Aspiring law student interns for District Attorney
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Along with her fellow fourth-years Thabie Shabalala and Lily Khosravi, fourth-year and political science major Becky Chmura has spent two semesters interning at the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office. Chmura works primarily with Anthony Davis, one of the city’s deputy district attorneys who handles cases of burglary, murder, assault, battery and other violent crimes.
“I read case files, research, prepare binders, search records, watch crime videos, listen to jail calls and learn California penal code,” Chmura explained.
“This is my second semester at the DA's office. I have had such a hands-on experience this semester, and it has greatly shaped my career path,” said Chmura, who intends to pursue a career in criminal justice, and will begin law school in the upcoming fall semester. “I’ve always had an interest in criminal law; this internship has proven to me not only that this is what I want to do but that I can actually do it and enjoy the work involved!”
Chmura’s internship requires a great deal of astuteness, responsibility and meticulousness. “Obviously, I am dealing with real cases, things that happen in Santa Barbara every single day,” Chmura said. “I have been able to conduct research for [Davis] and find enough evidence in the case to see if we can actually charge the defendant with a specific crime. Not only does this entail understanding the case very well, but also being able to apply the information to each prong of the penal code involved.”
Her work at the DA’s office has equipped Chmura with practical skills and valuable experience. “As I leave the internship, I now can say that I have done legal research and understand portions of California penal code,” said Chmura.
Another positive aspect of Chmura’s internship has been her experience with Davis, a Westmont alumnus and mutual attendee of Santa Barbara Community Church. “It has been an honor and privilege to work with [Davis]. We are able to relate very well because we have the same school and church in common, and can often incorporate our faith in the various cases that come across his desk. I am so thankful that in this field of work, that can be full of darkness and sin, we can find strong Christian influences and attorneys.”