Order in the Court

Neda Semsarieh '18 (Photo provided)

June 26, 2017

By Matt Hawkins

Bradley psychology major Neda Semsarieh ’18 is spending her summer in court — not for wrongdoing, but preparing for a career in criminal justice. As an intern for the Cook County (Ill.) State’s Attorney, the Elk Grove Village native is learning how the justice system functions.

Semsarieh observes proceedings and assists legal staff as she eyes a future as a criminal prosecutor. When she isn’t watching courtroom activities, she’s working with attorneys, reading case files and looking at trial evidence. She also is building relationships with judges, lawyers, detectives, private investigators and officers — all people who will be part of her future.

“It’s a unique hands-on experience,” she said. “I’ve gained a more-educated perspective on all the work that goes into cases and everything the legal system entails. It’s great meeting people and seeing things that will be part of my future.”

Semsarieh discovered Cook County’s Third Municipal District isn’t as glamorous as crime shows make busy courts appear. Instead of jury trials with concrete resolutions, judges or legal negotiations decide most cases through a series of court appearances.

She also realized how complicated cases could be when outcomes affect wide circles of families, friends or business staff.

“Leaders in the justice system make decisions that aren’t very black-and-white,” she said. “There are numerous factors to consider when determining potential charges, a trial verdict or sentencing. That makes it more difficult than I expected for all involved.”

The summer has confirmed Semsarieh’s desire to become a criminal prosecutor. Her psychology degree will be a benefit as she works through tough questions in courtrooms.

“I’m passionate about advocating for victims and the community,” she said. “With my background, I’ll be able to understand behavior, cognitive processes, personalities and mental illnesses I encounter.”