The Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar is an active group of criminal justice lawyers from the three segments of our bar: the judiciary, defense, and prosecution. The section boasts over 3,100 members, and its mission is to promote excellence in the practice of criminal law by embracing ethics, professionalism, education, training, and fellowship. (You can find out more about the Section and how to join here: https://www.txbarcjs.org.) Criminal justice needs a place where we can all come together in the spirit of “the loyal opposition,” and you should consider joining.
The section is keen on supporting projects that enhance lawyers’ knowledge of their ethical obligations. In that spirit, I am honored to announce that the Section has become the major sponsor of our 2018 online Brady training video, which will be available on the TDCAA website soon. As you know, in 2014 every prosecutor was required to take one hour of Brady training. Back then, the Criminal Justice Section funded the Brady training video that most of you have seen, plus the one-hour ethics roundtable video (both still available on our website). All that training was made available free for all prosecutors—and indeed any lawyer who wanted to view it and get State Bar ethics credit. It has been a tremendous benefit to prosecutors.
Under Court of Criminal Appeals rules, those prosecutors who took the course back in 2014 will need to complete a refresher course by the end of 2018. Thanks to the Section and support from the Court of Criminal Appeals, we will be offering a new course for free. The course will cover not only Brady but also prosecutor duties related to exculpatory and mitigating evidence under the Michael Morton Act and Rule 3.09 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. This year’s course will be more interactive and dynamic than the 2014 course, and it will feature different perspectives on our obligations, including form the defense bar, the bench, and from Michael Morton himself.
Thanks, Criminal Justice Section—we could not do it without you!