(Woodland, CA) - July 9, 2018 - On June 22, 2018 the Yolo County District Attorney’s office and the UC Davis Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) co-hosted a “DA for a Day” workshop at the Yolo County District Attorney’s office. The EAOP is a nonprofit organization based at UC Davis that provides resources and support to minority and underrepresented school communities to attain higher education.
Twenty-two highly interested and motivated EAOP students arrived at the District Attorney’s office at 8:30 am packing the District Attorney’s conference room ready to learn about life as a District Attorney. Deputy District Attorney Diane Ortiz started off the day with a presentation on the anatomy of a criminal case. She showed students crime scene photographs and discussed the police investigation so participants could understand the detailed-nature of the job. The most impactful part of the day was the stories and cases of real life victims of crime. The students described it as a “moving experience” in viewing the value of a district attorney’s work from the perspective of their clients/victims of crime.
The program continued during the lunch hour where deputy district attorneys and the teenagers found something they all shared in common – the love of pizza. Together they ate and talked, an experience one student noted, “I feel like I made many useful connections and learned more about a district attorney’s job.”
Next, students “shadowed” the deputy district attorneys on a trip to the courthouse where the students sat through an actual court calendar and gained invaluable exposure to court proceedings. After court ended, Judge Dave Rosenberg took a moment to converse with the group of students answering questions about his experience as a judge and even giving them a special tour of his chambers.
Students finished the day having seen first-hand what it’s like to spend a day as a deputy district attorney. This event was a success for the students, the District Attorney’s office and UC Davis’ EEOP. It also represented a step towards the greater effort to diversify District Attorney Offices across the State. The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office is a part of the “Prosecutor Diversity” initiative, a statewide effort to inspire youth to become prosecutors so that DA’s offices across California reflect the diversity of the community they serve. According to District Attorney Jeff Reisig, “The Yolo DA's Office is committed to providing opportunities for our youth to interact with our prosecutors and staff and experience what it is like to serve justice and help people.” Devoting a special day for Yolo County’s youth to learn about the District Attorney’s Office may spark the interest of these students to become prosecutors. The seed was merely planted and with time we hope to see these same students in full bloom actively participating within their communities inspired by their participation in “DA for a Day.”
Rogelio Villagrana, Director of EAOP, summed up the day’s events, “The students who participated benefited immensely from this unique experience as they were exposed to several facets of the District Attorney’s office. We are looking forward to being partners again next year.”