November-December 2014

Annual Campaign in full swing

Rob Kepple

TDCAA Executive Director in Austin

Just a quick reminder if you have not already done so: We are looking to finish our Annual Campaign on a high note in December, so please consider taking that envelope stapled in the middle of the July-August 2014 Texas Prosecutor and making a donation to your Foundation. As you can see below, we have a lot of good things going on for the profession, but we need your help to keep up the momentum.

Thanks to ­Annual sponsors
We’d like to thank two sponsors for supporting our Annual Criminal & Civil Law Update in South Padre. Prosecutor By Karpel, a browser-based criminal case management program, sponsored Wednesday night’s opening reception. And Texas Community Supervision Alternatives, a community-based supervision and monitoring alternative for court system, sponsored Thursday’s lunch. We are grateful for your support!

Brady training is up and running
Thanks to the support of the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar, you can now fulfill the Brady training requirement (mandated in §41.111 of the Texas Government Code) by completing the one-hour course for free on the TDCAA website, In addition, completion of the course earns you one hour of ethics credit—again, for free.
    And if you know of a criminal defense attorney who is handling a prosecution as a special prosecutor or prosecutor pro tem, please let that attorney know about the requirement to take the course; he or she is welcome to take it for free on our website.
       When you take the online course, you will notice three segments of roundtable discussions with experienced prosecutors. These discussions touched upon some tough areas of the job and had some great advice for prosecutors, both new and experienced. These talks were so good that the Foundation is seeking funding to create a second online training devoted to the roundtable discussions. (We have a lot of film footage of those discussions that never made it into the final Brady video! It just needs to be professionally edited and uploaded to our website.) If you or someone you know is interested in giving toward that project, please give me a call at 512/474-2436.

A new era of training
Many of you attended the leadership and management track at the Annual Criminal and Civil Law Update—it was wildly popular. Indeed, we have heard loud and clear that prosecutor’s offices need and want training on how to manage people. After all, prosecutors get elected or promoted because they are good lawyers and prosecutors, not necessarily because they know how to lead and manage an office of employees. And we have heard from even the one-person offices that this type of training is a must—you may not manage employees, but as the elected county or district attorney you are still a leader in the local criminal justice community.
    I am convinced that the quality of justice in Texas can be elevated if we improve, top to bottom, how we lead and manage the people in our offices and in law enforcement. Remember that many cases in any given office are in the hands of courtroom prosecutors with less than three years of experience and those young peace officers on patrol at night and on weekends. Those prosecutors and officers deserve strong leadership and steady guidance.
    The question is how we meet that need. TDCAA has done isolated regional seminars and breakouts at bigger conferences devoted to leadership and management topics, but we can see that our members require more such training. We need a sustained effort to transform our offices over the long haul, but right now, the resources just don’t exist for such an initiative. This is an area where the Foundation will play a vital role in bringing a new type of training (and the long-term strategy and support it needs) to your office. We are working on both.