Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

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SYNESTER
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Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby SYNESTER » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:40 pm

Hey guys - been a while since I posted here, glad to see the forum is still going strong.

Anyhow, I'm a third year student interviewing at one of the district attorneys office in New York- I have a second round interview coming up. During the second round, this particular DA's office uses a panel format asks several hypothetical questions.

So, i'm wondering if anyhow has been interviewed by a prosecutor's office and has any examples of the types of questions they have asked. I've done a pretty thorough job of looking online and am now looking for some personal anecdotes.

Cheers!

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2807
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby 2807 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:50 pm

Hi. Sorry can't help. But for those of us who are aspiring to be in your position one day, can you give a few of the general hypo's you have heard already?

Thanks, and good luck to you.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:29 pm

You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?

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2807
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby 2807 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:45 am

I found this to be pretty helpful back when I was applying. Although the Manhattan DA used entirely different hypos, most other NYC DAs offices still used some of these, or variations thereof. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/opics/doc ... rticle.pdf

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2807
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby 2807 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:43 pm

Great. thank you for this

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Kohinoor
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:03 am

2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.

Seems like they just want to see if you're some bleeding heart lib who will give away cases.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:49 am

Since you're interviewing for Bronx or Manhattan, I'll give you the Bronx hypo I got a few days ago.

You're in their complaint room. Cop and victim come in wanting to charge armed robbery. Victim is an 80 year old white man who was robbed at gunpoint at 3 AM with no witnesses. After the robbery, he sees a cop and flags him down and they proceed to drive around for a minute when the victim points out the robber in front of a store with 3 other guys. The robber has nothing on him at arrest, no gun, wallet, even his own identification. His 3 friends took off so there's no information for them.

Would you charge this as armed robbery?

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:13 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.

Seems like they just want to see if you're some bleeding heart lib who will give away cases.

Agreed. I don't really see an enormous ethical issue here (granted, I haven't studied for the MPRE). Regardless of whether the witness is alive or dead, you should only be ethically obligated to drop a case if you believe that the defendant is actually innocent. Just because you lose a witness doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to prosecute to the fullest extent, even if you might have trouble proving the case. You are certainly under no obligation to reveal how weak or strong your hand is to the opposing side, apart from mandatory evidentiary disclosures. If a witness dies and you aren't mandated to disclose that, I'd say you accept the plea.

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spanktheduck
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby spanktheduck » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:52 pm

The questions is supposed to get you to talk about Brady, although it does not really apply.

SYNESTER
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby SYNESTER » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:24 pm

those are great - like the old man one, while i definitely could see some reliability issues with his identification ( it being a show up and the fact that the man was old/ late at night/ probably had gun vision). still I would likely go ahead with the case because there certainly is probable cause to arrest.


anyone have any others?

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:16 pm

Probable cause to arrest is only a fraction of the problem though. If you think at best you'll never have more than probable cause, you have to consider whether you still want to initiate prosecution at all.

In the context of the Bronx, the reason they have prosecutors work their complaint room is to assess a case long-term and not simply whether there is PC to make an arrest.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:12 pm

Bump! Has anyone had any interviews involving hypos at DA's offices this fall? If so, please please share them.

Thanks.

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Glock
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Glock » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:16 pm

2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.



They know that you do not know the answer to most of these. They are trying to test your instincts on how you operate. The right-ish answer is "call my supervising attorney/ethics contact and request advice. I am a new attorney and have never faced this problem before." If they force you to answer error on the side of disclosure.

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YourCaptain
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:27 pm

Glock wrote:
2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.



They know that you do not know the answer to most of these. They are trying to test your instincts on how you operate. The right-ish answer is "call my supervising attorney/ethics contact and request advice. I am a new attorney and have never faced this problem before." If they force you to answer error on the side of disclosure.


You're supposed to be a prosecutor; nothing has changed except for potential ability to get a conviction. Your defendant's conduct is no less blameworthy.

No disclosure.

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Glock
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Glock » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:58 pm

YourCaptain wrote:

You're supposed to be a prosecutor; nothing has changed except for potential ability to get a conviction. Your defendant's conduct is no less blameworthy.

No disclosure.



The DA's office I worked at would disagree with you, though I guess it could vary among offices. What changed is that there is almost certainly insufficient admissible evidence to obtain a conviction. The "Convictions" book actually talks about these hypothetical questions. He says they are looking for people who are ethics minded, not rabid dogs that want to cheat and fuck people over.

ABA Criminal Justice Standards 3-3.9(a) state: "A prosecutor should not institute, cause to be instituted, or permit the continued pendency of criminal charges in the absence of sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction."

Note: while the death and disappearance of a witness is not "exculpatory evidence" within the meaning of Brady, the model ABA rules (which most states have adopted) prohibit the continued prosecution of charge not supported by probable cause. The hypo clearly identifies the witness as the only witness, which strongly indicates that their death eliminates probable cause. The point is that the case is probably destroyed by the death of the witness.

Note 2: recent cases have refused to throw out convictions on similar grounds... but that doesn't necessarily change the ethics of it.
Last edited by Glock on Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:00 pm

YourCaptain wrote:
Glock wrote:
2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.



They know that you do not know the answer to most of these. They are trying to test your instincts on how you operate. The right-ish answer is "call my supervising attorney/ethics contact and request advice. I am a new attorney and have never faced this problem before." If they force you to answer error on the side of disclosure.


You're supposed to be a prosecutor; nothing has changed except for potential ability to get a conviction. Your defendant's conduct is no less blameworthy.

No disclosure.


actually the prosecutor serves a dual function in the criminal justice system: to prosecute a case to the fullest extent possible, as well as to ensure that justice is done fairly. it is completely unethical to accept the defendant's plea without first informing them of the fact that you no longer have a case.

edit: though i will say that the answer they are probably looking for is the one mentioned a few posts above: about consulting your supervisor and discussing the ethical issues that the situation raises.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:43 am

Bump

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:13 am

I'm going to bump this because I found it extremely useful. If there are practicing DAs out there with experienced insight, I think everyone would greatly appreciate it.

This is a hypo I bumped into at a DA's office in CA:

You have a witness/victim in a case, your only witness in a rape case. You find out that she's been arrested for drunk driving. Do you let the defense attorney know?

Would you have her prosecuted?

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:41 pm

When I was in the job search last cycle, I interviewed with probably about 10 prosecutor's offices. I'd say I was asked the "death-of-witness-before-guilty-plea" hypo 75% of the time. Get to know that hypo.

One thing a lot of people add in their response is the practical aspect of it. As a prosecutor, you deal with the same defense attorneys over and over again. Your reputation within the office, defense bar, and the bench spreads very quickly. Even if you're not legally or ethically obligated to disclose the death of the witness, it's still pretty shady to withhold that information. Inevitably, the defendant will find out that the witness died, word will get to his attorney, and his attorney will tell other attorneys that you resort to these sneaky tactics.

For what it's worth, I personally think that you're ethically obligated to disclose the death. I have, however, discussed that hypo with veteran prosecutors and received varying responses. So, it appears, that reasonable minds can differ. I'd still err on the side of disclosure. It's better that someone thinks you're a softy than an unethical douche.

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:34 pm

This^ is good advice. Looking back to when I was interviewing for prosecuting jobs, one thing I wish I had better understood was the importance of reputation. Everyone in the criminal justice system is a repeat player: defenders, PDs, ADAs, judges, witnesses. Your reputation with them will follow you forever.

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.

Postby Myself » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:14 pm

.
Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:53 am, edited 4 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:38 am

Glock wrote:
2807 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're ADA on a case and offered the defendant a plea of five years, the defendant rejected it and wants to go to trial.
Night before trial, you get a call that your only witness just died of swine flu.
You come to court to tell the judge that you have to dismiss the case when defendant's lawyer approaches you and says that they'll take the deal.
What would you do?


Oooh, that's good. I would assume there is a rule for that, but as an -0L I have no idea. But I see the ethical issue in there. Interesting.

So, is there a correct answer for this? I'm sensing a disclosure issue, or something in the wording of the offer that would dictate the answer.



They know that you do not know the answer to most of these. They are trying to test your instincts on how you operate. The right-ish answer is "call my supervising attorney/ethics contact and request advice. I am a new attorney and have never faced this problem before." If they force you to answer error on the side of disclosure.



if you say "call my supervising attorney" , to me, that just sounds like youre "punting" the question. From my understanding thats the worst thing you could do to answer a Hypo in an interview

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:41 am

Glock wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:

You're supposed to be a prosecutor; nothing has changed except for potential ability to get a conviction. Your defendant's conduct is no less blameworthy.

No disclosure.



The DA's office I worked at would disagree with you, though I guess it could vary among offices. What changed is that there is almost certainly insufficient admissible evidence to obtain a conviction. The "Convictions" book actually talks about these hypothetical questions. He says they are looking for people who are ethics minded, not rabid dogs that want to cheat and fuck people over.

ABA Criminal Justice Standards 3-3.9(a) state: "A prosecutor should not institute, cause to be instituted, or permit the continued pendency of criminal charges in the absence of sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction."

Note: while the death and disappearance of a witness is not "exculpatory evidence" within the meaning of Brady, the model ABA rules (which most states have adopted) prohibit the continued prosecution of charge not supported by probable cause. The hypo clearly identifies the witness as the only witness, which strongly indicates that their death eliminates probable cause. The point is that the case is probably destroyed by the death of the witness.

Note 2: recent cases have refused to throw out convictions on similar grounds... but that doesn't necessarily change the ethics of it.



im not sure if the death of the witness completely destroys the case. There may be ways to get his testimony in by other ways i.e. hearsay exceptions. But then theres also the confrontation of witnesses issue

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Re: Hypotheticals asked during District Attorney Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:44 pm

Anyone have any other list of hypos/example Qs? My interview is only an hour long so I'm thinking it's likely an initial fit/screener type thing, but I want to be prepared regardless.




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