For how many years did you work as a prosecutor in Virginia and what experiences did you have prior to that?
Karin Riley Porter: I was a prosecutor for over nine years and that was in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to that, I was a law clerk for a judge.
What was your experience like as a prosecutor?
Karin Riley Porter: It was a great job. It gave me great exposure to becoming a good trial attorney and a good understanding of Virginia criminal law. All I focused on was the criminal aspect of it. I was exposed to training at the expense of the Commonwealth in forensic evidence, DNA, sexual assault examinations, fingerprint analysis, and other types of evidence collection. If you were in private practice, you would have to pay for that. I was able to use that type of training in court. That was invaluable. Being in court every day and having to deal with different types of witnesses and different types of challenges and issues that come up in each case was a great experience. As each year passed, my cases would become more challenging. It was a wonderful opportunity and I did enjoy it.
How have the relationships that you developed as a former prosecutor impacted your ability to handle criminal cases?
Karin Riley Porter: In general, some of the prosecutors that I still work with know me because of what I used to do. I think they recognize my reputation, my integrity, and my abilities. I used to do their job, so they understand that I know what they have to do. There is a mutual respect. Of course, I’m just speculating. I haven’t asked these people that, but I can assume that that would be something that is valuable. They know that I have been there, done that.
Since your husband is the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney of Alexandria, what is it like for you guys at the dinner table?
Karin Riley Porter: We definitely have some interesting discussions when we speak hypothetically about cases. He really sees the difference in my perspective on cases. He is great at his job and he takes it very seriously, but his perspective is different than mine because of what he does. His job is to protect the entire community. My job is to protect the interest of each individual client. Sometimes he proposes defenses to certain charges that he would have a different perspective on. He is also more skeptical about things that I might bring up and the defenses I might raise because he hasn’t been on the other side. I tell him that my perspective is more even and objective than his because he has never been in my shoes. He hasn’t had the opportunity to deal with clients and hear their side of the story. He just hasn’t had that. In my opinion, my perspective is more objective than his. Sometimes we go back and forth. It’s always in good fun and it’s actually really great that we both have the same interest in criminal law.