The Appellate & Training Division provides support to the District Attorney’s Office in the areas of motion practice, appellate practice, legal research, policy, ethics, legislation, training, and public records. Deputy District Attorney James E. Atkins is the Division Chief and Deputy District Attorney Mark Amador is the Assistant Chief. In 2015, Deputy District Attorney Bryn Kirvin served as training director and as the office ethics coordinator, providing advice, assistance, and training to attorneys in matters relating to ethics and professionalism in and out of the courtroom. The division is also responsible for publishing helpful resources for this office and prosecutors’ offices across the state, notably Autobrief, which is edited by veteran Deputy District Attorney Craig Fisher.
Appellate prosecutors handle motions, appeals, and writ petitions. In addition, they serve as the legal advisor to the District Attorney’s Office, providing legal assistance to trial attorneys. Last year, appellate attorneys assisted with numerous motions, briefs, and oral arguments in the Superior Court, the Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court. In addition, they responded to hundreds of inquiries from prosecutors seeking legal advice. Attorneys in the division provided support for many high-profile cases and actively participated in the development of internal policies and procedures related to areas such as post-conviction discovery, public records requests, body-worn cameras, and the implementation of new laws and legal precedents.
Attorneys in the Appellate & Training Division also participated in the California District Attorneys Association, serving on the appellate, legislation, legal issues, and ethics committees. In 2015, the division responded to 79 California Public Records Act requests and 133 inter-agency requests for records and information.
On the training side, the division continues to dedicate itself to the development and coordination of high-quality, in-house training programs as a State Bar recognized MCLE provider. Deputy DA Kirvin, Assistant Training Director, Jim Kelly, and members of the Legal Training Advisory Committee devoted countless hours to successfully offer numerous in-house programs that provided attorneys and paralegals with continuing legal education requirements, allowing attorneys to maintain their license to practice law in California. Examples of these programs are two annual all-day training sessions, a one-day sex crimes and human trafficking seminar, a two-day discovery seminar, a four-day felony trial advocacy seminar, a two-day appellate seminar, and numerous office-wide live-stream lectures that targeted current legal issues.