Purpose

To expose the student to real world experience in the field of criminal law through the representation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as performed by an Assistant District Attorney. The student will gain knowledge in the prosecution of criminal cases through all legal proceedings including preliminary hearings, pre-trial motions, trials and appeals, learn about search warrants, criminal complaints and other legal documents, and learn how to provide legal support to law enforcement personnel.

 

Background

Monroe County was created on April 1, 1836 from parts of Northampton and Pike Counties and named for President James Monroe. In 1837, Stroudsburg became the county seat. Today, the 611 square miles of Monroe County is comprised of 16 second-class townships and 4 incorporated boroughs with a combined population of over 170,000 residents.

In addition to the District Attorney (an elected position), the Monroe County Office of the District Attorney is staffed by eleven prosecutors (5 full time, 6 part time), seven secretaries, an office manager, four victim / witness advocates, and five county detectives serving over 170,000 residents, five municipal police departments, one state university police department, and three state police barracks. The Office of the District Attorney is located on the first floor of the Courthouse. The Detective Unit is located in a former 19thcentury firehouse across the street from the Courthouse.

 

The Intern Program

The internship program runs a minimum of 12 weeks and requires the student to work a 40-hour work week (generally 0830 to 1630 hours). Starting and ending dates will be established by the intern’s university. The intern will be assigned to a full time Assistant District Attorney who will supervise the intern. Although the intern will generally be assigned to a primary prosecutor, from time to time he or she will be assigned to others within the District Attorney’s Office to include other prosecutors, detectives, and for at least one day, personnel from the victim/witness advocacy unit. The primary prosecutor will complete a work performance evaluation at the conclusion of the program. A copy of that evaluation will be provided to the student’s university’s practicum coordinator.

Interns are not to engage in any activity that involves risk of harm, injury or illness. Interns are expected to observe and report only and are not to get physically involved in any arrest or confrontation.

This position is non-paid. The intern must submit to a background check to include a criminal history and driving record. To complete this background check, the intern must provide, at minimum, their full name, current address, date of birth, and social security number. The intern must have a clean criminal history and a valid, current driver’s license. The intern must agree to and sign a confidentiality agreement, provide proof of private medical insurance coverage, and agree to indemnify the office regarding liability.

 

Orientation

During the first week the intern will meet with his or her assigned Assistant District Attorney and be given a tour of the Courthouse and Detective’s center. The intern will meet with the District Attorney, office manager, victim/witness coordinator, Chief County Detective, and each of the prosecutors and unit detectives.

Additional briefings will cover:

  • Job descriptions and current work assignments for each of the Assistant District Attorneys
  • How prosecutors receive work assignments
  • How each case is opened and worked
  • The elements of criminal prosecution, including:
    • Police Criminal Complaint & Affidavit
    • Arrest Warrant
    • Preliminary Arraignment
    • Preliminary Hearing
    • Discovery Process
    • Arraignment
    • Plea agreement or trial
    • Pre-sentencing Hearing
    • Sentencing
  • Tours of the following institutions/departments:
    • Monroe County Public Safety Center (911 and Emergency Management)
    • Monroe County Correctional Facility
    • Stroud Area Regional Police Department Headquarters
    • Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department Headquarters
    • Pocono Township Police Headquarters

 

The Work Week

As previously stated, the intern will be assigned to a primary prosecutor. The intern will work with that prosecutor as an “assistant” participating in: the opening of cases; interviewing victims, witnesses, law enforcement officers, detectives, and others in researching assigned cases; reading and analyzing various discovery material in preparation of case management, including police incident reports, investigation reports, criminal and driver’s histories, medical reports, lab reports, certified criminal and conviction records, expert reports, and others; reviewing and approving search warrants, private criminal complaints, and various felony criminal complaints; arguing and/or negotiating cases in preliminary hearings and pre-trial motions; negotiating plea agreements with attorneys; litigating hearings for arraignment, bail, parole, probation, and sentencing; court trials and conducting jury selection, preparing opening statements, conducting direct and cross examination, and delivering closing statements; doing legal research, writing briefs, and presenting oral arguments in appellate court; preparing legal briefs, correspondence and memoranda, subpoenas pleadings, motions and petitions.

The intern will accompany the prosecutor to preliminary hearings and observe at least one prosecution in which a preliminary hearing is held (meaning the prosecution must present a prima facie case to substantiate the crimes being charged), a preliminary hearing which is waived (meaning the defendant acknowledges the evidence of the prosecution will substantiate the crimes charged and ‘waives’ the charges to the next level of Court), and a preliminary hearing in which a plea agreement is reached. The intern shall also attend a criminal trial, beginning with a case review, jury selection, opening statements, case-in-chief, defense, rebuttal, closing statements, jury charge and jury decision.

At least once during the twelve week program, the intern will work with the Victim/Witness Coordinator. The Victim/Witness Coordinator is charged with assisting crime victims, witnesses and significant others throughout the criminal justice process. They are responsible for insuring that victims and witnesses are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, and provide the services required under the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights as mandated by the State.

This program has been implemented to allow a student in the Criminal Justice field to observe and participate in all facets of a Criminal Investigation and due process through the Criminal Court System. It is the intention of the District Attorney’s Office and the prosecutor assigned to the intern to offer the intern a hands-on experience which will enhance their traditional course of study at their university.