College of Law, National District Attorneys Association Announce New National Criminal Justice Academy

March 10, 2014—The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), located in Alexandria, Virginia, and the University of Utah announced today that the new National Criminal Justice Academy will open on March 10, 2014, and hold its first week-long course at the S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City, Utah. The academy was established to train district attorneys and assistant prosecutors from across the country and was formerly located in Columbia, South Carolina. After a nationwide search to find a new location, Salt Lake City, Utah was selected by the NDAA’s 105 board members for its combination of excellent skills training, expertise in criminal law, and inviting, easily accessible location.

(photo left to right) Professor Paul Cassell, NDAA Executive Director Scott Burns, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Interim Dean Robert Adler.

College of Law administrators and faculty have worked with NDAA’s Executive Director Scott Burns for the past three years to make this partnership a reality. While housed in South Carolina, the NDAA had an annual budget of $5 million and provided training to as many as 1,000 prosecutors annually in areas ranging from courtroom skills to the prosecution of homicide, child abuse and domestic violence cases.

Henry Garza, District Attorney of Bell County, Texas and president of the NDAA said, “This is beyond exciting for America’s prosecutors, and we are excited at the prospect of Salt Lake City becoming the home for training thousands of prosecutors over the next decade.”

Interim Dean Bob Adler of the S.J. Quinney College of Law added, “We are delighted that NDAA has chosen to partner with us to provide training for prosecutors across the country. America’s prosecutors face difficult challenges in an increasingly complex system of criminal justice. Working in tandem with the NDAA, the College of Law can help provide training to meet these challenges. At the same time, these training programs will benefit our faculty and students as we bring both veteran and newer prosecutors to our campus.”

Professor Paul Cassell echoed this sentiment, stating, “As a former prosecutor and someone who has worked closely with prosecutors on criminal justice issues, I am excited about our new collaborative venture. It promises to bring the academic perspective that the University of Utah has to offer together with the real world experience of some of the best prosecutors in the country to provide exceptional training programs.”

Burns said, “Nine different week-long courses are currently scheduled at the Academy over the next year and participants will receive instruction from a faculty drawn from the best prosecutors across the country.”

The academy is currently funded by a $1.175 million grant from the Department of Justice, which pays for participants’ airfare, lodging and per diem while they are in Salt Lake City. The NDAA, University of Utah, National Association of Attorneys General, American Bar Association and district attorneys from across the country are currently working to sustain permanent funding for the academy and to make Salt Lake City the training home of America’s prosecutors.