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Caribbean Anti-Crime Program Hosts Prosecution and Judicial Keep-In-Touch (KIT) Seminars

In April of 2024, INL’s Caribbean Anti-Crime (CAC) Program, implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), hosted Prosecution and Judicial Keep-in-Touch (KIT) Seminars. These virtual seminars aim to provide educational opportunities and a forum for sharing best practices for regional prosecutors and judicial officers.

Prosecution KIT - Trial Preparation: How to Win Your Case Before Trial

On April 25, 2024, NCSC convened its fifth virtual Prosecution KIT on effective trial preparation. This interactive seminar was led by the Director of Public Prosecutions of Barbados and attended by approximately 48 regional prosecutors.

Effective trial preparation is a crucial skill to learn as a prosecutor. Trials can be won or lost on the quality of trial preparation. This seminar on “how to win your case before trial” focused on best practices in trial preparation. As a highly distinguished prosecutor, Director Babb-Agard shared her extensive knowledge and experience on topics such as analyzing evidence, anticipating defenses, constructing legal arguments, assessing the pros and cons of the prosecution case, and engaging law enforcement and witnesses.

Donna Babb-Agard, SC, Director of Public Prosecutions of Barbados, presenting on Trial Preparation on April 25, 2024.

The presentation demonstrated that trial preparation is a skill that can be honed by continual practice, collaboration with investigators, effective documentation, and paying close attention to detail. Director Babb-Agard also highlighted the importance of maintaining professional integrity, having background knowledge of jurisprudence, and verifying information provided by defense attorneys.

Judicial KIT - Navigating Artificial Intelligence in the Courts

On April 26, 2024, NCSC hosted a Judicial KIT focused on navigating artificial intelligence in the courts. This seminar was led by NCSC Principal Court Management Consultants and the CAC Senior Data Visualization & Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor. The seminar was attended by 45 judicial officers from the region.

Jannet Okazaki, Court Management Consultant at NCSC, presenting on Navigating Artificial Intelligence on April 26, 2024.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making inroads into the legal system offering not only possibilities for increased efficiencies in court processes but also potential improvements to access to justice. This KIT examined what AI is, its potential future, its use in courts, and what courts can do to prepare for its impact including developing rules and policies for its use. AI in the courts can provide numerous benefits such as enhanced legal research, streamlined processes and increased accessibility. However, these benefits need to be balanced with challenges presented by AI, in particular, its potential to create bias which requires transparency, accountability, and human oversight to ensure that the justice system does not lose credibility from its citizens. The presenters highlighted several recent cases in which AI was used in both beneficial and nefarious ways.

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