Before December 2008, Moffat County resident Jamie Jones rarely found herself in a courtroom. Now, with several weeks' experience behind her, she's in there a few times a week.
Jones, 28, is the victim/witness coordinator for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Moffat County.
The position entails working as an advocate between victims, witnesses and the court, keeping victims and witnesses informed of case developments and sending out subpoenas.
Her job usually takes her into court a few times a week to accompany victims and witnesses.
And, when time allows, she pops into court on her own to observe.
"On days when I don't have (a hearing) going on, I'll sometimes go in to just watch and listen," Jones said. "I really enjoy learning new stuff about the legal system."
The District Attorney's Office has employed a victim/witness coordinator since the mid-1980s, a move that coincided with the passing of the Victims Rights Act.
It is currently a part-time position in Moffat County - Jones works 28 hours a week, full time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and until noon Thursday.
A stay-at-home mom before her hiring with the District Attorney's Office, Jones said working with people inside the justice system appealed to her. She didn't think she'd be offered the job and was excited when she was.
"I thought it sounded really interesting," Jones said, "and I like to help people."
She handles 10 to 20 files a day entailing anything from car accidents to sexual assaults and domestic violence.
Jones tries to use a simple philosophy, or a golden rule of sorts, when dealing with a crime victim.
"The way I think of it, I treat everybody how I would want to be treated," she said.
It's also important to "learn to leave work at work."
"Some days," she said, "it's a very difficult thing to do."
Elizabeth Oldham, who was sworn in as 14th Judicial District Attorney on Wednesday in Grand County, interviewed Jones in November, along with Bonnie Roesink, who was District Attorney at the time.
Oldham said she and Roesink walked away from the meeting convinced Jones had the qualities they were looking for in the victim/witness coordinator.
"We were looking for someone really good with paperwork, but at the same time : someone who was empathetic and compassionate," Oldham said.
That's what they've gotten so far out of Jones, she added.
"We're just really happy with her," the first-year District Attorney said. "She's jumped right in and done a great job."
If the job likes Jones, the feelings are mutual.
"Now that I'm here," she said, "I love it."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or firstname.lastname@example.org.