March 29, 2012
- All federal prosecutors are now required to undertake annual discovery training. Roughly 6,000 federal criminal prosecutors across the country – regardless of experience level – receive the required training annually on a wide variety of criminal discovery-related topics. Since 2010, the department also has held several “New Prosecutor Boot Camp” courses, designed for newly hired federal prosecutors.
- Discovery training requirements are now specifically outlined in the United States Attorney Manual (USAM § 9-5.001), which was amended in June 2010 to make training mandatory for all prosecutors within 12 months after hiring, and requiring two hours of training on an annual basis for all other prosecutors.
- In 2011, the department provided training to more than 26,000 federal law enforcement agents and other officials – primarily from the FBI, DEA and ATF – on criminal discovery policies and practices. The department is currently developing annual training for these agents.
- In late February 2012, the department held “train-the-trainer” programs to begin training the next round of federal law enforcement agencies.
- The department has held several Support Staff Criminal Discovery Training Programs and has produced criminal discovery training materials for Victim/Witness coordinators.
- A Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book – which comprehensively covers the law, policy and practice of prosecutors’ disclosure obligations – was created and distributed to prosecutors nationwide in 2011.
- The department developed – in collaboration with representatives from the Federal Public Defenders and counsel appointed under the Criminal Justice Act – ground-breaking criminal electronically stored information (ESI) protocol. The protocol was distributed to prosecutors, defense attorneys and members of the federal judiciary in February 2012. It is designed to:
- promote the efficient and cost-effective production of ESI discovery in federal criminal cases;
- reduce unnecessary conflict and litigation over ESI discovery by encouraging the parties to communicate about ESI discovery issues;
- create a predictable framework for ESI discovery; and
- establish methods for resolving ESI discovery disputes without the need for court intervention.
- To ensure consistent long-term oversight of the department’s discovery practices, the National Criminal Discovery Coordinator position was made a permanent executive-level position in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
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