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DANY Academy


About the DANY Academy

In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (DANY) created the DANY Academy as a resource for professionals working at the intersection of law and public policy. The Academy supports ongoing criminal justice policy initiatives and also coordinates the efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Legal Training Unit and Advocacy-in-Writing Program, as well as other trainings. 

Additionally, the DANY Academy hosts symposia for professionals from throughout the criminal justice system, including prosecutors from other jurisdictions, law enforcement personnel, defense attorneys, judges, and researchers. Such events focus on broad and timely issues in criminal justice policy and provide a space for the constructive exchange of ideas. Recent DANY Academy events include a symposium on intelligence-driven prosecution attended by district attorneys and their staff from throughout the country, as well as a symposium for prosecutors, defense attorneys, and New York City drug court judges examining the role of addiction in the criminal justice system.

The DANY Academy’s events draw on the work and contributions of leading experts in the fields of criminal justice and public policy, with the goal of becoming a leading resource for both New York City prosecutors and other criminal justice professionals nationwide. 

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Recent DANY Academy Events

Internal Training: The Effects of Trauma on the Brain

In July, the Special Victim’s Bureau together with the DANY Academy hosted clinical psychologist and Harvard Medical School teaching associate Jim Hopper to speak to the Office's prosecutors about the effects of trauma on the brain. Dr. Hopper’s presentation cited his experience working as a consultant and expert witness for several cases involving military staff. Illustrating his points through videos and accompanying graphs, Dr. Hopper drew from scientific studies to answer questions like, “why do victims of trauma often forget the details of their assaults?” and “why don’t many trauma victims scream during their assaults?”  

Child Abuse Unit Conference

Linda Cordisco-Steele Addresses Prosecutors at Child Abuse Conference

In June, DANY's Child Abuse Unit hosted a conference focusing on preparing children who have been victims of abuse or trauma for trial and grand jury testimony. Approximately thirty prosecutors from all five boroughs were in attendance. The conference featured a presentation from Linda Cordisco-Steele, a Senior Trainer and Child Forensic Interview Specialist at the National Children’s Advocacy Center, which drew on a body of sociology research focused on creating effective techniques for interviewing young and adolescent children.

Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Symposium 

In March, the DANY Academy in partnership with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA), hosted the fifth Intelligence-Driven Prosecution (IDP) Symposium. DANY and SFDA hosted the fifth IDP Symposium in San Francisco to accommodate interest among West Coast jurisdictions. Content focused on IDP basics and replication, as this was many attendees’ first exposure to the IDP model. Attendees included prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals from throughout the country and featured a keynote speech from Charles Reno of the Denver Police Department. 

Human Trafficking Comprehensive Training Program

Also in March, DANY’s Human Trafficking Response Unit partnered with the NYPD to host a workshop aimed at increasing collaboration among New York City law enforcement professionals whose work focuses on human trafficking. The training event drew NYPD members and prosecutors from throughout the five boroughs, providing an opportunity to demonstrate how various offices deal with human trafficking cases and exploring various avenues for increasing collaboration. The event, which was hosted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, included presentations from the NYPD and New York City prosecutors’ offices. ADA Val Richey from the King County (WA) District Attorney’s Office as well as Detective Mike Garske from the Seattle Police Department also presented. 

Child Abuse Prosecution Symposium 

In January, the DANY Academy in partnership with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, hosted a second Child Abuse Prosecution Symposium, drawing prosecutors from around the country. Presenters included Mr. Rob Parrish, Salt Lake County (UT) District Attorney’s Office; Ms. Andra Chamberlin, National Children’s Advocacy Center; Mr. Tom Fallon, Dane County (WI) District Attorney’s Office; Ms. Karen Carvajal, Montgomery County (MD) Police Department; Mr. Justin Fitzsimmons, SEARCH Group; Ms. Rachel Mitchell, Maricopa County (AZ) District Attorney’s Office; and Dr. Barbara Knox, University of Wisconsin Child Protection Program.

Human Trafficking Hackathon 

DA Vance Addresses Hackathon Attendees

In October 2016, DANY’s Human Trafficking Response Unit partnered with Cornell University to host a "hackathon" that aimed to develop technical strategies to combat human trafficking. The event brought together around thirty Cornell graduate students from various fields who listened to presentations from professionals working to curb human trafficking. In addition to several ADAs and analysts from DANY’s Human Trafficking Response Unit, presenters included Lori Cohen, Sanctuary for Families; Rob Spectre, Twilio; and Wade Shen, DARPA.  Following the presentations, students were matched with professional mentors who, throughout the subsequent forty-eight hours, helped the students "code for a cause" by developing technical solutions to assist with DANY’s work in human trafficking.

Child Abuse Prosecution Symposium 

Dr. Lara Gordon of Weill Cornell Medical College Dr. Cindy Christian of the University of Pennsylvania

In July 2016, the DANY Academy in partnership with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, hosted the Child Abuse Prosecution Symposium. Prosecutors from the five boroughs, child abuse physicians, and NYPD members attended the event, which was held at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The audience heard presentations from leaders in medicine and law enforcement including Dr. Cindy Christian, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Margaret McHugh, New York University School of Medicine; Dr. Kristen Landi, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the City of New York; Dr. Margaret Hammerschlag, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Dr. Lara Gordon, Weill Cornell Medical College; Ms. Mary-Ann Burkhart, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; and Mr. Dermot Garrett, Montgomery County (MD) State’s Attorney’s Office. 

Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Symposium

Approximately 200 Law Enforcement Professionals from Across the U.S. Attend the June 2016 IDP Symposium

In June 2016, the DANY Academy hosted the fourth Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Symposium. Around 200 law enforcement professionals from around the country attended the event, which was hosted at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Lectures and workshops explored various elements of DANY’s Intelligence-Driven Prosecution model including violence reduction initiatives, proactive prosecutions, and reentry and initiatives. Presenters included prosecutors from around the country, Meg Reiss of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, Deputy NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, and Chief J. Scott Thomson of the Camden (NJ) Police Department. 

John Jay College President Jeremy Travis and District Attorney Vance ADA Kerry Chicon, Chief of the Crime Strategies Unit

Defense and Prosecutor Perspectives on Criminal Law and Practice

In May 2016, the DANY Academy partnered with the New York Council of Defense Lawyers to host “Defense and Prosecutor Perspectives on Criminal Law and Practice," a panel that explored current issues in criminal law and procedure. The panel included several DANY ADAs as well as Mr. Derek A. Cohen, Goodwin Proctor LLP; Mr. Michael C. Miller, Steptoe & Johnson LLP; and Mr. Thomas Rotko, Clayman & Rosenberg LLP. 

Drug Addiction and Criminal Justice Symposium

 Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Addresses Attendees at January's Drug Addiction and Criminal Justice Symposium 

In January 2016, DANY Academy hosted a Drug Addiction and Criminal Justice Symposium to examine drug addiction as a disease, and its role in crime and prosecutions. The event, which was held at the headquarters of the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, brought together prosecutors, defense attorneys, and drug court judges from across New York City. Attendees heard from experts in the field, including Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Dr. Hillary Kunins, Assistant Commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Dr. Joanne Csete, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; and Dr. Stephen Ross, NYU School of Medicine.

Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy, Executive Director of DANY Academy Dr. Joanne Csete, Dr. Stephen Ross, and Dr. Hillary Kunins

Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Symposium

DA Vance Speaks to Dozens of Prosecutors from Around the Country at a December IDP Symposium.

In December 2015, the Manhattan DA's Office's hosted its third Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Symposium for prosecutors interested in learning about the innovative crime-fighting strategies developed by the Crime Strategies Unit formed by DA Vance in 2010. The DANY Academy intiative helps prosecutors from diverse jurisdictions from coast-to-coast share best practices, resources, and expert insight, as well as collaborate on contemporary criminal justice issues.

ADA Kerry Chicon, Chief of the Crime Strategies Unit Executive Assistant District Attorney Chauncey Parker

Internal Trainings and Workshops

The DANY Academy has also recruited professionals to conduct trainings and present lectures on a variety of relevant criminal justice issues. Recent guests include Dr. Edward Latessa, University of Cincinnati; Dr. Jennifer Woolard, Georgetown University; Hon. William E. Jarvis, 31st Judicial District of Virginia; Dr. Ron Fisher, Florida International University; and Dr. Itiel Dror, University College London. Topics covered span a wide range including effective interviewing techniques, risk-needs-responsivity, and adolescent psychology.