University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Announces Proposal for National Criminal Justice Academy

February 6, 2011—Dean Hiram Chodosh announced today that the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is working with national partners to champion a national training center for prosecutors and defense counsel in Salt Lake City.

The National Criminal Justice Academy proposal, which is being championed by the College of Law with support from the National District Attorneys Association, leaders in the defense bar, and other organizations, would provide what Chodosh calls a “duplex training center” for prosecutors and defenders in a single facility.

With both prosecutors and defense counsel located in the same center, “The opportunities for practical, advanced training and engagement would be unparalleled,” Chodosh said.

Chodosh explained that budget cuts have forced the National District Attorneys Association to close their operation at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina and that there is currently no national training center for indigent defense counsel. However, he noted, the burden for prosecuting and defending felony crimes falls on state criminal justice systems, which handle some 95% of the nation’s criminal cases.

Under the terms of the proposal, the center will will provide separate, hands-on, practical, and continued virtual training for each group of at least 5,000 prosecutors and 5,000 defenders per year, according to Chodosh.

“Ongoing professional training increases the efficiency of both prosecutors and defenders, speeds the filing of charges, prevents critical errors at trial, reduces appeals, and encourages better plea-bargaining,” Chodosh said.

The proposal for the National Criminal Justice Academy is already attracting media attention. The Deseret News recently reported on the proposal and other media outlets have also expressed interest in the story.