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2018 Public Defense Training: Defending Rhode Island – Investigations to Trial

Defending Rhode Island: Investigation to Trial Training 
April 5-6, 2018 

This program is designed to provide attendees with an in-depth examination of how to thoroughly prepare their cases for trial. The training will educate investigators and social workers about interview techniques, implicit and cognitive bias, and advise on best practices for conducting social media investigations. For attorneys, this curriculum will cover implicit and cognitive bias, and reliability concerns inherent in cases involving eyewitness identification. In small groups attorneys will also have an opportunity to practice impeaching and cross examining witnesses, test voir dire techniques before live jurors, and try out oral advocacy methods in a mock bench trial setting. 

Attorneys can register for one or both days of the program. About two weeks prior to the commencement of the program, registrants will receive an email permitting them to sign up for small group workshops. Due to space limitations, if you register and find that you are unable to attend please notify us of your change in plans by emailing us at pdtraining@nacdl.org. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at pdtraining@nacdl.org

*This training is limited to public defenders and counsel taking court appointed cases.* 


Program Agenda

The program agenda is subject to change. Please check back here for the latest program information.

Thursday, April 5, 2018 - Investigator/Social Worker Track 
9:15 - 9:45  Registration opens for Investigators/Social Workers 
9:45 - 10:00 Opening Remarks and Program Format 
10:00 - 11:00 Investigators Session: Interviewing Techniques
Sidney Thaxter (Bronx, NY) & Elena Arons (Bronx, NY) 

Social Work & Holistic Defense
Caitlin Becker (Bronx, NY) 
11:00 - 12:00 Invstigators Session: Interviewing in Eyewitness Cases
Sidney Thaxter (Bronx, NY) & Elena Arons (Bronx, NY) 

Written Mitigation Techniques
Caitlin Becker (Bronx, NY) 
12:00 - 1:30 Lunch 
1:30 - 2:30 Implicit and Cognitive Bias (Joint Session with Attorneys)
Bonnie Hoffman (Washington, DC) 
2:30 - 3:30 Investigators Session: Online and Social Media Investigations 
Sidney Thaxter (Bronx, NY) & Elena Arons (Bronx, NY) 
3:30 - 3:45 Break 
3:45 - 5:00 Defense Social Work & Oral Advocacy
Caitlin Becker (Bronx, NY) 
Thursday, April 5, 2018 - Attorney Track 
1:00 - 1:30 Registration Opens for Attorneys 
1:30 - 2:30 Implicit and Cognitive Bias (Joint Session with Investigators/Social Workers)
Bonnie Hoffman (Washington, DC) 
2:30 - 3:30 Cross-Examination
Fred Friedman (Duluth, MN) 
3:30 - 3:45 Break 
3:45 - 5:00 Voir Dire
Tom Ullmann (New Haven, CT) 
Friday April 6, 2018 - Attorney Track 
8:00 - 8:30 Registration 
8:30 - 9:30 Impeachment
Fred Friedman (Duluth, MN) 
9:30 - 11:30 Small Group Cross Exam and Impeachment Workshop
John Calcagni (Providence, RI), Renee Spence (Washington, DC), Bonnie Hoffman (Washington, DC), Fred Friedman (Duluth, MN), Radha Natarajan (Boston, MA), & Karen Smolar (Bronx, NY) 
11:30 - 12:45 Lunch 
12:45 - 1:45 Eyewitness Identification and Memory Science
Radha Natarajan (Boston, MA) 
1:45 - 2:45 Bench Trial Persuasion
John Calcagni (Providence, RI) 
2:45 - 3:00 Break 
3:00 - 4:45 Small Group Voir Dire Workshop

Small Group Bench Trial Workshop 
4:45 - 5:00 Evaluations and Closing Remarks 

*Participants will pre-register for small group workshops. Assignments will be based on preference and available space.

Seminar Faculty
  • Elena Arons (Bronx, NY)
  • Caitlin Becker (Bronx ,NY)
  • John Calcagni (Providence, RI)
  • Fred Friedman (Duluth, MN)
  • Bonnie Hoffman (Washington, DC)
  • Radha Natarajan (Boston, MA)
  • Renee Spence (Washington, DC)
  • Sidney Thaxter (Bronx, NY)
  • Thomas Ullman (New Haven, CT)
CLE Credits

NACDL will be filing for approval in RI only. Only RI licensed attorneys will be able to receive credit.


Community College of Rhode Island, Knight Campus
400 East Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886

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