Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General will lead a prosecutorial training seminar in Providence this week for prosecutors, forensic scientists and investigators from the Mexican states of Morelos and Hidalgo. In 2008, Mexico passed a series of federal constitutional reforms requiring oral adversarial criminal trials. The reforms give Mexican states until 2016 to implement the shift from a written inquisitorial system to the new oral adversarial system.
Leading the delegation from Mexico will be the Attorney General of the State of Morelos, Rodrigo Dorantes Salgado. Morelos is one of the four states in Mexico that has fully implemented the congressionally mandated transition to an adversarial criminal justice system in Mexico. Hidalgo started adversarial proceedings this month. “As Mexico continues its transition to an adversarial justice system, it is critical for us to provide guidance and training to ensure that a sound and fair judicial system is established. The United States of America has hundreds of years of ensuring justice through an adversarial system, and I am proud to provide an opportunity to collaborate with and train those charged with upholding Mexico’s system of law,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “By sharing our knowledge and expertise, we are helping Mexico build a judicial system in which its citizens can have confidence and trust.” Attorney General Peter Kilmartin will give opening remarks on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Throughout the week, prosecutors from the Office of Attorney General and others will lead trainings covering topics including prosecutorial ethics, securing the crime scene, investigative strategies, preparing a case for trial, direct and cross examining expert witnesses, and witness preparation. In addition, participants will observe proceedings in Providence Superior Court and visit the Office of the Medical Examiner where they will meet with forensic scientists from the Department of Health and a ballistics expert from the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory.
Several police departments will participate in the training including the Central Falls Police Department, the Pawtucket Police Department and the Rhode Island State Police. The seminar is part of an ongoing series of trainings by United States attorneys general developed by the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG). CWAG is a bipartisan organization comprised of the chief legal officers of states across the country. CWAG's primary function is to provide a forum for chief legal officers to cultivate knowledge, cooperate on concerns and coordinate actions to improve the quality of legal services in their states. In 2006, CWAG joined forces with various state and federal agencies, as well as numerous public and private sector entities, to form the CWAG Alliance Partnership – a cooperative justice program aimed at strengthening the legal systems of both the United States and Mexico. This CWAG program, funded by the Merida Initiative, includes participation from 42 U.S. state attorneys general, every Mexican jurisdiction, including each of the 31 states, the Federal District, the Military Justice system and the Federal Attorney General’s Office, the Council of State Governments (CSG), National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). CWAG Alliance Partnership projects focus on such initiatives as reinforcing court systems with greater efficiency and transparency; providing training programs that promote a consistent application of Rule of Law disciplines, such as oral advocacy; and promoting collaboration among state attorneys general from both countries. Additionally, CWAG Alliance Partnership Exchanges seek to bring together industry and public sector officials to foster increased binational collaboration on issues such as human trafficking, cybercrimes and intellectual property rights. The seminar is being held March 9th through 13th in Providence.