May Final Friday's Webinar: A Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose: Brady v. Maryland
4/30/13Please join us for May’s Final Friday’s webinar, A Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose: Brady v. Maryland, to be held on Friday, May 31st from 3:00-4:00pm (EDT). This month’s webinar kicks off a special two-part APA webinar series on Brady issues and will feature a presentation and discussion by Michelle Waymire of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, a regular ethics presenter at APA’s national training conferences, and Robert Hood, APA’s Director of the Community Prosecution & Violent Crime Division.
Michelle and Robert will review and discuss Brady and its progeny, why these cases are important to prosecutors, and the issues and trends in recent cases. A follow up webinar later this summer will cover Brady lists and disclosure protocols, and the liability risks prosecutors face for failing to develop such policies. This training is open to all prosecutors, law enforcement, court personnel and other allied criminal justice partners.
APA is seeking one hour of “ethics” eligible CLE certification from the State of Virginia for each of these webinars. Please join us for this important and thought-provoking presentation. If you would like to download a flyer click here. **Please click HERE to register**
U.S. Firearm Homicides on the Decline
4/29/13The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released encouraging data this week showing that firearm related homicides declined 39 percent from 1993 to 2011 and that non-fatal firearm crimes declined by 69 percent.
Prosecuting attorneys throughout the nation are encouraged by the report findings as they work alongside state, local and national law enforcement partners to reduce gun violence and create safer communities.
"Prosecutors are committed to reducing the level of gun violence in the communities in which we serve, and while these latest statistics are positive step in that direction, there is still a great deal of work ahead," said David LaBahn, President of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. "Law enforcement will continue to do our part to develop and implement innovative programs to further reduce gun violence."
Findings of the BJS report include:
Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011
Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011
Firearm violence accounted for about 70% of all homicides and less than 10% of all nonfatal violent crime from 1993 to 2011
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys is working with non-profit organizations and with fellow law enforcement officials to develop violence reduction and prevention policies and programs to keep our communities safe.
Bill requires new ethics training for prosecutors
5/24/13AUSTIN — A bill to require Texas prosecutors to undergo training to ensure evidence is not withheld in most felony and misdemeanor criminal cases is on its way to Gov. Rick Perry's desk. House Bill 1847 would require that one of the three hours of ethics training that Texas lawyers must undergo each year be related to the requirements to disclose exculpatory and mitigating evidence in all but Class C misdemeanor cases. Newly-hired lawyers would be required to receive the training within the first six months of employment, the proposal states. Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed said that while she has been providing the training to her staff for years, she was inspired to push for a statewide requirement by the highly-publicized case of Michael Morton, who was wrongly convicted in Williamson County for the 1986 slaying of his wife, Christine Morton. Morton's case was taken up by the Innocence Project in New York, and he was cleared by DNA testing. He was formally acquitted in 2011.
Miami-Dade public defender allowed to pull out of cases because of workload
5/24/13Describing what it called a "damning indictment" of representation for poor criminal defendants, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Miami-Dade County public defender’s office could withdraw from a large chunk of felony cases because of excessive workloads. This decision lifts the spirits of attorneys everywhere who, due to crippling caseloads, have been confronted with the difficult decision of picking and choosing which client gets legally competent and diligent representation and which do not, Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez said. “The Court left no doubt that it is the judiciary's role to safeguard individual liberty and equal justice under law, and to ensure that our courtrooms do not become factories of injustice and inequity.” The court divided 5-2 on the issue, with Justice Peggy Quince writing a majority opinion that said attorneys who represent defendants in third-degree felonies often have as many as 50 cases set for trial in a week. "Clients who are not in custody are essentially unrepresented for long periods between arraignment and trial,’’ wrote Quince, who was joined in the majority by justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Jorge Labarga and James E.C. Perry. "Attorneys are routinely unable to interview clients, conduct investigations, take depositions, prepare mitigation, or counsel clients about pleas offered at arraignment. Instead, the office engages in ’triage’ with the clients who are in custody or who face the most serious charges getting priority to the detriment of the other clients."
The Miami Herald"
New jury to decide Jodi Arias' fate after penalty phase mistrial
5/24/13An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial Thursday after a deadlocked jury said it couldn't decide whether to sentence her to death for the murder of her ex-boyfriend. That means a new jury will be chosen, but the first-degree murder conviction still stands. A retrial for the penalty phase will begin on July 18, Judge Sherry Stephens said. A status conference has been scheduled for June 20. Since Tuesday, jurors had been deliberating whether Arias, 32, should get a death sentence for murdering ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008. A source with knowledge of the jury's vote said there was an 8-4 split in favor of sentencing Arias to death. Jurors refused to talk to the media and immediately left the courtroom. The hung jury brought to a close a dramatic chapter in a high-profile case that has lasted for months, drawing spectators who lined up for courtroom seats and waited anxiously outside the courthouse. But the closely watched trial isn't over yet. In many states, the death penalty would be off the table if the jury couldn't agree.[More]
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