Pathways to Success

Garden Spot High School

Tristin Farr – Criminal Justice Internship

I’m Tristin, and I am currently interning at the New Holland Magisterial District Court. I work alongside the court staff as well as the Honorable Judge Heisse as I help them carry out daily tasks in the office. This internship has provided me with some incredible privileges and experiences, many of which have helped to change and shape my career goals. I’ve had the opportunity to venture out to places, observe situations, and speak to people that I never imagined having the ability to. My time at the court has been something incredibly special to me.

I have a pretty diverse catalog of responsibilities that vary on the day based on what the rest of the staff is doing. What I find myself doing most frequently is filing. We must track the tens of thousands of cases, both opened and closed and stored within the office.  The cases are sorted into cabinets labeled with the years and docket numbers of the cases contained within. My job is typically to sort case files into these cabinets as the staff usually must remove the files from the cabinet so that Judge has access to the case details when he has a hearing, trial, or arraignment pertaining to the case. Another task that I partake in almost daily is observing the different hearings, arraignments, and trials that occur in the courtroom. The cases could be criminal, civil, landlord-tenant, traffic, and non-traffic. I recently had the privilege of accompanying Judge Heisse to the Lancaster County Court for DUI court where I observed a large volume of DUI cases. This internship experience has certainly improved my observation skills and taught me to stay on my toes because I never know what I’ll be seeing or doing in the court.

Prior to starting my internship at the court, I had a vague idea as to what I wanted to do following my graduation from Garden Spot, but this opportunity has definitely played a large part in defining exactly what it is that I want to do. Much of this is due in part to interactions I’ve observed in the “behind the scenes” things that occur at the court. The interactions between Judge Heisse, all of the police departments in our jurisdiction (East Earl, West Earl, New Holland), people from the District Attorney’s office, defense attorneys both public and private, plaintiffs, and defendants have given me an excellent window into how the court functions, and this internship has given me the opportunity to speak to many of these individuals to get a better sense of what happens. I lot of what I wanted to do previously had to do with politics and public policy, but now it is much more closely associated in law. Fortunately, with pursuing a law degree you get the best of both worlds! I am excited to say that I will be attending Syracuse University in the fall with a major in Political Science, and I plan to attend law school following this. The court has contributed immensely to the career goal that I have now.

The internship opportunity that I have been given has allowed me to make a lot of strides in my life. It has allowed me to make connections with people in the criminal justice system and has allowed me to look at the system under a microscope. I have had the great privilege of spending time with all of the court staff and Judge Heisse, and I have had the pleasure of learning from all of them. The court has become a special place to me where I feel a valuable sense of community. I am eternally grateful for the New Holland District Court and the experience it has provided me with.


jhackman • May 15, 2023

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