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Ryanne Bamieh

Ryanne Bamieh, '18

Above all, persistence

It was a Thursday morning when we got the call. My partner and I had been investigating the case for the past two weeks, and we still didn't have anything useable. Our client was accused of a hit-and-run, just in front of a small apartment building in a Brooklyn neighborhood. We'd been trying to reach the owner of the apartment building for the past two weeks, hoping that we'd be able to obtain video footage of the crash. Our quest had taken us to a hospital in the Bronx, to a corporate building in Manhattan, and on many trips from our office in downtown Brooklyn to the scene of the alleged crime, as we tried to track down the video.

Eventually, someone had passed our phone number to the building super, who had gotten permission from his boss to call us and give us access to the footage. It was only when we got back to our office that we were able to watch the video and confirm exactly what our client told us: that another man had been driving the car.

As an intern at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), I was able to learn about my dream career while also helping to defend our clients—indigent men and women of Brooklyn who had been accused of a variety of crimes. I interviewed witnesses, photographed scenes, and became very familiar with standard video surveillance protocol. Through it all, I learned that the most important quality of an investigator was persistence. It could be endlessly frustrating to follow up promising leads, only to discover that they were dead ends. Yet, the times when our work paid off made all the fruitless calls and long trips around the city worth it.

I know the path to becoming a public defender will be difficult, but if I've learned anything from my time at BDS, it's that I'm persistent, and persistence can carry me along even the most difficult paths.

Ryanne Bamieh, '18 (History), was part of the 2017-18 cohort of the Public Service Honor Society, a leadership program for seniors run by the Haas Center for Public Service. Her experience with Brooklyn Defender Services was through a Cardinal Quarter summer fellowship.
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