“Points To Consider: Constitutional Discovery – Responsibilities of a Prosecutor,” a DVD-based training, is the first in an ongoing series for Tennessee’s District Attorneys and their staff members.
“District Attorneys’ offices differ in the training provided, and dealing with new issues often falls to senior prosecutors as needs arise,” said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich. “For example, the handling of digital evidence is a new and evolving issue. Knowing that the Justice and Professionalism Committee will explore this issue allows me to keep my team focused on our cases without the risk of falling behind on key trends.”
Created in 2013, the committee focuses on identifying best practices and training opportunities for Tennessee’s District Attorneys, Assistant District Attorneys and staff members to ensure legal and ethical compliance. The committee will review emerging issues such as advances in DNA, forensic science and digital evidence in cases involving children, the elderly, and victims of sex crimes, human trafficking and domestic violence.
Gen. Weirich said Shelby County Asst. Dist. Atty. Steve Jones is serving on the committee and discusses constitutional discovery issues on the first DVD training release. Jones is training director and a special assistant for legislative affairs for Gen. Weirich.
“Many dedicated prosecutors from across the state have contributed their time, experience and expertise in this effort,” said Committee Chairman Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General for the 25th Judicial District. “Maintaining high prosecutorial standards is an area that deserves a full-time committee with dedicated staff resources. This committee allows prosecutors to take the lead in improving the criminal justice system, protecting public safety and safeguarding the rights of the accused. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and Tennessee’s District Attorneys have acted.”
Tennessee is one of the first states in the nation to formalize such an effort, and in 2014 the group received a Best Practices Grant from the New York Prosecutors Training Institute.
In March of this year, committee leaders were invited to present their work-to-date alongside prosecutors from 14 other states, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office at the Department of Justice Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
For more information about the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, visit www.tndagc.org.