sizing up the prosecution - Harvard Law School

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SIZING UP THE PROSECUTION A QUICK GUIDE TO LOCAL PROSECUTION

Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising Harvard Law School Pound 329 1563 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 495-3108 Fax: (617) 496-4944 © 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

2010 Edition: Lisa D. Williams, Esq. Associate Director for J.D. Advising Iris Hsiao Summer Fellow 2007 Edition: Lisa D. Williams, Esq. Assistant Director for J.D. Advising Andrew Chan Summer Fellow; Current 1L at HLS 1997 Edition: Carolyn Stafford Stein, Esq. Assistant Director for Alumni Advising

Table of Contents INTRODUCTION: WHY PROSECUTION? ......................................................................................... 3 DIFFERENCES AMONG FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL PROSECUTING OFFICES . 3 WHAT A LOCAL PROSECUTOR DOES................................................................................................. 5 DECIDING TO BECOME A PROSECUTOR........................................................................................ 6 CHOOSING THE RIGHT OFFICE .......................................................................................................... 8 APPLYING TO BECOME A PROSECUTOR .................................................................................... 111 BACKGROUND CHECK............................................................................................................................. 14 CONCLUSION.............................................................................................................................................. 155 NARRATIVES ................................................................................................................................................. 15 RESOURCES.................................................................................................................................................... 24

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Lisa D. Williams, Esq., Associate Director for J.D. Advising at OPIA, is a former public defender and supervising attorney with the Manhattan office of the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division and former a senior trial counsel with the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts Public Defender and has represented many clients and tried numerous cases to verdict as well has assisted many law school students who want to become public defenders. Carolyn Stafford Stein, Esq., ’85, Assistant Director for Alumni Advising at OPIA, is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, where she worked in the Public Corruption and Special Crimes Unit, the Economic Crimes Unit, and the Major Crimes Unit. Andrew Chan, 2007 Summer Fellow at OPIA, is a graduate of Harvard College and a current 1L at Harvard Law School. Iris Hsiao, 2010 Summer Fellow at OPIA, is a senior majoring in English and Philosophy at Tufts University. MANY THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING Prosecutors Amy Schwartz, Asit Panwala, Cameron Schroeder, Christopher DiMase, Clare Connors, Craig Hum, David Bitkower, Harrison Schweiloch, Mark Schneider, Rosalind Wang, Samuel Williamson, Tracy Conn, David Deakin, Nicholas Walsh, Joseph Ditkoff, Leah Silver, Rachel Cano and Alexa Shabecoff, Assistant Dean for Public Service and Director of the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at Harvard Law School.

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INTRODUCTION: WHY PROSECUTION? Prosecutors fill a unique role in the United States because their primary responsibility in the courtroom is to ascertain the truth and seek justice. While defense attorneys are obligated to vigorously defend their clients whether guilty or not, prosecutors exercise the sovereign power of the state by representing the best interests of the community, which not only includes prosecuting crimes but also honoring the rights of the accused. As one current prosecutor put it, “The only obligation I have every day is to do the right thing.” For many law students, prosecution work is an attractive form of public service.