Erie County DA's Office Organizes Implicit Bias Training Course for Prosecutors & Public Defenders

Modified: July 22, 2020 10:23am

Latest News

Redirecting to our new, updated website ...

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announces that all Assistant District Attorneys in his office will complete an implicit bias training course. The course will be provided virtually by Buffalo City Court Judge Hon. Lenora Foote-Beavers this afternoon to all prosecutors and confidential criminal investigators in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office as well as public defenders from the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo.

Judge Foote-Beavers is currently assigned to the Domestic Violence Part of Buffalo City Court. She previously served as the Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff to the Presiding Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, Gerald J. Whalen. She was the first African-American and first Buffalonian to hold this position. Judge Foote-Beavers is also an adjunct professor in the Paralegal Department at SUNY Erie, teaching Family Law and Constitutional Law. Judge Foote-Beavers currently serves on the Bar Association of Erie County Diversity & Inclusion Committee Advisory Council and the Diversity Steering Committee for the Eighth Judicial District.

Implicit biases are unconscious and unintentional judgments based on stereotypes and past experiences, which can affect a person’s behavior and perpetuate discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age or disability.

Topics in the training may include: implicit and explicit bias, equal access to justice, serving a diverse population, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal profession, and sensitivity to cultural and other differences when interacting with members of the public, judges, jurors, litigants, attorneys and court personnel.

Experienced attorneys in New York State must complete 24 credit hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) every 2 years. Effective January 2018, it is required that one credit hour focus on diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias.

An in-person implicit bias training was scheduled for May 20, 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure social distancing and prevent the potential spread of the virus, the course was made available via WebEx.

“I continue to support any continuing education for prosecutors in my office. I believe this is the most important training to ensure that all people accused of a crime, no matter their race, gender, age, or identity, are prosecuted fairly,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.