Baylor Law School Hosts Programs for Texas Prosecutors
by Alan Hunt, (254) 710-6271
District and county attorneys from all over the Lone Star State are attending courses at Baylor Law School's Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center. Sponsored by the Austin-based Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA), the first week-long program is focusing on advanced trial advocacy skills for felony trial prosecutors. The second program, scheduled for Aug. 15-18, will offer an advanced appellate advocacy school for appellate prosecutors.
This is the second year that the TDCAA program has been held at the Umphrey Law Center, which was described as "tailor-made for events such as this" by Judy Bellsnyder, meeting planner for the TDCAA. "We have been wanting to do this kind of thing for years, but we just didn't have a place. This facility (the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center) has enabled us to do this."
The association's first trial advocacy course last year proved such a success that the appellate advocacy course was added this year, Bellsnyder said. As well as the facility, she praised the "wonderful" hospitality of the Baylor Law School family "People here couldn't be nicer," she said.
Bellsnyder said the trial advocacy conference sessions follow a "highly participatory" format, including intensive workshops, videotaped performances, and faculty critiques. Next week's appellate advocacy school will feature the same intense, participatory format, with a focus on brief writing, videotaped performance and oral arguments.
Faculty members for the two-week program include experienced prosecutors from all parts of Texas and adjoining states. They include Dallas County prosecutor Toby Shook, who prosecuted the case of "The Texas Seven" --prison escapees from The John Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas, who were allegedly involved in the Christmas Eve, 2000, killing of an Irving police officer.
Jurors from the McLennan County jury pool also participated in a jury selection demonstration during the Advanced Trial Advocacy Course.