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Equal Justice Foundation Report - Krista Marino
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia
During the summer I had the great pleasure of working in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. The Southern District is one of ninety-three districts in the United States. This particular district represents the United States in forty-three counties and is divided into six divisions. One of the reasons I pursued this opportunity is that upon graduation I want to become a prosecutor. I had previously worked in a state district attorney’s office and discovered my passion for the work and decided I wanted to see prosecution from the federal side.
The office has a Civil and Criminal Division. I was assigned to the Criminal Division and worked with an incredible group of attorney’s with experience ranging from two years to thirty plus years. As an intern I performed legal research, helped draft and edit appellate briefs, prepared various pleadings related to all phases of the adjudication process, and assisted counsel with voir dire for a jury trial. One of the interesting aspects of my summer is that this particular office had not had a jury trial in about two years. It is very common in the federal system for the cases to be resolved by way of plea bargain rather than taking a case to trial. However, there were a few cases that could not be resolved prior to trial and so I had the opportunity to see the attorney’s in action.
One thing that was of particular interest to me this summer was the impact the office had on the community. A key goal in the criminal division is to reduce gang and violent crimes in the district. As a means of achieving this goal the office and federal agents set up complex undercover investigations. For instance, officers set up a tattoo parlor and a tobacco shop in two areas in the district and had undercover agents lure in wrongdoers and try to recover contraband. In one of the undercover operations, the office was able to take over one hundred firearms of the street, recover a large amount of illegal narcotics and prosecute over sixty individuals.
All in all, my summer was very rewarding. I was given the opportunity to research and draft a multitude of motions and appellate brief sections. The attorney’s in the office really let me get a hands on approach to practicing law and took the time to teach me not only how to do things but the reasons. The practical experience and knowledge I received this summer is invaluable to my future endeavors as an attorney. While law school does a fantastic job of teaching you how to think like an attorney it is clerkships like this that teach you how to take that thinking and convert it to the actual practice of law. I will never forget the experiences I had this past summer nor will I forget that without the support of the Equal Justice Foundation I would not have been able to go after my dream internship.