Today was my last day shadowing David. I actually got to see a case that David was working on go to trial, and that was really nice. I knew a few of the faces in the courtroom that I've met with either in the office, or out actually out in the field to prepare for the case. Unfortunately, since I can only be there for the first day (it probably will continue on for the rest of the week, which I would have liked to see if school wasn't starting up again) I got to watch Vau Dier (I'm sure I just butchered the spelling of that) which is basically where the jury is questioned and selected. First the judge will ask logisitical questions of the jury; whether they have travel plans, family plans, or circumstances which would affect their ability to be present and neutral about the case. Then it's the attourney's turn--they get to ask questions of the group and individuals (about 40 people) to see who they find suitable to serve as part of the jurry. The point is to try and get the best possible representatives who will serve the purpose of a fair and unbiased individual in making decisions regarding the case. I got to see my mentor ask a few questions. Unfortunately, it turned out that the jury caused a bit of a problem...many of them had conflicts or plans that would stop them from performing a lengthy jury duty. The judged called a two hour recess so they could try and round up other potential jurrors, which apparently had never had to happen before in Judge Herndon's court.
Another super cool thing I got today was actually go back in Judge Herndon's chambers and talk with him before the trial began. We talked a bit about the difference between working as an attorney and as a judge, and he had a few stories and such to tell me about. He also said that whenever I'm free he'd love to see me back in the courtroom watching other cases of his--super nice!
Overall I'm so happy I landed where I did for my senior project. Going into it, I was a bit apprehensive about taking on such a serious job, but I couldn't not have ended up at a better place! David and Connie both treated me like a real intern, and I got to meet some really cool people: investigators, other defense attorneys, two judges, other legal assistants, clients, and more. This project has convinced me that I should look into law as a possible future career. Most importantly, I think I gained a lot of information about why people actually defend the criminals. Before I thought you had to be crazy to try and get criminal lunatics off for what they did--but I've learned (and posted about this before) that they are real people just like me. Client interaction was possibly the most instrumental in helping me grasp this--no matter what these clients are accused of doing, they are just people, and most of them I really came to like. I couldn't be more happy with what I got out of the experience and hope that if I end up defending criminals some time down the road, I stay in contact with David--his advice and knowledge is outstanding, and he is rightfully very well respected in both Oregon and Washington.