Thursday, April 17, 2008

Victim Witness' Amy Smith's Q&A Session

Amy Smith of the D.A.'s Office's Victim Witness Division graciously agreed to be the first subject of our Question and Answer Session on the blog (thanks Amy!). We are going to miss you around the CJC.
(NOTE: Please remember if you have any suggestions for who you want interviewed to let me know. Remember, this can end up like voir dire real fast, and only the quiet ones end up on the jury.)

On to the questions!

1. Where are you from originally? Houston

2. How does one get involved in the Victim's Advocacy business? 1st you have to have a compassionate nature and want to help people and be willingly to do it for low pay and a lot of headaches and heartaches. 2nd For this office you need to have a degree in criminal justice, sociology, psychology or social work.

3. What's the most well-known case you've ever worked on? I can't single out a particular case because each case is well known to the victim or their family members so that makes each case special to me and those that I am working with.

4. What was your best moment working in Victim Witness? There was a woman I worked with about 12 years ago that was a victim of several family violence cases and seeing her blossom from a meek, mild and traumatize person into an incredible survivor. She still calls me about once a year and we catch up and it's amazing all she has accomplished.

5. What was your worst? Dealing with the death of Di Glaeser and Diana Maldonado's stroke. It's hard to lose friends and good people.

6. The best thing about dealing with prosecutors on a daily basis is . . . when they have that "aha" moment that victims really do have rights and they start treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

7. The worst thing about dealing with prosecutors on a daily basis is . . . talking to the victim that is upset because they have not gotten a return call from the prosecutor

8. I'm most proud of . . . my co-workers in Victim Witness that do an awesome job on a daily basis dealing with all kinds of people, in all kinds of stages of trauma and handling them with grace.

9. The last vacation I took was to . . . I went on a cruise with my family

10. My favorite prosecutor is . . . I'm not touching that question! I would get into too much trouble by too many people for not naming them!

11. My favorite defense attorney is . . .See above

12. The best lawyer I've ever seen in action is . . . Kelly Siegler, her passion for her job, her cases and for the victims in her cases is beyond anything I have ever seen.

13. I've been working helping victims of crime since . . . I graduated from college. My first job was counseling sexual assault victims for a year and then I moved over to the DA's office. So for 20 years I've been in the victim field.

14. If I weren't working in the criminal field, I would like to be . . .A Senator they seemed to have a cool job!

15. The best restaurant Downtown is . . .Hmmm..... depends on the menu item.

16. In my spare time, I like to . . . Hang out with my dog, Maisie

17. The thing I will miss most about the D.A.'s Office is . . . the good hard working, dedicated people

18. The thing I will miss least about the D.A.'s office is . . . the elevators in the CJC!

Thanks again for participating, Amy!


batgirl said...

Amy, thank you for all the work you have done for the victims of crime during your career at the HC DAs Office. I know you will continue to fight for victims at your new job. We appreciate you and we will miss you at the DAs Office.

anonymous c said...

I second BatGirl's praise and gratitude!

Thank you so much, Amy, for the information and for all that you've done.

Anonymous said...

Good answers, Amy!! We will miss you, but I know you and Maisie will ALWAYS be my friends! :)
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

damn chuck. If he hadn't have left this place such a mess, Amy might still be here. look at the great person we are losing in this craziness!

on another Q&A note, any word on what happened with Bradford's not so secret Q&A meeting last night?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to take your green vest.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

A question I might have added for someone in that division, and perhaps you could pass it on to Amy for a response: What does she think about the rash of victim mis-identifications discovered recently through DNA testing, and as a followup, what does she think of proposals for double-blind sequential photo lineups proposed to prevent that from happening? Has she ever known a victim to misidentify an innocent person who was cleared later through investigation? That seems to be the source of many of the DNA exonerations. Thanks!

Murray Newman said...

I'm not sure that Amy would be the right person to be asking the question about the "rash". Victim Witness serves primarily as a liason to help victims navigate their way through the System. They aren't the ones who actually interview the witnesses in preparation for trial. That would be the prosecutors.