during the marathon makes all of the pain and swelling completely worth it. I realized how truly blessed my family has been and I am thankful to have the opportunity to give to those who have not been so lucky.
Dance Blue was a life changing experience for me and easily my best memory in college thus far. To put into words the experience of Dance Blue is simply not possible. Spending the weekend with 800 + students from various organizations on campus all supporting the same cause is truly remarkable. At the top of every hour during the marathon we would do a special Dance Blue line dance together. The final line dance was done at 2 pm on Sunday right after they revealed that UK raised over 1.4 million dollars for Kentucky Children’s Hospital! Joy filled the stadium as they revealed the number because all of our efforts throughout the year had paid off. I am already looking forward to Dance Blue 2015 and another opportunity to dance for the kids!
From my first day – no, my first few minutes – I was struck by the fast-paced and exciting environment of the Office. I’d planned on meeting with my supervisor at 10:00 a.m. that morning, but she was off in court, so as I waited for her to return Mr. Larson ushered me into that week’s Cease Fire meeting, which concerns cases involving firearms. Representatives from the Lexington Division of Police, victim’s advocates, prosecutors, and others all show up to discuss several cases of varying severity. On this occasion one stood out more than the others: a woman had pawned a firearm for her boyfriend, a convicted felon, and the pawn shop had contacted the LDP because the gun in question was odd. It was a Vietnam-era, fully automatic rifle worth tens of thousands of dollars on the open market. Unfortunately for the woman, instead of getting a lump of cash, she got $150 from the pawn shop and a felony conviction.
My supervisor is a Victim’s Advocate and she mostly deals with domestic violence cases. One morning I sat in with her on a meeting with a victim of domestic violence and the prosecutor of the case. It was mostly routine – the victim told an all-too-familiar story of a bad guy and bad situation – but soon the prosecutor started asking questions about her ex-boyfriend. The background check had been odd; the state check had returned one prior felony in another county, but the national check had returned nothing. The prosecutor knew additional priors, especially felonies, would make the case much easier to prosecute, so she asked if the victim knew of any other priors for the defendant. She said she’d heard him talk about something in another state, maybe something federal, but she didn’t know anything else. To find out more my supervisor asked me to call up the defendant’s old parole officer and ask about his record. I did, and it turned out that the man had no fewer than seven additional priors, including two felonies!
Most recently I observed part of a murder trial. I’m a member of the mock trial team at U.K. so I was particularly excited to observe a real, serious trial. When I got there the prosecution was directing its last witness, the LDP detective who had been most involved with the case. They walked him through the information he’d gathered and the interviews he’d done and succeeded in making the murder charge plausible – it did indeed seem as if the defendant had committed the crime. Then the cross examination started. The defense attorney was poised, confident, and prepared – she found the holes in the detective’s interview with the defendant, and did her best to paint the killing as an unfortunate accident in an otherwise-ordinary fight. Unfortunately for her, however, the Office’s case was superior; the prosecutors took advantage of the plethora of evidence, as well as the fact that the defendant refused to take the, and the jury returned a guilty verdict that same day.
These are just a few of my interesting, informative, and exciting experiences thus far as an undergraduate intern at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. I’ve already learned an enormous about the criminal justice system and the operation of Office, and I look forward to the rest of the semester!
My journey though this internship continues to surprise me with opportunities. For the first time, I was able to go to the radio station, 98.1 The Bull, with Ray to be on the show with Officer Don.
I have only been on the radio one other time in my life, so this was an exciting opportunity. The interesting topic on the radio show today was the top ten most dangerous cities in the United States. Some of the cities listed were ones that I think anyone would guess, however there were some missing that I was very surprised by. For instance Chicago and New York were two that did not make the top ten. Detroit, Atlanta and Birmingham however did make it on the list for most dangerous cities.
I was able to talk some about my internship experience here, and hopefully other students wanting to go to law school will hear about this amazing experiences to be had here and will also do this internship. Listen in on Sunday to hear more about the show today!