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Summer Work

Shari Genser '11 works with prosecutors to enforce Megan’s Law, New Jersey’s sex offender registration statute.

As a summer intern for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Shari Genser had an opportunity to respond, on behalf of the State, to motions from registered sex offenders requesting permission to terminate their obligation to register. Since the law allows sex offenders to request termination 15 years after first becoming registered and Megan’s Law was created in 1994, these were the very first motions filed to reach the courts. Here is what she had to say about her experience:

“I was an extern with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office this summer.  The office placed me with the Megan's Law Unit, which works exclusively with the NJ Sex Offender Registry.  Basically, the office is responsible for “tiering” new registrants, or classifying them into levels of danger to the community.  I reviewed new case files and filled out the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale for the attorneys in preparation for their tier classifications.  Additionally, the office prosecutes registrants for violations of probation, including failure to verify address with the police or other case-specific probationary restrictions.

An exciting highlight of my summer was dealing with the statutory provision [NJSA 2C:7-2(f)] that allows registrants to make motion to the court requesting permission to terminate their obligation to register as sex offenders.  This statutory provision allows the motion to be made after 15 years of registration, and as the Megan's Law statute was passed in late 1994, these motions were coming to the Court for the first time this summer!  I was assigned two over the summer, which finally went to oral arguments at the very beginning of this semester.  I am still awaiting a written opinion from the judge, but I drafted the State's response motion papers for both and presented the oral argument for one of the motions on August 24, 2010 before the Honorable Peter Ryan.  The office recently assigned me another one of these motions which I will work on this semester.

I chose to work in the Prosecutor's Office because I have an interest in pursuing a career in criminal law, specifically prosecutorial work.  The connections I made with attorneys in the office this summer will be useful to me in the future as I apply for clerkships and eventually for a position in the Office.  I will remain as an intern with the Office this semester, as it has been an extremely supportive working environment for me.  I have formed great mentor relationships with all of my supervising attorneys.

Another great part of the internship was that the Office rotated all 3Ls through one-week assignments to Drug Court and the Central Judicial Processing Unit.  Those weeks were spent shadowing a prosecutor in her daily work, and I was allowed to speak on the record in both instances.  I presented a bail argument in CJP and a violation of probation in Drug Court.  Also, I wrote an appellate brief for the State in response to a juvenile's appeal of an adjudication of delinquency.  The internship provided me with insights into many areas of prosecutorial work, as we had a weekly lecture series where we met the head attorneys from each unit.  All in all, it was a great experience!”