Really? Good thing you made the right choice.
Lawyers get to subpoena people, so it’s a little different.
(Despite her early interests, she began her career as an academic in political science. But she was not happy and enrolled at Columbia Law School.)
From the first day of law school, I loved it. From the first day, I had this sense of, this is what it feels like to be in the right spot for you. And that experience has been very helpful to me, particularly as I became a supervisor, to realize that sometimes when people are struggling, it’s because they’re not in the right spot for them. That’s been a very powerful lesson that’s really stayed with me. Part of your task as an adult professionally is to try to get yourself in the right spot for you so that you can be successful.
What makes D.O.I. commissioner the right spot for you?
It is a great combination for me of two perennial interests that I would, I guess, shorthand as “girl detective.” On the one hand, I love investigating. One of the best parts of being a prosecutor is investigating cases. As a kid and as an adult, too, I’ve always loved detective stories, mysteries, puzzles; it’s just how my mind works. So that piece, girl detective, makes the work of D.O.I. so interesting to me.
And the other side is just a lifelong interest in government and how government works, and urban planning. Not from the landscape, architecture, design perspective, but how does a city work? How do you make a city work better? How does government interact with the people whom it serves? Those kinds of questions are also of endless interest and fascination to me.
You spent many years putting people in prison, but you also had some cases in which you got people out. We’re curious about what that meant to you as a prosecutor.
Obviously, in the moment, when we became convinced that, in fact, we knew who had killed Baithe Diop and it was not any of the people who were currently in jail, we had this really single-minded focus of, “We’ve got to do whatever we can to get these people out of jail.”