Week 9 - Wrapping up and a Family visit

      This was Bryony’s last week here at NCSC so it was filled with us wrapping up many of our joint projects. We officially closed the door on the Bahamas Bench Book, put the finishing touches on some executive summaries created for reports in Uganda, and completed some outstanding research still on our agenda. After these projects were finished, I began to research and write the beginning of a new technical proposal on sexual assault in the Eastern Caribbean. It is a very short document so it will not take long to complete but I always jump at an opportunity to learn more about a region of the world. I also continued to work on a legal memo about asset forfeiture in the United States and how this practice affects innocent family members. I have really enjoyed this project and I am excited that it is finally coming to a close. One of the most rewarding experiences for any major project is being able to step back and look at the finished project to see a reflection of all of the hard work that went into the final piece.

      I also received another new project this week involving a new criminal observatory to be developed in Morocco. The decree outlining the new observatory has already been laid out, but in order for this plan to become reality, we need to know more intricate details such as financial resources required, human resources, required, and any additional regulations or legislation needed to carry out the overall vision. I started going through the articles of the decree line by line and pointing out where these additional resources or actions are needed. When I am finished, I will have created an outline that can be followed like a blueprint to successfully plan the implementation of the observatory. While this is a fairly short project, it gives me very good experience in the planning and implementation phases of new rule of law projects.

      In addition to these projects, Bryony and I also went to the D.C. District Court to observe a double homicide case involving two Mexican drug cartel members. The trial was wrapping up so the lawyers were mainly dealing with more procedural issues such as jury instructions but it was still fascinating nonetheless. Although my career interests do not involve becoming a trial lawyer, I still find the trial process very interesting. It can be fun to hear the arguments made by the lawyers and tie those arguments back to what I learned in criminal law or in evidence. It also solidifies my respect for those lawyers who are going to be public defenders or prosecutors. While that type of work is not my cup of tea, it is incredibly important and it is always a treat to watch someone who has turned their passion for the law into an art form.

      Finally, my mom and brother came into DC on Thursday to visit with me. I played tour guide over the next four days while we visited all of the monuments, Arlington National Cemetery, several museums, and Great Falls National Park. It is always great to see my family as it is hard for me to make it home to Indiana on a regular basis. After they left on Sunday I started to prepare for my last week at NCSC where I would try to wrap up all of my various projects with staff members across the office.