Thursday, June 26, 2008

US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

Frank Balsamello's first month at the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

I was very quickly welcomed to the Narcotics and Organized Crime Division of the US Attorney's Office, and with that welcome came countless opportunities to deal hands on with federal prosecutions. Within minutes of entering the division's office, I was introduced to a case which had already yielded one indictment for the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine. The Assistant US Attorney to whom I was assigned needed contact information in order to issue dozens of subpoenas to companies across the country. Knowing that I would spend the summer taking part in the gradual building of criminal prosecutions was exhilarating.

The investigation into the depths of the trafficking operation and role of co-conspirators was in its early stages, and so on just my third day in the office, I found myself riding along with the DEA agents on the case as they prepared to raid a house. Over the course of the last month, the investigation has picked up steam, and I have assisted directly with an investigation in bank and flight records, the monitoring of recorded jail calls, and the debriefing of several parties to the conspiracy.

Aside from that primary case, I have also spent hours reviewing the evidence that is currently mounting in an international smuggling case. On several occasions, I have taken part in debriefing relevant parties, cooperators, etc. and sat in on inter-agency meetings with the DEA and Customs.

My comfort level in the courtroom has also drastically increased as I've watched a murder trial in the Superior Court as well as several hearings (sentencing, competency, etc.) in the Federal District Court.

Finally, some time has been spent working on legal research, primarily dealing with the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, decisions related to its application, and also the legislative history of the Act. Last week, I drafted a motion and an order to seal a trial transcript in order to protect the identity of a government cooperator, and this week, I researched ineffective assistance of counsel as grounds for a new trial.

If not for EJF, I would literally not be able to pay my rent this summer and would have been unable to take this incredibly stimulating and hand-on internship.

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