Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

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Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:15 am

FPDs have fewer cases (at least in my district) than AUSAs do, too. But some of that is due to office policies about how they want to defend their cases. And there are still tons of defendants who have CJA attorneys (I have no idea how many cases they have at a time).

We're not open discovery, but in practice I have to/do turn over basically everything. Where it gets tricky is if turning everything over will jeopardize an ongoing investigation or put an informant at risk, so then you have to negotiate about how/when.

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:53 am

Kivan wrote:
Displeased wrote:
So you give the defense every police report, every witness statement, every piece of possible evidence in your possession? That is wonderful, and most definitely not the case in my (and many other) jurisdictions.


What bizzaro world do you practice in where the Prosecutor can REFUSE to turn over a witnesses' statement or a police report and then call that same officer/witness to testify on the stand?

???


Agreed - we are an open book here. We give defense everything. Even if the rules allowed for me to hide shit, I would probably still give everything, as it seems like the right thing to do.

It kinda shocks me that there are jurisdictions like that.
Last edited by Jaymore on Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:56 am

[/quote]

Bad phrasing, I meant on an individual basis. An individual assistant public defender probably has more cases than an individual assistant district attorney. I know that's factually true in my jurisdiction, where there are 2.5 prosecutors for every public defender.

In my neck of the woods, the DA (we call them CWAs, or Commonwealth Attorneys) DOESN'T try almost all criminal cases. Many misdemeanors are "prosecuted" by the police or by civilian complaint, though they are defended by public defenders or court appointed attorneys. I've seen some jurisdictions where CWAs try every driving while suspended case, I've seen jurisdictions where they only get involved in DUIs and felonies.

I do think DAs work harder on individual cases, tearing down a case is much easier than building one. Of course, DAs almost always have the facts on their side, so maybe it balances out.

[/quote]

We try everything here - I've actually taken a running a red light to trial.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:01 am

Jaymore wrote:We try everything here - I've actually taken a running a red light to trial.


You mean Bench trial, right?

I can't see a Judge thinking its a GREAT IDEA to bring in (and pay for) a jury for a red light case.

UNNNNLLLLLEEEEESSSSS, it was trial week and all the other BIG CASES fell thru and the Prosecutor had to make a sacrifice to the "Jury Gods".
Last edited by Kivan on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:20 pm

Kivan wrote:
Jaymore wrote:We try everything here - I've actually taken a running a red light to trial.


You mean Bench trial, right?

I can see a Judge thinking its a GREAT IDEA to bring in (and pay for) a jury for a red light case.

UNNNNLLLLLEEEEESSSSS, it was trial week and all the other BIG CASES fell thru and the Prosecutor had to make a sacrifice to the "Jury Gods".


Of course. Did bring in an expert witness though.

Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:10 pm

Any advice to a first-year prosecutor about to start?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:16 pm

I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:17 pm

Starting in Sept in a major city DA's office. Making decisions about where to live. How much of a commute is too much? Right now i'm looking at 40-45 minutes in the morning, maybe a little less in the evening. Thanks for any thoughts!

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Young Marino
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Young Marino » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:27 pm

Going back to my local DA'S office this summer and looking forward to it. Would u guys say it's essential to join Trial Team/Moot Court for an aspiring ADA? I'd rather not if it's not gonna be a big deal.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:36 pm

Young Marino wrote:Going back to my local DA'S office this summer and looking forward to it. Would u guys say it's essential to join Trial Team/Moot Court for an aspiring ADA? I'd rather not if it's not gonna be a big deal.


I wouldn't say *essential* because I had a lot of Mock/Moot team members who sucked and should never be in front of a jury.

It will be ESSENTIAL that you take either a class/program/externship that will give you courtroom experience so that you won't look crazy and bewildered when you have to appear in court as a real lawyer.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?



1. Victim dies/unavailable before a trial. On the day of trial Opposing COunsel comes up and says that his gal is willing to plead guilty.
DO you accept the plea or tell him that your victim will never show for trial?

WHAT DO YOU DO HOTSHOT?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice to a first-year prosecutor about to start?


1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING

I don't care how smart you are, you will forget details about cases once you start getting cases. The faintest pen stroke is BETTER than the strongest memory. Additionally, someone else might have to handle your file for some hearing. If you aren't around, they'll need to know what has happened during the last several hearings.

2. Don't let your ego write checks your ass can't cash.

You could be the greatest trial lawyer your school's Mock Trial team has ever known, but that doesn't mean jack squat to a jury. If your case is crappy, it won't suddenly get strong just because you have BELIEVE STRONGLY IN IT. You can know that a Defendant is guilty, but can you prove it? More importantly, does your jury give a damn? I had to learn the hard way that my jury doesn't really care for Police Obstruction cases or Weed cases.

3. You work for your Elected Official, not your Judge.

You work with your Judge everyday to move the hundreds UPON HUNDREDS of cases on his docket. You want him to trust your word without having to say, "AS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT. . ." You want him to trust that you will focus on Justice first and Convictions later. HOWEVER, he does not sign your paycheck and he is not your boss. Don't ever do something that will undermine your Elected Official or generally make your office look dumb just b/c the Judge is browbeating you.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:06 pm

looking more and more like i'll be spending a year in a DA's office on a fellowship after graduation, with full entry-level DA training, caseload, and duties. assuming i am competent at the job and not hated in the office, and assuming the office is hiring the next year, how much of an advantage would i be at--if any--for grabbing one of those permanent positions?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:04 pm

Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?



1. Victim dies/unavailable before a trial. On the day of trial Opposing COunsel comes up and says that his gal is willing to plead guilty.
DO you accept the plea or tell him that your victim will never show for trial?

WHAT DO YOU DO HOTSHOT?


I already know this answer. Any other hypos?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:looking more and more like i'll be spending a year in a DA's office on a fellowship after graduation, with full entry-level DA training, caseload, and duties. assuming i am competent at the job and not hated in the office, and assuming the office is hiring the next year, how much of an advantage would i be at--if any--for grabbing one of those permanent positions?


Use this as a networking opportunity.

Your particular office might not be hiring; HOWEVER, you will inevitably come in contact with other Prosecution Offices in your state. DA's love ALREADY TRAINED prosecutors over brand new/eager rookies.

Use your fellowship to learn EVERYTHING YOU CAN. From How to draft an Indictment all the way to Juvenile Court.

You want to walk in and say, "Hey, I'm READY to handle any and all grunt work."

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?



1. Victim dies/unavailable before a trial. On the day of trial Opposing COunsel comes up and says that his gal is willing to plead guilty.
DO you accept the plea or tell him that your victim will never show for trial?

WHAT DO YOU DO HOTSHOT?


I already know this answer. Any other hypos?



What's your answer?

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby BarbellDreams » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:45 pm

Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?



1. Victim dies/unavailable before a trial. On the day of trial Opposing COunsel comes up and says that his gal is willing to plead guilty.
DO you accept the plea or tell him that your victim will never show for trial?

WHAT DO YOU DO HOTSHOT?


I already know this answer. Any other hypos?



What's your answer?


Back when I interviewed at a DA a while back I said I would disclose for 2 reasons: 1.) I don't think this is exculpatory evidence, but the PD will undoubtedly argue a Brady violation making a huge headache for appellate counsel and 2.) A prosecutor has an ethical duty to only prosecute cases that they believe can win. Your only witness died, you have literally zero to put on even in your case in chief and are hoping for jury nullification or something. Ethical duty to pull it. All IMO of course. The panel I interviewed with told me they really liked the answer, but others may very well hate it. I know the counter argument to my way of thinking is that the facts of the case didn't change, just the evidence available did, so you shouldn't disclose.

Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:48 pm

Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any advice to a first-year prosecutor about to start?


1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING

I don't care how smart you are, you will forget details about cases once you start getting cases. The faintest pen stroke is BETTER than the strongest memory. Additionally, someone else might have to handle your file for some hearing. If you aren't around, they'll need to know what has happened during the last several hearings.

2. Don't let your ego write checks your ass can't cash.

You could be the greatest trial lawyer your school's Mock Trial team has ever known, but that doesn't mean jack squat to a jury. If your case is crappy, it won't suddenly get strong just because you have BELIEVE STRONGLY IN IT. You can know that a Defendant is guilty, but can you prove it? More importantly, does your jury give a damn? I had to learn the hard way that my jury doesn't really care for Police Obstruction cases or Weed cases.

3. You work for your Elected Official, not your Judge.

You work with your Judge everyday to move the hundreds UPON HUNDREDS of cases on his docket. You want him to trust your word without having to say, "AS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT. . ." You want him to trust that you will focus on Justice first and Convictions later. HOWEVER, he does not sign your paycheck and he is not your boss. Don't ever do something that will undermine your Elected Official or generally make your office look dumb just b/c the Judge is browbeating you.

So good. Any things to be wary of around defense counsel? I'm sure they'll know I'm new and will want to take advantage of me/slip one past me. I want to build good working relationships with defense counsel, but don't want to be stepped on until I actually "learn."

Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:57 pm

Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have final round interviews. Do you know some hypos?



1. Victim dies/unavailable before a trial. On the day of trial Opposing COunsel comes up and says that his gal is willing to plead guilty.
DO you accept the plea or tell him that your victim will never show for trial?

WHAT DO YOU DO HOTSHOT?


I already know this answer. Any other hypos?



What's your answer?


You don't disclose. There is a NY legal case touching this exact situation.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:


So good. Any things to be wary of around defense counsel? I'm sure they'll know I'm new and will want to take advantage of me/slip one past me. I want to build good working relationships with defense counsel, but don't want to be stepped on until I actually "learn."



You are going to get worked over by an experienced defense attorney. They know the system better than you, and they know the JUDGE better than you.

For me, all it took was to get screwed over ONCE by a lawyer and I would learn the necessary lesson.

Just prepare to get bent over once or twice.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:06 am

A question for all the prosecutors out there:

What was your experience at your very first trial? What kind of case was it, what happened, did you screw up, was your heart rate in quadruple digits the whole time, etc?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:22 am

BarbellDreams wrote:A question for all the prosecutors out there:

What was your experience at your very first trial? What kind of case was it, what happened, did you screw up, was your heart rate in quadruple digits the whole time, etc?


Hit-n-Run, Suspended License.

I was nervous about looking dumb in front of the Judge, my co-worker, and opposing counsel.

However, once we got going all my experience from mock trial and externships kicked in and it was smooth sailing.

Same for my first felony.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:51 am

BarbellDreams wrote:A question for all the prosecutors out there:

What was your experience at your very first trial? What kind of case was it, what happened, did you screw up, was your heart rate in quadruple digits the whole time, etc?

I was lucky enough to do my first trial with a mentor, so she kept me from screwing up too badly (or at least, she didn't tell me if I did!). I'll admit that while my opposing counsel knew it was my first trial in that jurisdiction, I'd been purposely vague about it being my first trial ever. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but I've done enough public speaking that once I got up to examine witnesses etc. the nerves died down - the anticipation was the worst part. Like, the half hour or so before starting, which isn't enough time really to do any more prep but you can't do anything else - that part drives me nuts. Cross-examining the defendant was actually fun.

The thing I remember I kept screwing up was sidebars with the judge - just in that when you're at counsel table, it's sort of easy to know when to speak and when you shut up - you stand up, you take turns speaking, you know when it's your turn. But at sidebar I kept talking over opposing counsel (and I think the judge once or twice) - oops.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:07 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:A question for all the prosecutors out there:

What was your experience at your very first trial? What kind of case was it, what happened, did you screw up, was your heart rate in quadruple digits the whole time, etc?


Possession of Marijuana. (Defendant was 19 years old, but on felony probation for armed car jacking).

We lost because, well it's pot and this was the tail end of a smoked joint. No major screw ups. I just was hoping to make 6 people give a damn.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
BarbellDreams wrote:A question for all the prosecutors out there:

What was your experience at your very first trial? What kind of case was it, what happened, did you screw up, was your heart rate in quadruple digits the whole time, etc?


Possession of Marijuana. (Defendant was 19 years old, but on felony probation for armed car jacking).

We lost because, well it's pot and this was the tail end of a smoked joint. No major screw ups. I just was hoping to make 6 people give a damn.


MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

People don't care about weed unless there are guns involved.

But at least you learned a valuable lesson.




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