August 11, 2010
Two La Salle Students Interning with Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice System Via the University’s James A. Finnegan Public Service Fellowship
Two La Salle University sophomores are interning with Philadelphia’s criminal justice system this summer as part of the University's James A. Finnegan Public Service Fellowship, which supports a student’s goal of a successful career in public service.
Terrence McCarrick, who is from Norristown, is interning with Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Wogan. Steven Patton, of Northeast Philadelphia, is interning with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. McCarrick is a political science major with minors in philosophy and economics and has a 3.97 GPA. Patton is a double major in political science and psychology with a minor in philosophy with a 3.67 GPA.
McCarrick says working with Judge Wogan (a La Salle graduate) has given him “the opportunity to see a number of facets of the criminal justice system, from plea hearings, to parole violation hearings, to actual jury trials. “So far, it has confirmed my view of the law as an instrument to significantly touch the lives of others, whether through defense counsel work or prosecution,” he said. In addition, he is doing legal research in helping to craft opinions for appeals courts.
Patton is working with Assistant District Attorney Shea Rhodes in the major trials unit that prosecutes violent crimes that are not homicides. Patton is helping Rhodes with the 70 to 80 cases she has open at any given time. He says his tasks range from copying police reports, to sitting in on interviews with defendants, to reviewing prison tapes to finding additional suspects in conspiracy cases, and even sitting with Rhodes while she tries cases. He previously did an internship with the District Attorney’s Office while a junior in high school, working in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.
When McCarrick and Patton arrived at La Salle, the University’s Political Science department had a moot court program, in which two college students argue before a panel of judges, the way attorneys present cases before the U.S. and State Supreme Courts or the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Both had had experience in high school with mock-trial competitions, in which a court case, complete with witnesses, judges, and evidence, is presented. Along with a third student, John Prendergast, they started a mock trial team and last year won several regional competitions, and nearly made the national finals.
The James A. Finnegan Public Service Fellowship is named after Pennsylvania's former Secretary of the Commonwealth and past president of Philadelphia City Council. The fund established for this program provides fellowships to La Salle students of any major who will have completed at least 60 credit hours of study by the end of the spring semester and are interested in pursuing a career in public service.