Prosecutors enhance Trial Skills in Austin


(AUSTIN) For one week, new prosecutors from across Texas gathered for intensive training to prepare them to represent the State in criminal courts.

James Perl and Michael Ulak, assistant district attorneys from Matagorda County, were among those learning about every stage of trial.

Perl and Ulak were among the prosecutors attending the Prosecutor Trial Skills Course in Austin for a week beginning July 14.

“The segment which covered hearings on motions to suppress” was the most valuable according to Perl.

“Motions to suppress evidence are filed by defense counsel when there is some question about the legality of evidence;” according to District Attorney Steven Reis, “particularly when it applies to confessions or other statements by a person charged with a crime.”

How to defend that type of evidence is what Perl found to be the most interesting part of the training.

Volunteer trainers came from prosecution offices throughout Texas, according to Reis

“James and Mike learned from people like Jarvis Parsons, the District Attorney in Bryan, as well as Bill Wirskye and Kevin Petroff, the first assistants in McKinney and Galveston,” said Reis.

“These and other trainers at the course are prosecutors who have worked on some of the most significant cases in Texas,” he said, “and shared their time and experience for a week with new attorneys such as ours.”

According to its training materials, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) hosts this training twice each year.

“TDCAA is the best prosecutor association in the U.S.,” said Reis. “It not only provides quality education but also has a publication division which produces books and materials relied upon by defense lawyers, judges, and law enforcement agencies in addition to prosecutors.”

“Texans are fortunate to have this association of dedicated criminal justice professionals,” said Reis, “and our county is fortunate that we can rely upon TDCAA to enhance criminal justice through its training.”

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