The end of the week is always my favorite. You get to wrap up cases, prepare for next week, and most importantly relax because it’s the weekend. Being the only intern has been a blessing. It has given me an opportunity to shine, learn new skills, and increased my passion to work within the justice system. This week was our busiest week yet! We have three consecutive trials coming up along with deposition every Tuesday and Thursday!
When I first walked in the office this week Ms. Hoard said, “Get ready this week you are going to feel like a real lawyer, we have a ton of cases.” My instant reaction was to smile because that meant I had a lot of work to do. If you could not tell by my previous post I’m a tad bit of a work-a-holic but if you go to Michigan who isn’t? Right? Anyways this week as normal I sat and took notes in court but I also attended a client meeting, sent a bench warrant letter, examined jury instructions, and was lead intern on examining police reports. I was excited of all the new tasks I have acquired because I learned so much.
From the client meeting I learned the job is to do what’s in the best interest of the client per the client. Therefore, personal feelings are set aside and no matter if you believe an approach is better the job is to support the client in the way they deem is necessary. To me this was very challenging to break down and process. I always felt like lawyers notified their clients of the options and swayed them to do one or the other. However, its the opposite. The client has a lot of say in whether we take a incident to trial or just have a hearing. I also learned unfortunately when juveniles are released from detention in order to pay individuals who work there, there are an influx of sentences for detention. This was sad to hear but I understood it in the context if there’s no one in detention how do you pay those who work in the detention centers. It is a very unfortunate cycle but that’s why you need attorneys who care and are passionate for helping their client.
A bench warrant letter is issued by the Judge for failing to appear in court. The cops could come to your house and arrest you. Also if you get pulled over or have any other type of police contact and they run your name they may arrest you if they find the warrant. Sending a bench warrant letter was pretty simple, the letter is already pre-drafted and you mail it as regular. It was very unfortunate that I had to send one. I had high hopes the client would attend court and I even called them to remind them but no luck. In this case I learned to not be too invested, it is important to care and be passionate but not take work home with you. I find myself thinking a lot about the files I’ve read and wondering if the children are okay or how they are doing after a hearing.
Last but not least examining jury instructions and police reports. Now as a citizen you would think you could have faith in the justice system and the police but sadly this isn’t so. In many police reports there are a ton of errors and inconsistencies. This helps in a case because sometimes the fault of an officer can help a client face no sentencing or community service. Other times it can be frustrating because you are unsure what’s the truth. The good thing about the justice system is police reports cannot be used in a trial because it is deemed hear se. This might be the smartest things ever because so many times a police report can give you false pretenses. In addition to examining police reports I read over the jury instructions and composed questions I would have if I was a juror. This was exciting! I had a lot of questions which helped my attorney shape her case and edit her argument. However, you never realize the power of words and the way you use them until those words are the deciding factor on how someone votes/ comes to a verdict. There was a section in the jury instructions defining the word assault and a case pertaining to it. If you look carefully at the definition provided it could shape the entire way you view a trail/defendant.
Overall, working with juveniles is sad but rewarding when you know you have worked hard to support them. There are a lot of unfortunate chain of events but what makes it rewarding is giving a 110% and at the end of the day no matter what the referee says your client knows you did all that you could to help them.