Below is the second post written by Jolley Foundation grant recipient Alexandra Clark ’15 about her summer internship in South Carolina. Her first post can be found here.
This blog post brings the closing of my internship at the City Prosecutor’s Office and my summer in Charleston, South Carolina. Through my reflections as my internship came to a close, I am very content and happy to say I was able to accomplish the goals I had set for myself and experience law in Charleston to the fullest capacity during my summer.
At the halfway point of my internship, I set out to explore more aspects of the law. I had become acquainted with the City Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial system of the municipal courts and wanted to see more. My first step in achieving this goal was a ride-along with the City of Charleston Police Department to see the action behind all of those arrest reports I read everyday to build cases.
I met with an officer at the CPD Headquarters at 5 PM for the “second shift,” which was from 5 in the evening to 3 in the morning. I chose to ride with Team 2, which includes most of the downtown area, which is known as being the center of the action. We rode in the police patrol car, responded to police calls over the CPD dispatch radio and gave traffic tickets. Participating in a ride-along gave me the opportunity to ask the officer questions I had been curious about while in the Prosecutor’s Office. It was a very cool experience and I was happy to be in the front seat of the patrol car (definitely the place I’d rather be).
I was also able to explore the Solicitor’s Office in Charleston, which handles felonies and misdemeanors on the state level. The Solicitor’s Office operates within the jurisdiction of Charleston County, encompassing the cities of Charleston, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and the crime-ridden North Charleston. North Charleston has been ranked as being among the highest crime rate municipalities in the country, so it seems that much of the office’s efforts are dedicated to that area.
First, I visited the Solicitor’s Office on a non-jury trial week to see the normal operations of the office. I was able to sit-in on a meeting between two solicitors who were preparing for a trial the following week. At that point, the evidence had been collected and the witnesses had been contacted and subpoenaed for trial. In the meeting, the solicitors were deciding which witnesses would testify and in what order, and preparing to defend against motions that were being filed by the defense attorney in the case. The charge was Felony DUI with Great Bodily Injury, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The case was brought to trial the next Monday and it was such an exciting process for me to experience. I observed the opening arguments; the witness testimonies, the expert testimonies and the responding officer testimonies; closing arguments; jury deliberation; the jury’s presentation of the verdict; and the sentencing. I was able to spend time with the Victim’s Advocate, who shed light on her side of the court, which involved acting as a support system for the victim and their family by relaying information and addressing their questions and concerns. The defendant was found guilty and given six years in prison, much more than what even the solicitors were expecting due to his lack of a prior criminal record. The process was thrilling and completely reaffirmed my aspirations in law to fulfill my goal of seeking justice for the victimized. As the victim’s advocate put it, I had “caught the bug.”
This summer I was fortunate enough to participate in an internship that completely validated and reignited my motivation to practice law, and gave me a strong aspiration of practicing law in South Carolina. This would not have happened without the generosity of the Jolley Foundation and the guidance of the Davidson College Center for Career Development. For that, I am so grateful.