Some police dogs help law enforcement officers by finding narcotics and tracking suspects. Professionally trained facility dogs help them by making it easier for sexually assaulted children to describe what happened to them during forensic interviews and while testifying in court against their abusers.
Join Tommy Beeson, the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney's Office Chief Investigator who has over 40 years of law enforcement experience, at the 2015 International Courthouse Dogs Conference in Seattle October 4-6 and learn how his partner Duvall has helped him investigate crimes against children and obtain convictions.
DA Fitzpatrick takes reins of national group, becomes 'voice of America's prosecutors'
Syracuse, NY -- Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick will take over leadership of the National District Attorney's Association during a swearing-in Monday in Chicago. Fitzpatrick will speak for district attorneys across the nation as president of the group, which calls itself the "voice of America's prosecutors." He'll control the association's business, preside over meetings and determine the group's agenda.
"I think it's a great honor for Syracuse and Onondaga County and New York," Fitzpatrick said. It'll promote what New York does right in fighting crime and help us learn from other states as to what we could do better, he said.
The longtime Republican DA, who is running unopposed for a seventh term in November, will be only the second New Yorker to lead the DA's association. The first one, William Murphy, of Staten Island, led the group in the 1980s, Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said one of his priorities will be expanding a program that allows prosecutors to share expertise on DNA cases. Right now, the DA's association allows prosecutors to get help from about 25 experts in DNA evidence. That program could expand to experts in fingerprints, ballistics, and abusive head trauma, Fitzpatrick said.
That would combat what Fitzpatrick called the "cottage industry" of experts-for-hire who are paid by defendants to testify using "junk science." As an example, the DA cited a defense expert in Dr. Robert Neulander's murder trial whose record included botching a gunshot investigation and giving interviews to the National Enquirer tabloid.
Fitzpatrick also said he'd like to focus on wrongful convictions, encouraging other states to follow New York's lead for a "best practices" committee for prosecutions. The state DA's association, which Fitzpatrick has previously led, recently joined forces with the Innocence Project to push for new laws designed to adopt practices that reduce the risk of convictions due to mistaken identification or false confessions.
The DA said that his additional duties would not require significantly more travel. He already attends the group's three conferences a year. The position may require a few more trips to Washington D.C., but Fitzpatrick said he'd do "90 percent" of business by phone or e-mail. As it is already, travel will be paid for using the DA's office travel budget and drug forfeiture money, Fitzpatrick said. Historically he also uses campaign funds for dinners, golf and other activities on these trips.
When asked what types of topics he'd talk about as president of the DA's association, Fitzpatrick took a swipe at President Obama's recent pardon of 46 federal criminals. While he did not dispute Obama's authority to issue the pardons, Fitzpatrick questioned at least one pardon that he claimed set free a criminal known for bringing guns and drugs into an Alabama community. The DA acknowledged that some of the pardons might have been justified. (In addition, those criminals were prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, not prosecutors from ranks of the state district attorney's offices.)
Fitzpatrick also called the Democratic president "reluctant" to speak about victims' rights and violent crime.
The Onondaga County DA will be officially take over during a "passing of the gavel" ceremony during a DA's luncheon. His wife, Court of Claims Judge Diane Fitzpatrick, will swear him in.
He takes over from group president Mike Moore, a district attorney from South Dakota.
The LSU Law Center will honor Edward J. Walters, Jr. as the 2015 LSU Law Center Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and Jeffrey K. Coreil, Jennifer A. Jones, Edwin G. Preis, Jr., Kimberly L. Robinson and Dean A. Sutherland for Distinguished Achievement at an awards luncheon on Sunday, October 11, at the Lod Cook Conference Center in Baton Rouge. The luncheon will begin at 1:00 p.m.
For ticket information, please contact Jennifer Roche.
2015 LSU Law Center Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Edward J. Walters, Jr. (’75)
Partner, Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC
Baton Rouge, LA
2015 LSU Law Center Distinguished Achievement Honorees
Jeffrey K. Coreil (’09)
Jennifer A. Jones (’81)
District Attorney, Cameron Parish
Edwin G. Preis, Jr. (’72)
Managing Partner and Founder, Preis PLC
Kimberly L. Robinson ('98)
Partner, Jones Walker LLP
Baton Rouge, LA
Dean A. Sutherland (’75)
Of Counsel, Jeansonne & Remondet
New Orleans, LA
LSU Law Center’s Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually to an alumnus/a for rare distinction in professional achievement and loyalty to the LSU Law Center. The Distinguished Achievement award recognizes graduates for professional achievement and career distinction, service to and support of LSU Law, and service to the community.