What is life like for a deputy district attorney on a trial team in Dauphin County?

November 19, 2014-  What is life like for a deputy district attorney on a trial team in Dauphin County?  For the trial team assigned to President Judge Todd A. Hoover’s court room on November 19, 2014, it consists of eight long hours in court handling over 200 criminal court cases.  The Judge Hoover trial team, supervised by Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Rozman, begins the day early.  Before Judge Hoover takes the bench at 9:30 AM, for Rozman, along with Deputy District Attorneys Kristy Sharpe, Meghan McNaughton and Stefanie Flick, the day begins with trudging over 200 files into Court Room Number 8 on the 5th floor of the Dauphin County Courthouse.  Once there, they begin immediately discussing the day’s cases with their four counter-parts in the Dauphin County Public Defender’s Office along with numerous privately retained criminal defense attorneys assembled, standing room only, in the courtroom.  So many cases are scheduled this day that the majority of the defendants wait outside the courtroom in the hallway for their cases to be called.  The deputy district attorneys begin a pile cases,at least a foot high, at the front of the courtroom.  These are the cases they are prepared to call when Judge Hoover enters the courtroom.    

The cases scheduled this day before Judge Hoover range from a high profile guilty plea to sexual molestation charges by a former Susquehanna Township High School vice-principal, to cases involving driving under the influence, welfare fraud, homicide, theft, simple assault, robbery and domestic violence.  One defendant while standing before Judge Hoover considers firing his attorney, while another defendant surprises a deputy district attorney with a hug after his case concludes in court.  Throughout the day, case after case will be called for disposition before Judge Hoover.  On occasion missing files have to be found and more than once a missing attorney needs to be located.  Cases are called for defendants to plead guilty to their crimes before Judge Hoover.  Other defendants request their cases be listed for a jury trial.  Some cases are not ready to be disposed of yet and need to be continued to another day.  All in all, the deputy district attorneys assigned to Judge Hoover’s courtroom interact today with a total of 19 private attorneys, 4 public defenders, 33 prisoners and over 160 other people waiting for their cases to be called in court.  Overall a total of 204 criminal cases will be called in court.

Court finally adjourns at 4:29 PM.  By the time the deputy district attorneys return to the District Attorney’s Office on the second floor with their 204 case files, they are met by other county employees already departing the court house, their work day complete.  For Rozman and his team, the day still is not over, as they have to dispose of the day’s files and begin preparing for the next day’s cases.  And that is one day in the life of a deputy district attorney when you work for the Dauphin County District Attorney.