Proximate Justice Is the Only Justice We Have in this Age

| November 25, 2014

“We pulled up to his house and called his cell phone to let him know that we had arrived,” the eyewitness testified under oath. “As Trey came down the steps of his front porch, his wife waived goodbye to him. There were three of us in the van already—the defendant was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and the shooter was on the seat bench right behind us. When Trey opened the sliding door and saw the blue tarp draped over the seat bench, he joked, ‘Who’s the body bag for?’ We all laughed, but uncomfortably. For we knew what he did not—that it was for him. Then he shut the door.”

I heard this testimony while sitting in federal trial court as an extern at Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). Fascinated by the rule of law and the human condition, I had already taken every course on constitutional criminal law that Columbia offered—evidence, criminal investigations, and criminal adjudication. To me, this competitive externship at the EDNY was the culmination of my learning experience, taking what I studied in my casebooks and putting it into practice in real litigation. When…

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