Thursday, August 7, 2008

U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia

Ryan Majerus writes from Washington DC,

I am working for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, in the Office of Professional Development. The principal responsibility of our office is teaching D.C. police officers federal constitutional principles. Everyday there are several dozen police officers in our office who are being trained in 4th, 5th, 6th Amendment law, as well as many other topics. After a few days in this office, it becomes very clear that law enforcement play the central role in the criminal justice system. Even after the arrest, they are often the chief witness, and the thoroughness of their documentation can make or break a case. The goal of our office is that when police officers are in the field arresting someone during a drug deal, gun fight, etc., that they will consider their actions carefully so as to ensure the evidence pertaining to the suspect is not excluded at trial.
Thus far I have played a role in several interesting projects. My boss, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, has given me three memos thus far to address unresolved issues raised by law enforcement in our training programs. I wrote a memo addressing whether children or adolescents, whom the police suspect committed a crime, are the sole individuals that can consent to a search of their bedroom, or whether a parent, guardian, or grandparent can effectively give consent to have their rooms searched. I also wrote a memo focused on the Sixth Amendment standard, and this week I am researching a memo regarding whether you can conduct a Search Incident to Arrest of an automobile after the arrested individual is taken from the scene. My
major project for the semester is focused on collecting opening and closing statements from the AUSA's in our office, sifting through them, and uploading the very best on our office's shared drive as a model for AUSA's to consider before they go to court.

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