RESOURCES : CAREERS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

CAREER PROFILES
(Profiles are selected transcripts of video interviews from the Careers In Criminal Justice CD-ROM)

Anne Bouliane - Judge, Superior Court of San Francisco, Criminal Division

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

In order to be a judge, you first have to be a lawyer in good standing and you have to have practiced for ten years. Then you're either appointed by thegover or you can run for political office and be elected.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

In the morning before a trial starts, I'll hand five to ten, maybe more, short matters. It can be anywhere from bail motions, pretrial matters, to some more complex legal motions. And then about 10:00, I begin my jury trial. My responsibilities include managing the trial, the evidence, the witnesses, selecting a jury. Part of it also involves working with the jurors, making sure they know their responsibilities and the importance of their rule because they're really the judges. They're judging the evidence. I try to make sure that they feel comfortable so that they can do what they do need to.

What skills are most important for your job?

Everyone likes to talk about legal management knowledge and time management skills. But I think that for a trial judge, what's most important is interpersonal skills, to like people, liking to be around people.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

For someone who wants to be a judge, I think it's important as an attorney to be very involved in the community and community activities; to be involved in legal activities and bar organizations; to be someone that people trust and have confidence in; and I think political involvement is very important.


Gordon Aiavao - Court Reporter, Superior Court of San Francisco

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

I attended a court reporting college, which took four years. That included two years of English, two years of legal terminology and legal procedures, two years of medical terminology and anatomy. After graduating, I took a state exam, and after passing, I was granted a license to practice as a court reporter in the state of California.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

Some primary job responsibilities of a court report are to maintain clear, accurate, and verbatim record of all court proceedings. A court reporter is also in charge of the official record. The court reporter will dictate transcripts to both counsel and the court, and also provides transcripts to the public for cost. The court reporter also works as a liaison to the judge and as an assistant to the judge.

What skills are most important for your job?

It helps to have a very good understanding of the English language and some background in legal and medical terminology, as well as applying the machine practice that the court reporter learns in court reporting school and apply that to the machine when taking down all court proceedings.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

Find a very good court reporting college that as a strong foundation in machine theory. Also do as many internships as possible so that you can a very good understanding of what a court reporter does in the field.


Sergeant Darlene R. Gordon - Correctional Officer, California Department of Corrections

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

I began as a correctional office in 1990. I had a two-year degree at that time. After I got into the Department of Corrections, I continued my education. I now almost have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

My job is to approve visitors to come into the institution to visit the inmates who are housed here. Once we get them into the institution, we are responsible for their security as well as the security of the inmates.

What skills are most important for your job?

People skills. You have to be able to communicate with people. We have people from all walks of life and you have to be able to communicate with them.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

Get as much education in the correction field or criminal justice as you can. I would tour a prison before you actually get into it. And become physically fit or work toward becoming physically fit because this can be a very physically challenging job.


Ana Ramirez-Palmer - Warden, California Medical Facility

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

All wardens in the California system are governor appointees. To get to the point where a governor will appoint you, you have to have shown some abilities in other settings. So I have worked both in a prison as well as in headquarters, working on a variety of different programs all related to the prison mission. And I worked my way up.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

Being a warden of a prison is very much like being a city manager. We have 3400 permanent residents and about 1600 "commuters" come in everyday, twenty-four hours a day. Therefore I have all of the same concerns as any city manager would have. we have our own licensed hospital, our own school system, working and school opportunities. Basically everything that goes on inside a little city goes on here.

What skills are most important for your job?

To be a good warden, you must truly understand how government is organized. You have to understand your role in the criminal justice system. And you also have to understand how money is allocated to different state agencies because the biggest part of this job is running the operation within a limited budget.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

Get a good understanding of public administration because this is a public service agency, this is a law enforcement agency. So a degree in public administration would be well-suited to the position of warden.


Tony Bell - Parole Officer, Fresno Parole Unit

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

I attended Sacramento State University and then I went through the mandated academies. With completion of those and successfully testing, I made the transition into parole agent.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

A parole officer's responsibilities are to assist parolees in making a positive reintegration back into the community while ensuring the safety and security of the community. we assist them in getting back into school, obtaining their GEDs. We also work very closely with law enforcement. If a parolee has been identified as an offender on a new crime that shows that he has broken the rules and regulations of his parole as established by the Department of Corrections, we work hand-in-hand with law enforcement too apprehend that person and put then back into custody.

What skills are most important for your job?

The most important skills are case management skills, great community skills, and the ability to liaison with other law enforcement agencies. the ability to understand the mission of parole: to assist parolees with socially-acceptable reintegration back into the community.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

To be a parole officer, you must have a great command of the English language, and your communication skills must be well-developed. You have to care about people and have a genuine love for the well-being of people.


Marty Dito - Inspector, San Francisco Police Department

What is your background and/or degree that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

I had been a police officer for about eighteen, almost nineteen years. I gained the rank of inspector after passing a promotional exam. The inspector's exam tested how we would investigate different types of crimes, what types of investigative techniques we would use, and if we would respond accordingly to certain situations.

Describe your standard job responsibilities?

I am currently in the fraud division of the police department. We investigate forgeries, check frauds, credit card frauds, identity theft, financial elder abuse, and certain types of pickpocket crimes.

What skills are most important for your job?

Because there are so many types of people that we have to deal, both victims and suspects, you have to have a good sense of how to approach them. You have to let victims and witnesses know you care about their situations. With suspects, you have to be able to gain their confidence. Therefore, communication is very important.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

It is important not to close your mind. Keep your mind open to different things.


Gary Lorin, Police Officer - SFPD

What background and/or degree do you have that qualify you for your current position? What were the job requirements?

I have a BA in Economics from UC Santa Barbara. But the requirements to become a police officer are high school diploma with some college credit courses.

Describe your standard job responsibilities.

Answer all domestic violence calls, people sleeping in doorways, people with guns. We answer for the citizens, we work for them.

What skills are most important for your job?

To be patient, to have good listening skills, reasoning skills, be able to decipher who's telling the truth and who's not, and to have control in a situation.

What advice would you give to job-seekers looking for employment in your area of expertise?

Get as much education as you possibly can. And don't rush into this job. Make sure that this is what you want to do. I don't recommend that officers come into the field too early in life. It's important to gain some life experiences, like travel, first. Because this job changes you.