The Training and Special Projects Bureau oversees all legal training for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office from the newest member to its most experienced prosecutor. Training for an Assistant District Attorney begins before their first day and continues throughout their career.
As Chief of the Training and Special Projects Bureau, Mara L. McCabe serves on the Continuing Legal Education Board, which provides in-house legal training for the entire District Attorney’s Office.
The New York State Assembly and Senate passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform package relative to issues of bail, discovery, and speedy trial that became effective January 1, 2020. The Training and Special Projects Bureau is responsible for assisting with the implementation and training on these reforms both within the office and throughout the law enforcement community in Erie County.
The bureau oversees the implementation of discovery requirements under criminal justice reforms. Responsibilities include collecting evidence from various police agencies and utilizing new technology to digitally compile the information that will be provided to defense attorneys in compliance under the new legislation.
The Training and Special Projects Bureau is also responsible for screening every criminal case with a felony charge after the defendant’s initial arraignment in Buffalo City Court or another Justice Court in Erie County. Each felony case is reviewed to determine if the felony charge is appropriate, if the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor, or if other charges are applicable. Once reviewed, the matter is assigned to an assistant district attorney who will ultimately prosecute the case.
Outside of the office, this Bureau also coordinates legal training with local police departments as well as the police academy.