Trial Advocacy Course
This course is designed to create a team building approach between prosecutors and law enforcement officers to aid in the detection, apprehension, and prosecution of impaired drivers. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers participate in interactive training classes taught by a multidisciplinary faculty focusing on building skills in trying an alcohol related impaired driving case. Includes a discussion of the role of the prosecutor in both alcohol-impaired driving cases and community safety and covers standardized field sobriety tests, the pharmacology of alcohol and chemical testing. Each participant prosecutes a “case,” is critiqued on his/her live performance and given an opportunity to view him/herself on videotape. Throughout every stage of the course, participants receive direct feedback on their courtroom skills with assistance in how to compose more persuasive arguments and deliver more dynamic presentations.
Trail Advocacy Course
This course is designed to create a team building approach between prosecutors and law enforcement officers to aid in the detection, apprehension, and prosecution of impaired drivers. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers will participate in interactive training classes taught by a multidisciplinary faculty.
The course begins with an overview of the drug-impaired driving problem in the United States and the substantive areas of training that police officers receive to be certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). Learning about drug categories, signs and symptoms of drug influence, the role of the DRE in establishing impairment, and the role of toxicology in these cases will assist the prosecutor in developing methods for effectively and persuasively presenting this information in court. The course also addresses how to qualify the DRE as an expert witness in court and how to respond to common defense challenges.
Each participant will have the opportunity to prosecute a “case” including the opportunity to conduct a direct examination of a DRE and a toxicologist. Each phase of the trial is videotaped. Participants receive critiques of the “live” and videotaped presentations from experienced faculty. Throughout every stage of the course, participants receive direct feedback on their courtroom skills with assistance in how to compose more persuasive arguments and deliver more dynamic presentations.
Advanced Trial Advocacy Course
Vehicular fatality cases are complex, requiring prosecutors to have a working knowledge of crash reconstruction and toxicology, as well as skills to work with expert witnesses and victims. The Lethal Weapon course is focused on assisting prosecutors to develop their knowledge and skills in trying these cases. A substantial portion of this four and a half day course involves presentations on crash reconstruction, technical investigation at the scene, and toxicology. The course also provides an advanced trial advocacy component in which participants receive a case file and participate in mock trial sessions where each of them conducts every stage of the trial. A unique feature of Lethal Weapon is the opportunity for prosecutors to conduct direct and cross-examinations of actual reconstructionists and toxicologists. Specifically, this course teaches prosecutors to:
Learn how a crash reconstructionist determines speed from skid marks and vehicle damage
Determine how vehicle and occupant kinematics assist in cases involving driving identification
Understand the prosecutor’s role at the scene of a traffic fatality
Calculate BAC by learning alcohol “burn-out” rates and the Widmark formula
Improve trial advocacy skills, particularly conducting direct and cross-examination of expert witnesses
Prosecutors with a preferred experience level of two-three years trying impaired driving cases.
Prosecutors who currently handle vehicular fatality cases.
Experienced prosecutors who want to increase their understanding of the technical evidence required to prove guilt in cases involving vehicular fatalities, and at the same time improve their trial advocacy skills.
Interactive Participant-Centered Course
This model curriculum is designed to jointly train police and prosecutors in the detection, apprehension and prosecution of alcohol and drug impaired drivers. This training is unique in two ways: (1) Experts in the fields of toxicology, optometry, prosecution and law enforcement designed and developed the curriculum; (2) Law enforcement officers and prosecutors are trained together by the experts in their respective disciplines. The training is the first of its kind to be developed nationally and is adaptable to all local jurisdictions.
The joint-training approach allows all the involved disciplines to learn from each other inside a classroom rather than outside a courtroom five minutes before trial. Each profession learns firsthand the challenges and difficulties the others face in impaired driving cases. This allows for greater understanding on the part of police officers as to what evidence prosecutors must have in an impaired driving case. Conversely, this training gives prosecutors the opportunity to learn to ask better questions in pretrial preparation, as well as in the courtroom. Both prosecutors and law enforcement officers learn firsthand from toxicologists about breath, blood and urine tests. A nationally recognized optometrist instructs police and prosecutors about the effects of alcohol and other drugs on an individual’s eyes, specifically, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). In turn, optometrists and toxicologists gain a greater appreciation for the challenges officers face at the scene in gathering forensic evidence and the legal requirements prosecutors must meet in presenting evidence in court. This exchange of information is beneficial to all involved.
Prosecutors and police officers participate in interactive training classes regarding:
Faculty Development Course
This course is designed to train adults to effectively teach and critique other adults. The curriculum is designed to be participant centered and instructor led. Each participant will be actively involved in the training process. The program will provide all participants with a foundation in presentation styles, adult learning principles, the art of critiquing, and communication skills. The course teaches participants how to incorporate creative training techniques to deliver interactive presentations using visual aids that reinforce learning.
To provide the opportunity for participants to apply training techniques taught and demonstrated during the course, each participant is required to make a presentation on an element of DUI trial advocacy or related topic. The presentations are videotaped and both the ‘live’ and videotaped presentation will be critiqued by faculty. Strong emphasis is placed on assisting individual participants to expand and improve their presentation skills, regardless of their level of experience.
This course also will focus on improving the fundamentals of critiquing. Incorporated into the course is the opportunity for local volunteer prosecutors to deliver an opening statement, closing argument, a direct and a cross, which are then critiqued by course participants to give them an opportunity to practice the critiquing skills taught in the course.
Trial Testimony Skills Course
Designed for law enforcement officers with a wide variety of trial testimony experience, this course includes discussion and instruction on all aspects of trial preparation and courtroom testimony in an impaired driving case. Experts in the fields of law enforcement and prosecution present the curriculum to law enforcement officers, allowing the participants to learn firsthand the challenges and difficulties in impaired driving cases. This course is designed to be taught in one day and includes a mock trial presentation, with optional direct and cross-examination exercises. However, additional potential topic areas are discussed throughout the Instructor Manual and may be implemented in the training course to expand the curriculum if so desired. Segments of this training include: