The Texas Prosecutor, November-December 2018

Mandatory Brady training now online

The wait is over! Thanks to the support of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar, mandatory Brady Training is now online at www.tdcaa.com.
    To review:  Every state criminal prosecutor in Texas had to take the initial course in 2014, and by Court of Criminal Appeals rule must complete a refresher course in the fourth calendar year after the initial course. That means a bunch of prosecutors must take the training by the end of 2018.  In addition, all new prosecutors must complete the course within 180 days of starting in the profession.
    The training on our website is free. It is worth one hour of MCLE/ethics, and it complies with the mandatory Brady training requirement. Upon your completion of the course, TDCAA will report the hour of MCLE ethics and Brady training to the State Bar.
    A suggestion: Why not ask staff and police officers to take the course? One of our challenges is to make sure everyone on the State’s “team” is pulling in the same direction, and this course offers good insights into why we do what we do with discovery and what problems—and solutions—are out there. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the course, let me know at [email protected].    

Honored guests at the Annual Board dinner
Each year in conjunction with our annual conference, we host a dinner for our association and foundation board members, past presidents, and honored guests. I was delighted that this year two luminaries in Texas criminal justice joined us: Tom Hanna and Judge Larry Gist. Tom Hanna is a former DA in Jefferson County and former TDCAA president, and he served as the Chair of the TDCAA Penal Code Committee when the code was written and enacted in 1974. (More on that in the next edition of this journal.)
    Judge Larry Gist is a retired district court judge in Beaumont who has been active for decades in state criminal justice issues. Significantly, he chaired the Penal Code Subcommittee to the 1993 Punishment Standards Commission that—you guessed it—rewrote the aging 1974 Penal Code. It was wonderful to have two great friends of the profession with us that evening. Great to see you, Tom and Judge Gist!        

Is there someone you want to honor?
We get to know some great people in our profession. It is truly an honor to work alongside some of the finest lawyers in the country for our cause. If you feel that way about someone you know, perhaps one way to recognize that person is with a gift to the Foundation in his or her honor.
    Case in point: Beth Toben and Mark Parker were a trial team in the McLennan County CDA’s office for 18 years. They were pretty much the stuff of legend in central Texas. Beth has moved to a different office, but Mark has continued to serve in Waco for 30 years, for which he was just honored at the courthouse. Beth recently honored Mark with a gift to the Foundation as a way to be part of the future of the profession. Thanks, Beth! And thank you to Mark for your continued work to represent the people of your community in criminal court.