Kevin M. Duddy
Director of Trial Advocacy
Jennifer L. Naiburg
Deputy Director of Trial Advocacy
The Trial Advocacy Office is responsible for all tiered training of assistant district attorneys as well as the continuing legal education of the office’s professional staff. The Queens County District Attorney’s Office is an accredited provider of continuing legal education under the rules and regulations of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board. As such, the office sponsors annual legal conferences on specific areas of criminal law and provides more continuing legal education program hours than any other prosecutor’s office in New York State. The Trial Advocacy Office also assists the New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute in developing and implementing state wide prosecutor training.
The District Attorney is committed to developing the highest level of skill and professionalism among his staff of over three hundred prosecutors. To this end, the Trial Advocacy Office has a full time staff devoted to creating and implementing training programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of assistant district attorneys at various stages of their professional development.
The Office hires new prosecutors in two “classes” each year; one in September and one in April. The classes consist of both admitted attorneys and recent law school graduates who have demonstrated an interest in a career in criminal prosecution. These classes of recruits are initially assigned on a full time basis to the Trial Advocacy Office for a period of approximately four weeks. During this time they undergo an intensive academic and practical introduction to the criminal justice system. A battery of lectures and interactive training sessions are given on criminal law and procedure, ethics and basic skills development. They receive instruction from members of the judiciary, the criminal defense bar, police department, medical examiner’s office, forensics offices and substance abuse treatment community. Training is also given on the challenges of providing prosecution services in the most ethnically and racially diverse county in the United States. The student prosecutors also experience mock sessions in arraignments and pre-trial hearings. They go on “field trips” to Riker’s Island, the police training facility at Rodman’s Neck, the police laboratory, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility and other locations. They spend a day touring Queens by bus to familiarize them with the county they serve and then complete their incoming training by witnessing an autopsy at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Click here for a sample schedule.
First Year Training
During the first year with the office prosecutors are assigned to misdemeanor prosecutions and also attend the First year Training Program. This consists of a series of weekly lectures and practice sessions over a period of approximately six months. These sessions are principally aimed at developing and honing their advocacy skills. At this point in their careers, the new prosecutors have had some practical courtroom experience and accordingly have a greater practical context in which to place their skills training. Accordingly, both pre-trial and trial litigation skills are covered in more detail than during incoming training. Pre-trial litigation and all aspects of trial work are covered from jury selection through closing argument. Emphasis is placed on persuasive, ethical and professional presentation of evidence and argument. The sessions are run by the Director and Deputy Director with assistance from experienced trial and appellate prosecutors within the office.
Click here for a sample schedule.
Supreme Court Training
All prosecutors undergo a two week intensive training program prior to being assigned to one of the office’s felony prosecution bureaus. This program consists of both academic and practical instruction and is broken into two parts. The first part covers work that will be part of the prosecutors’ new assignments including grand jury practice, criminal investigation techniques, office policies, drafting search warrants and taking statements from suspects. The second part is more trial advocacy training and is based upon to proven National Institute of Trial Advocacy method. This method consists of both lectures and intensive skills sessions where the “students” are required to perform aspects of trial work in a mock setting. The performances are critiqued by supervisors who are all experienced trial attorneys. Satisfactory performance in this program is required before an Assistant District Attorney may advance to an assignment in a felony trial bureau.
Click here for a sample schedule.
Applied Trial Division Training
Once each year the Trial Advocacy Office in conjunction with the Trial Division supervisory staff provides training for recently appointed felony trial assistants to ensure that they thoroughly prepare and professionally try their assigned cases. The program consists of six sessions lasting four hours. The sessions concentrate on one of the following aspects of trial work; case preparation, jury selection, opening statement, the People’s case, the defense case and closing argument/ jury instruction. The prosecutors use one case from among their caseload and meet in groups of five or six trial prosecutors with two supervisors. During each session the prosecutor presents to the group on the aspect of the case under study for that session. His/her preparation and presentation are thoroughly vetted by his/her supervisors and peers.
Continuing Legal Education
The Trial Advocacy Office provides for the continuing legal education needs of the entire professional staff of the office. The Queens County District Attorney’s Office is an accredited provider of continuing legal education. The Trial Advocacy Office ensures that the entire staff is kept up to date on recent developments in relevant aspects of the law and provides each prosecutor with a sufficient number of continuing legal education hours to comply with New York State CLE requirements. To this end, the Trial Advocacy Office produces monthly “office-wide” CLE sessions at which attendance is mandatory for the entire professional staff. Experts from within the office as well as from the legal community generally are invited to lecture. Recent examples of topics at these sessions are, “Annual Court of Appeals Update”, “Search and Seizure Update”, “Practical and Ethical Considerations in Cooperation Agreements”, “Family Court Practice” and E-Justice ‘rap sheet’ Training”.
Click here for a sample schedule.
Annual Gang Conference
The Trial Advocacy Office, in conjunction with the Office’s Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau and the Middle Atlantic Great Lakes Organized Crime Network sponsors the annual Metropolitan Violent Gang Conference which is a two day regional conference for both prosecutors and law enforcement professionals on recent developments in law enforcement techniques designed to combat gang violence.
Shaken Baby Conference
The Trial Advocacy Office, in conjunction with the Office’s Special Victim’s Bureau and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office sponsored the first annual Shaken Baby Syndrome Training Conference on September 17, 2007. The Office’s Special Victim’s Bureau has proudly taken a leadership role in advancing the level of understanding of this devastating syndrome among the law enforcement and prosecution and medical services communities.
New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute
The Director and Deputy Director of Trial Advocacy proudly serve on the New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute’s Training Committee. The Training Committee coordinates with NYPTI in producing state-wide training programs for prosecutors including the annual Metropolitan Training Program at the New York City Police Academy and the Annual Summer College at Syracuse University. Members of the Queens District Attorney staff are frequent lecturers at these and other NYPTI sponsored conferences.