John ‘Jack’ Marsh ’17 is from Princeton, New Jersey. He has a strong interest in criminal justice, and has volunteered with the Petey Greene Program as a tutor, Centurion as a Caseworker, and most recently, Incarcerated Voices as a Writing Editor. At Princeton, he majored in Philosophy with a focus on normative ethics. For the 2017-18 year, he gained exposure to the public sector as a Project 55 Fellow at the New York District Attorney’s Office.
Working in the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been an incredible experience. The cases we handle are complex, high-profile, and overwhelmingly exciting to be a part of. As a bureau in the Investigations Division, each of our cases requires a long, careful and deliberate investigation before going to trial. The inferences to be drawn from some facts presented to us in a case (which often influence the course of an investigation) are inherently ambiguous; other corroborative facts must be discovered before we can even begin to think of the original facts as evidence of a crime. The varying nature of the cases, the ambiguity of some inferences and the many twists and turns that an investigation can take make this job particularly exciting.
What also makes this job exceptional is the uniquely substantive role that is granted to paralegals in our bureau and across the DA’s office more generally. The function of each paralegal varies in many ways depending on the case that he or she is assigned to, but it is not limited to administrative work. Rather, we are valued members of the investigative team, facilitating the process of discovery and corroboration, participating in witness interviews, and supporting the Assistant District Attorneys in a number of ways that go above and beyond what a traditional paralegal role entails.
Only those cases in which the evidence can be developed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt ever go to trial: the paralegals and ADAs investigate and pursue each case with the highest level of integrity and respect for the legal process and every defendant. The process of investigating, the degree of responsibility granted to paralegals, and the moral standard applied to each case, all of which characterize the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, make for an experience that is both intellectually and ethically rewarding, leaving me extremely excited for the year ahead.