The Justice Wire
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The Justice Wire

Profiles in Justice: Paralegals Brooke-Lynn Johnson and Emily Nash

Municipal Court (MC) Unit paralegals Brooke-Lynn Johnson and Emily Nash are among dozens of DAO staffers volunteering to keep coming into the office during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep essential functions of the criminal legal system operational. They are among a team of ADAs, paralegals, and support staff who are reviewing motions as part of a collaborative effort with the First Judicial District, Defender Association of Philadelphia, and others to help alleviate crowding in jails and prevent further coronavirus outbreaks.

“It’s definitely been frightening leaving home to come into the office during this time, but I understand the importance of the work that we are doing,” Brooke-Lynn says. “This work often happens in the background, but now that the courts are closed we need to stay on top of the work because we can’t fall behind and need to be ready for proceedings to begin again.”

Both paralegals have been pulling FBI extracts and compiling relevant evidence for the office’s attorneys and the judges overseeing Early Bail Review. “These last few weeks, since the office went partially remote, have given me the opportunity to learn new things. I’ve gotten to meet other paralegals from different departments and to see the different type of work each of us does on a day-to-day basis,” Emily adds. “Although this new work lifestyle has been tough adjusting to — we’re keeping socially distant and protecting ourselves — it has allowed us to get to know the office and each other a lot better.”

The MC Unit prosecutes most of the office’s misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings in the Criminal Division of Municipal Court. Since the City of Philadelphia issued its stay at home order and a statewide judicial emergency shutdown was declared, DAO employees have continued to work both in the office and remotely in order to ensure the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office continues to seek justice and support public safety.

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Philadelphia DAO

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is committed to seeking fair and equal justice for 1.5 million residents, while upholding Constitutional rights.

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