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Posted on: March 4, 2015

Best Practices Summit Draws Prosecutors from 15 States to Phoenix

PHOENIX – Senior prosecutors from 15 states are in Phoenix for a two-day conference to discuss a range of initiatives designed to improve performance of the overall prosecution function and the criminal justice system. The nationwide “Best Practices for Justice” summit, which concludes today, is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), whose mission is to provide leadership, policy development and services to support local, state, and tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities.

“This event offers prosecutors from multiple jurisdictions a unique opportunity to share their experience and exchange information on specific trends impacting our criminal justice system,” remarked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Of particular interest was a discussion on the growing use of police body cameras and the infrastructure challenges they present to prosecution agencies. There was also a focus on community outreach efforts and other strategies to maintain an open dialogue with the public and engage stakeholders on criminal justice issues.”

In addition to Arizona, the summit drew prosecutors from California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. A key topic was the expansion of “Best Practices Committees,” a non-partisan body of prosecutors representing every region of their respective states dedicated to improving prosecution and criminal justice functions. The Arizona Best Practices Committee is chaired by Oro Valley Town Prosecutor Tobin Sidles and comprises three county attorneys, including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and two city prosecutors.

“The formation of a prosecutors’ statewide think tank dedicated to improving our current criminal justice system and addressing the safety of our communities has never been more important than at the present time,” said Kristine Hamann, a former Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and current Visiting Fellow at the Bureau of Justice Assistance. “Creating a national partnership that encourages positive discussion, policy resources and access to new and emerging issues are necessary steps towards improving the prosecution function on a local, statewide and national level.”

To-date, senior prosecutors from 30 states have participated in five summits throughout the U.S. A sixth summit will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 26 and 27 with participation from the Department of Justice and senior prosecutors from Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and more to be confirmed.

For further information on the national “Best Practices for Justice” initiative, please contact Kristine Hamann at khamann@bestpracticesforjustice.org

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