How the Foundation ­promotes excellence

Rob Kepple

TDCAA Executive Director in Austin

Promoting excellence in the profession of prosecution is the mission of the Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation. One of the anchor grants to the Foundation came when then-Harris County District Attorney Ken Magidson offered enduring support for TDCAA’s Advanced Trial Advocacy School and our Advanced Appellate Advocacy School through his office’s discretionary funds. As many of you know, these courses are designed to give experienced prosecutors the opportunity to sharpen their skills and receive critiques from their peers and an accomplished faculty. It is the type of intense training designed to take good skills to the next level. And it is harder and harder to find this type of quality experience at the national level.
      Because of the sustained funding from Harris County, during the week of August 3–7, the Baylor University School of Law once again welcomed TDCAA into its top-notch facility for the Advanced Trial Advocacy Course. Every year, the faculty and attendees utilize a real-life case scenario to craft various mock-trial skills, and this year’s scenario was a continuous sexual abuse of a child case that was originally prosecuted by Course Director Melinda Westmoreland, Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Tarrant County. The scenario afforded the attendees an opportunity to delve into some complicated trial issues, as well as discuss some of the current trends arising in child sexual abuse cases.
    Jack Choate, TDCAA’s Training Director, reports that both attendees and faculty members told him that this course was the best training that they had ever attended. The “all-star” faculty of child abuse prosecutors from all over the state seemed to take their presentations to a level beyond their usual excellence. Though primarily a trial advocacy course, the clearinghouse of great ideas among the various faculty and participants will surely benefit the prosecution of those who harm children.
    Thanks to all of you who have offered continuing support for this critical training … so the State is always ready!