View our collection of webinars, templates, written resources, and sample research and assistance below.
SAMPLE SMART PROSECUTION/IPS APPLICATIONS
This narrative explains the project design for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, located in Buffalo, NY. Erie County is using IPS funds to create a Forensic Evidence Bureau, where a dedicated Forensic Evidence Prosecutor will investigate and prosecute violent felonies that involve complex forensic issues. The project also involves training for new felony trial prosecutors on legal and practical DNA issues, as well as collaboration with the Appeals Bureau on conviction integrity matters.
This project narrative details the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association partnership with other national experts to develop Digital Evidence Experiential Training, which is being used to equip prosecutors with the skills to understand, analyze, and argue the admissibility of digital evidence. The project involves development and delivery of a nationally-replicable curriculum and written policies and practices related to digital evidence use for prosecutors’ offices.
This narrative explains the project design for the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Olympia, WA, which is focused on enhancing its capacity to collect, analyze, and communicate data on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. The project involves an independent evaluation of data sourced from the office’s case management system, the creation of a Community Advisory Board to set up a public-facing data dashboard, and the development of recommendations for prosecution reform.
This project narrative details the Racine County (WI) District Attorney’s Office’s partnership with its local police department to improve the criminal justice system’s response to firearms offenses. The program involves a dedicated, collaborative Gun Crimes Task Force to review and follow up on leads generated by firearm data, as well as the use of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network equipment to link cases and offenders together by their weapons.
This site application describes the project design for the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office (SA) in East St. Louis, IL. Through IPS, the SAO funds a dedicated prosecutor to work alongside the local police department and the Public Safety Enforcement Group to identify crime hotspots and focus prosecution of priority violent offenders. The site’s work will be enhanced through the increased data-sharing abilities of an upgraded case management system.
Making the Most Out of Your Innovative Prosecution Solutions Grant
This resource seeks to share lessons learned for overcoming challenges common to IPS grantees—and for strengthening both the internal capacity of prosecutors' offices and the partnerships between prosecutors, researchers, crime analysts, other collaborators, and TTA partners.
Developing an Evidence Base for Your Innovative Prosecution Strategy
This brief article discusses how prosecutor-led teams can use data in the development of their strategies and programs to develop effective, economical, and innovative responses to crime within their jurisdictions.
The Prosecutors' Guide for Reducing Violence and Building Safer Communities
Informed by a roundtable of experienced prosecutors from around the country, this Guide provides a systematic way for prosecutors’ offices to evaluate their practices with respect to the key elements of a successful violent crime reduction strategy.
This Guide is intended to enable the executives responsible for operating a prosecutor’s office to identify policies and practices that can be readily implemented, as well as those that represent actionable goals to work toward. It suggests practices that are customizable and scalable, from foundational to enhanced, depending on an office’s available resources and experiences, as well as jurisdiction-specific needs and challenges.
The Problem-Solving Prosecutor: Modern Variations on the Crime Strategies Unit
This resource illustrates the expanding role of the prosecutor and offers guidance on the development or enhancement of intelligence-driven prosecution through a Crime Strategies Unit (CSU) or like-minded programs. Based in part on interviews with prosecutors, crime analysts, and other specialists in the field, the resource discusses strategies for building foundational partnerships, methods for gathering data and intelligence, and ways in which data can inform and support investigations and prosecutions.
Seeking Justice and Solutions: A Prosecutor's Guide to Opioid Overdose Investigations
The opioid epidemic has presented prosecutors with new challenges and questions. Though the opioid crisis may be the result of various associated criminal actions, modern prosecutors acknowledge that addiction itself is a medical condition, not a crime. The prosecutor is faced with decisions on two fronts: how to address the criminal activity of drug sellers and how to treat the medical issues of drug users. The goal of this Guide is to provide options and to highlight innovative, effective strategies for improving prosecutors’ responses to overdose deaths. These responses range from providing access to treatment to prosecuting overdose deaths as homicides.
Prosecutors and the Press: Ethical and Practical Guidance
One of a prosecutor’s main duties is to communicate. Prosecutors can build community trust by educating the public about the facts, legal standards, and procedures that underlie their decisions. However, prosecutors are also governed by ethical rules that restrict what they may say publicly. These ethical rules take the rights of the accused and victims into account and are an important part of a fair and just criminal justice system. Prosecutors must find the right approach to providing needed information to the press without overstepping their ethical boundaries. This article provides considerations and suggestions for prosecutors on how to ethically communicate with the public, how to develop a communications strategy, and how to work with the press at various stages of a case.
Recruiting the Gen Z Prosecutor
This article, written by the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence, provides guidance for offices seeking to recruit the next generation of prosecutors. Based on discussions with law school career services professionals, prosecutors, prosecution recruiters, and law students, the resource contains practical strategies that can be utilized by offices of any size.
Change Management: Unlocking the Full Potential of Innovation
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Innovative Prosecution Solutions (IPS) grant program involves a national network of dedicated criminal justice practitioners — prosecutors, law enforcement officers and other allied professionals — working together to solve critical public safety issues in their jurisdictions. Using novel crime reduction strategies and approaches, prosecutors around the country aim to reduce gang and gun crime, curtail the opioid epidemic, combat gender-based violence and human trafficking, and reduce justice system involvement of young adults and youth.
The purpose of this brief is to describe change management in the workplace and provide IPS grantees with the tools and understanding to effectively transition from “the way it is” to “the way it will be.” Topics covered will include the elements of change management, stages of change, and obstacles to change. A Change Management Checklist is included to assist grantees with becoming “change-ready”.
Developing and Leading a Prosecutor's Community Advisory Board
This article, written by the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence, provides guidance for prosecutors’ offices seeking to develop a Community Advisory Board (CAB). Based on discussions with three elected prosecutors from diverse jurisdictions across the country, this resource contains basic guidance on establishing the purpose of a CAB, creating guidelines for its composition, conducting meetings, and more.
Webinars & Other Online Events
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), also known as Red Flag Laws, are a promising tool of intervention but are relatively unknown to prosecutors across the nation. ERPOs are court orders that temporarily restrict access to firearms for individuals at elevated risk of harming themselves or others. As caseloads swell and rates of violence surge, prosecutors, law enforcement, and advocates can learn about and begin to deploy tools that can help mitigate and prevent future harm upstream— when warning signs first come to light.
This presentation is led by national experts from the Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit of the King County, Washington Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Presenters discuss how criminal justice professionals can utilize ERPOs to restrict firearm access for individuals exhibiting a wide variety of high-risk behaviors. They also explore the efficacy of ERPOS to reduce gun violence.
The opioid epidemic has devastated communities across the United States, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the past two decades. In response, some state and local prosecutors have taken a data-driven approach to the crisis. This webinar spotlights the experiences of an Innovative Prosecution Solutions (IPS) grantee’s efforts to tackle one troubling aspect of the opioid epidemic—doctors and pharmacists who inappropriately disseminate opioid medications. Tamara Holland of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Texas discusses data-driven methods to identify and prosecute “pill-mill” practices, such as analyzing prescription history data through Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and overdose death data from medical examiners’ offices.
This webinar spotlights Yolo County’s new criminal justice transparency portal, an innovative website created by the District Attorney’s Office, the Yolo County Multi-Cultural Council, and Measures for Justice (an organization that uses accurate criminal justice data to spur reform). The portal was developed to help the office analyze prosecution data and enhance trust with the community through transparency and accountability. It allows citizens an intimate glimpse into the prosecutorial process in Yolo County—including crime trends that are affecting their community; law enforcement resources in the area; and detailed case statistics pertaining to referrals, charging, diversion, and sentencing decisions. During this webinar, presenters give a live walkthrough of the portal, chronicle the process behind publicizing this data, and discuss their aspirations and policy goals driving this project.
This presentation emphasizes the importance of contextual analysis in evaluating criminal responsibility at the arrest, charging, pre-trial, and sentencing phases. Such analysis will help to ensure that the dynamics of domestic violence are properly factored into decisions about arrest, charging, plea negotiations, and sentencing, and will enhance the quality of justice for those who have been victims of abuse. The presentation also discusses the importance of danger assessments and best practices in lethality evaluation.
This presentation identifies barriers to successful interviews and explores techniques for overcoming them. The presenter explains how a traditional fact-gathering approach to interviewing can be counterproductive or even harmful to the victim and to the investigation. Alternative approaches to interviewing and questioning are identified and analyzed for their potential to minimize re-traumatization and enhance our ability to recreate the reality of the crime at trial. An emphasis is placed on integrating a trauma-informed response from the first contact with a victim through the conclusion of the case, with realistic goals for interviews and meetings at every stage of the process.
This presentation demonstrates how cyber investigations can be used to reveal evidence of criminal activity, as well as evidence of the power and control dynamics of an abusive intimate partner relationship, but while also supporting the protection of victim privacy. The presenter discusses theories of admission, rules of evidence, and case law are discuss using “real life” examples to demonstrate how to properly authenticate and introduce digital evidence in civil and criminal proceedings.
Witness intimidation and manipulation factor into almost every domestic violence prosecution. Abusers engage in these tactics because they often work. When witness intimidation is successful, victims decline to participate in the prosecution, they minimize the abuse on the witness stand, or they testify on behalf of the abuser. But what if we eliminate the payoff for the would-be intimidator? This presentation focuses on forfeiture by wrongdoing as a solution in the case of witnesses who are unavailable for trial due to the offender’s wrongful conduct.
This webinar discusses the solicitation for applications for funding for the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance's FY’20 Innovative Prosecution Solutions for Combating Violent Crime (IPS) initiative. It includes a discussion of application eligibility and the application process, program requirements, and examples of previously successful proposals.
This webinar spotlights one office’s efforts to tackle the opioid crisis. Tonya Lupinacci of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Norristown, PA discusses strategies that are broadly applicable to jurisdictions across the country, with a special emphasis on prosecuting Drug Delivery Resulting in Death and similar crimes.
This webinar spotlights the experiences of an IPS grantee’s efforts to tackle this issue from a data collection and analysis perspective. Ryan Bokoch of the Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor in Cleveland, OH discusses his Crime Strategy Unit’s effort to collect and analyze data concerning carjackings in the Cleveland area so that the Office of the Prosecutor and their partners would have an accurate understanding of the numbers, location and perpetrator/victim demographics associated with this violent and potentially deadly crime.
Part I of the series discusses a coordinated system response to the challenges presented by witness intimidation. The presenter explores methods for enhancing victim and witness safety, improving witnesses’ ability to participate in the justice system, and holding offenders accountable at all stages of the criminal justice process.
Part II of the series discusses the identification, documentation, and effective use of evidence of intimidation at trial to hold offenders accountable. The presenter explores how to admit and present evidence to demonstrate the offender’s consciousness of guilt, to explain the absence of a witness, and to introduce an unavailable witness’s statements via the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.
Part III of the series focuses on the key principles of witness protection, which include tactical considerations, addressing the trauma to the victim/witness, and supporting lifestyle changes. The presenter discusses the importance of determining whether an imminent and credible threat against the life of a victim/witness exists by utilizing a dynamic screening and threat assessment tool; understanding the impact of trauma on the path to change; and recognizing the signs of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others.
Part I of the series explores the different types and sources of electronic data that are available to investigators; how such data can be properly collected, regardless of whether it is in a physical device or electronic records; and methods to facilitate searching and seizing data.
- Presentation Handout — Greyscale (PDF) #1 and #2
- Presentation Handout — Color (PDF)
Part II of the series discusses how legally-obtained data can be analyzed, depending on the type of data in question. Presenters also discuss strategies for effectively presenting data at trial.
Part I: Introduction to IPS
This introductory webinar discusses the goals for the IPS project, and shares information, successes and challenges, and lessons learned from past projects related to gun, domestic violence, gang, human trafficking, and opioid crime. Recording not available.
This webinar discusses the importance of implementation and performance metrics, not only for grant monitoring, but also for informing outcome and impact evaluations.
This webinar discussed IPS participants’ experiences with researcher-practitioner partnerships in IPS and previous projects — focusing on the importance of initiating and fostering partnerships, utilizing cross-training between partners, and ensuring sustainability moving forward.
In the fourth webinar in the series, research partners from two IPS projects discussed how they are utilizing — or plan on utilizing – social network analysis (SNA) to aid in action research. View the discussion to learn more about the basics of SNA and how it can be used to better understand the relationships between opioid manufacturers, distributors, and overdose victims.
Prosecutor Data Dashboards
The Prosecutor’s Center for Excellence (PCE) hosted a virtual pop-up event exploring the use of data dashboards in four prosecutors' offices across the county. Presentations from each office, the links to their respective dashboards, and other relevant materials are included below.
State Attorney's Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit - Jacksonville, FL
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office - King County, WA
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office - Philadelphia, PA
Yolo County District Attorney's Office - Yolo County, CA
Empowering Ethical Prosecution
The Prosecutor’s Center for Excellence (PCE) presented a virtual pop-up highlighting ethical prosecution strategies from different prosecutor's office. The event included discussions on Brady obligations, the creation of internal ethical processes, and the role of an ethics officer. The presentations, PowerPoints, and other relevant materials are included below.
- Meeting Booklet
- Ethics: A List of Considerations for Prosecutors
- Promises to the People: Broome County, DA, NY
- Case Review Questions with BWC – NY Best Practices Committee
- The Right Thing- Ethical Guidelines for Prosecutors
Chief Assistant District Attorney Timothy Koller - Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, NY
Professional Responsibility Advisor Cynthia Nakao - Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, CA
Improving Recruitment and Retention for Prosecutors (Part I)
The Prosecutor’s Center for Excellence (PCE) hosted a virtual pop-up on strategies for recruiting and retaining prosecutors. The event included discussions on remote work and office culture, as well as a panel discussion with recently-graduated prosecutors. The presentations and other relevant materials are included below.
Recruiting and Retaining Talent in a New Era of Accountability and Remote Work
Promoting Your Office Culture as a Driver for Recruitment and Retention
Leveraging Law School Partnerships and Harnessing the Power of Impact Driven Work for New Prosecutors
Bringing in the Community - Prosecutors Evolving Use of Community Advisory Boards
The Prosecutor's Center for Excellence (PCE) held a virtual pop-up on benefits of collaboration between prosecutors and community advisory boards (CABs). The pop-up included presentations from prosecutors across the nation, who discussed how properly-structured CABs can greatly benefit prosecutors offices and the community as a whole.
Jackson County, Missouri
City of Alexandria, Virginia
Davis County, Utah
Improving Recruitment and Retention for Prosecutors (Part II)
The Prosecutor’s Center for Excellence (PCE) hosted a second virtual pop-up on strategies for recruiting and retaining prosecutors. The event included discussions on building an effective internship program and crafting a law school curriculum.
Taking Intern Programing Up a Notch
Creating a Prosecutor Centered Law School Course
Tools & Templates
This resource can help prosecutors, victim advocates, and law enforcement educate victims about the dynamics of witness intimidation, uncover whether intimidation is occurring in their cases, and determine appropriate safety measures. The survey can also be used as an evidence gathering tool to support bail arguments, additional charges, forfeiture by wrongdoing motions, or conditions of release.
This template can be utilized by IPS grantees to develop plans for sharing project information and data—with the implementation team, with research partners, with other stakeholders, and with the public. Please contact AEquitas for a Microsoft Excel version of this template.
This template can be utilized by IPS grantees to solidify key project strategies, establish a timeline, and develop an evaluation plan. Please contact AEquitas for a Microsoft Excel version of this template.
Sample Research & Assistance
This bibliography provides an overview of law review articles, peer-reviewed publications, and technical reports that examine the background, history, goals and objectives, research findings, and implications of prosecutorial-led diversion practices.
This fact sheet briefly describes two prosecutor-led youthful offender diversion programs in New York and South Dakota, and summarizes general findings and facts about prosecutor-led diversion in the United States.
This response to a request for technical assistance summarizes the methods and effectiveness of several media campaigns focused on reducing substance use behavior for both drugs and alcohol.
This response to a technical assistance request discusses what legal or other issues may arise from the use of text messages to submit anonymous tips to law enforcement.
This response to a technical assistance request examines whether the government can prosecute a witness for perjury in Michigan when where the witness testified out-of-state via two-way technology.
This response to a technical assistance request examines the legal and ethical raised by a single judge serving on two separate one-person grand juries in Michigan.
This response to a technical assistance request compiles a list of steps investigators can take when attempting to locate a missing witness. It includes several Michigan-specific resources.
This response to a technical assistance request discusses the legal and ethical duties of an individual working in a prosecutor’s office to keep confidential a defendant’s or diversion participant’s substance abuse history.
This response to a technical assistance request analyzes existing venue laws in drug delivery resulting in death and equivalent cases.
This response to a technical assistance request analyzes the current state of the law on electronic service of process.
This response to a technical assistance request discusses female-on-female violence, particularly in the context of gang-violence or organized crime, and the aspects of a case that are most important when determining a female offender’s culpability.
Statutory and Constitutional Speedy Trial Rights in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic