Career Story: Assistant District Attorney And Criminal Prosecutor

Assistant District Attorney And Criminal Prosecutor

Job Title: Attorney

Type of Company: I work as an assistant district attorney for the county district attorney's office.

Education: BA, Biology and Political Science, Bucknell University •• JD, Vermont Law School

Previous Experience: I clerked in and worked in private law practices before becoming a prosecutor.

Job Tasks: I am an assistant district attorney, a prosecutor. I primarily do the forfeiture in the office. This means that I am taking the profit out of crime, as an additional punishment and an effort to hit the criminals in the pocketbook in crimes involving illicit profit: drug dealing, gambling and tax evasion. We seize money, vehicles, jewelry, houses, and items that are purchased with the cash earned from drug sales as part of the disposition in a case. The proceeds are then put back into the system for further law enforcement purposes.

I also handle the eavesdropping warrants. We obtain wiretaps where appropriate as part of certain investigations. This process involves a lot of drafting of the application and the affidavits from the investigators to meet the necessary thresholds of proof. This type of investigation takes many months, and sometimes years, and is labor-intensive. It is highly regulated and time frames are very important to follow. Once an arrest is made and search warrants are executed, I handle the case through presentation to the grand jury, plea bargain, or trial.

I am also the prosecutor who handles the environmental crimes that come through our office. The Attorney General's office handles the bulk of these cases, but our office handles a few. This allows me to use my biology degree, apply my real interest in protection of the environment and still fight crime.

One of the first felony bureaus I handled was the prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse cases. These are perhaps the hardest cases in the office to handle because of the emotional impact they have. To ask a child to get up on the witness stand and talk about the most intimate and embarrassing things is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. If only a guilty verdict could erase the trauma the child has undergone, it would be the most rewarding case to try. Unfortunately it doesn't. Still, you can feel good about removing such an individual from the streets.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is getting bad people off the streets to make it safer for the public; it sounds very basic, but it's true. It is a good thing for the community at large, but it is also very personal for the victims.

The worst part is seeing the recidivism, and seeing several generations of a family following the same criminal path.

Job Tips:
1. If you like solving puzzles, you will like piecing together a case in a way that others can understand and decide on.

2. Be sure that you can become comfortable talking in front of people, as you will be in front of a jury and the judge and will want to be sure of yourself.

3. Take courses or put yourself in situations that allow you to think on your feet and articulate your positions clearly and with conviction without being annoying. I guess debate or at least some oral presentation work would be good.

Additional Thoughts: Do not think that there is any one major or course of study that is needed for a career in law.

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