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Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 9 years ago

What's it like being a prosecutor in Manhatten, New York?

What is it like? What do you deal with? How do you get to that point or go about getting a job on the SVU unit?

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
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    I worked in the Domestic Violence in Brooklyn, the largest bureau of SVU. There are also bureaus for children, the elderly, and other special victims. Most cases come from the police departments around the county which have their own structure. There is probably a police SVU within the county, but SVU cases usually start with an arrest, not an investigation, so there is much less police-work to be done most of the time. The perpetrator is usually very obvious. The difficulties are unreliable witnesses and alternate explanations of the forensics.

    There are around 40-50 ADAs in SVU. The new ADAs work misdemeanors, crimes with a sentence less than a year. They work 100-120 cases at a time. They interview the victim and witnesses, gather evidence from police, hospitals and other sources and then talk to a supervisor about plea deals then relay the offer to the defense. At each hearing until they are ready for trial, they ask the judge for an order of protection and handle any other business, like turning over evidence. Most of the time, cases plead out before trial.

    The misdemeanor ADAs don't handle their own hearings. They are assigned to handle all the hearings about once a week, sometimes twice. On those days, they review the notes left by the other ADAs and basically read them to the Court. It's a mad scramble because they are responsible for being up on every case and when there is something unusual, they have to talk to the ADA handling it, learn what's going on, and convey it to the Court. Sometimes you argue a case without knowing much about it based on the notes and, if needed, call the ADA on the case to run down and defend it ASAP. On the other days, the ADAs will catch up on all the work involved in their cases and make sure that the proper notes are in the file that's headed to Court for each case that has a hearing pending the next day. Generally, they are overwhelmed and work mostly on the cases that have the closest deadlines.

    The more experienced ADAs handle felonies, more serious crimes like rape and murder. They argue in a different Court with more experienced and judges and many fewer cases. Felony ADAs have around 5 cases. The felony SVU evidence is very graphic. I went along for a meeting with a Forensic Anthropologist once, which I thought was pretty interesting (though nothing like what happens on the show "Bones"), but the photos were rather disturbing. I also spent a day at ballistics. They put on a good show for the interns there.

    The felony ADAs spend a lot more of their time preparing for trials and writing motions as well as investigating than the misdemeanor ADAs do. A very small percentage of misdemeanor ADA cases go to trial. It's a small percentage for felony cases too, but not as small. They also spend a lot more of their time when they are in Court waiting for stuff to happen.

    There are a couple of detectives who work in the office and handle the investigations for the ADAs (mostly the felony ADAs, but they can look up basic info from police databases for misdemeanor ADAs too in the right circumstances, though I had a lot more contact with the detectives in the office when I worked at the Attorney General's office). Most of the cops that come to the office are officers that happened to be on the scene of the crime and you see them during the case, then never again. It's not really a close working relationship between SVU prosecutors and SVU detectives.

    The way you get those jobs is by going to law school and doing well. It helps to intern in the office. It's basically like any other job as a lawyer in terms of how you get in.

    Source(s): I was in Domestic Violence, within SVU in Brooklyn as a law school intern, which is probably pretty similar to Manhattan. I shadowed a felony ADA and a misdemeanor ADA and also watched various other procedures and learned techniques. I also did most of the job of a misdemeanor ADA under the supervision of the one I worked with, including arguing cases and interviewing lots of victims. DV, Elder Abuse, Crimes against Children, and Sex Crimes bureaus make up the Special Victims Unit, if I remember correctly, though the ADAs in those Bureaus don't really work together.
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  • 4 years ago

    sure its great!, eye-catching view. a lot of tall homes and lighting fixtures.. And the pizza is soooo good!, I nvr had pizza everywhere else yet anybody says it style not something like nyc.

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