DSO Training Events

Webinar: #illegalimages: The Psychology of Child Pornography Offenses

Date: November 04, 2020

This presentation will review psychological and technological concepts relevant to the defense team’s representation in child pornography cases. The presenters will discuss how psychological, sexual, and technological factors combine to create a perfect storm that facilitates illegal online sexual behavior. The workshop will emphasize the mitigating factors applicable to sentencing hearings based on the latest psychological research regarding risk, recidivism, and the client's amenability to treatment. The discussion will include the necessary elements of psychosexual reports and risk assessments helpful in child pornography cases.


Dr. David Delmonico, Professor, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Elizabeth Griffin, MA, LMFT, Director of Internet Behavior Consulting, Minneapolis, MN

Webinar: #onlinesexcrimes: Understanding The Child Online Solicitation Offender

Date: November 12, 2020

This presentation will introduce defense teams to psychological and technological concepts relevant in online child solicitation cases, including sting operations. The session will emphasize the mitigating factors applicable at sentencing hearings based on the latest psychological research regarding risk and recidivism of online child solicitation offenders. How people charged with these offenses generally differ from those charged with child pornography will also be discussed. The presenters will also discuss the necessary elements of psychosexual reports and risk assessments helpful in child online solicitation cases.


Dr. David Delmonico, Professor, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Elizabeth Griffin, MA, LMFT, Director of Internet Behavior Consulting, Minneapolis, MN

The Andrea Taylor Sentencing Advocacy Workshop – Virtual Style

Location: Virtual Program

Date: December 07 - 15, 2020

The Andrea Taylor Sentencing Advocacy Workshop focuses on a vital area of federal practice that has evolved since the Supreme Court declared the federal sentencing guidelines were advisory and no longer mandatory. Since approximately 97% of federal criminal cases continue to the sentencing phase, participation in the Sentencing Advocacy Workshop should not be missed. The Sentencing Advocacy Workshop teaches a comprehensive approach to sentencing where participants are trained to develop persuasive, fact-based, sentencing theories, and are provided with the advocacy skills necessary to advance their theories both in writing and during sentencing hearings. Presentations and demonstrations at the workshop include client-centered communication, interviewing for mitigation, fact busting, developing persuasive theories and themes, storytelling at sentencing, persuasive writing, and persuasive presentation.

This first ever virtual iteration of the workshop consists of live-webinar presentations, pre-recorded videos, and small group breakout sessions. In the small group sessions, participants will use pending cases of their own to bust the facts, develop theories and themes, practice storytelling, persuasively write part of their sentencing memorandums and discuss how best to conduct sentencing hearings.

Please note that due to the workshop format of this program, participants must commit to attend all parts of this workshop, i.e., live webinars, pre-recorded videos, and small group breakouts.

Enrollment for this program is limited to 60 participants – priority will be given to those people who have not attended this workshop in the past.

Webinar: The Racist Origins of Illegal Reentry (and How to Challenge Them in Your Practice)

Location: Washington, DC

Date: October 15, 2020

The original law criminalizing illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. 1326 grew out of a disturbing time in history marked by the rise of eugenics, the Ku Klux Klan, and deeply nativist sentiments. This session tells the story behind the passage of the first illegal reentry law, the racial motives underlying it, and why it's important for defenders to confront these issues today. Attendees will also receive practical tips for challenging this racist past through a motion to dismiss on equal protection grounds and sentencing memorandum, complete with sample briefing. 


Kara Hartzler, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., San Diego, CA

Nora Hirozawa, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., San Diego, CA

Start time is 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

This webinar may be eligible for CLE credit, where authorized. Applications are pending in all states that grant CLE for Training Division webinars.

Grit: A Workshop to Energize, Elevate and Educate Women in Public Defense

Location: Virtual Program

Date: October 19 - 29, 2020

Grit is a workshop designed by women and about women. If you seek community, growth, inspiration and time for reflection and goal setting, Grit is for you.

Who may register?

We welcome lawyers from federal defender offices or who are on CJA panels in any Federal District.

Program description

Women in indigent criminal defense have many successes to celebrate and also face unique challenges. Participants in this small, women-focused course will find an active, collaborative, supportive community. This training will address a variety of topics as experienced by women including the journey to criminal defense work, developing one’s professional identity, identifying leadership goals, navigating client relationships, ethical quandaries, challenges, sexual harassment, vicarious trauma, work-life balance, self-care practices and more.

Participants will hear about these topics from inspiring women in federal indigent defense and the judiciary who have made their mark in this profession. They will also have opportunities in small groups to explore these topics through structured exercises, assessment tools and conversation with the goal of enhancing effectiveness as a defender while maintaining balance and authenticity in one’s personal life. Participants will learn about scientific research on the impact of stress and tension on performance and will have opportunities to sample wellness practices.

Whether you are at the beginning of your career or further along and hitting your stride, assuming leadership roles and maybe facing a roadblock, this workshop is for you. It is introspective, retrospective and prospective. By the end of this training, participants will appreciate anew how the Grit community is large and welcoming, fiercely committed to the mission and absolutely essential to the profession. Participants will set professional goals, learn strategies for handling challenges that arise and strengthen a network of colleagues upon whom they can depend.

Program design & time expectations for participants

Grit is a workshop that engages participants in multiple ways over the course of 11 days. We will have live, moderated panel discussions and a concluding presentation with an interactive component. Certain presentations will be shared via pre-recorded video. Other course materials—additional videos, other media and self-assessment tools—will be posted in a learning management system, permitting participants to watch and read them at their own pace. Participants are expected to provide feedback in a variety of ways on content that they have watched and read. Synchronous learning will also be composed of several live small group sessions led by skilled co-facilitators.

Throughout Grit we will dedicate time to mindfulness exercises. These improve information processing, decision-making, concentration and productivity. We invite you to find a peaceful place and join us throughout the program for highly beneficial activities such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, qigong and a gratitude practice.

Registration process

We have a limited number of spots in this workshop. Our expectation is that each participant will complete all asynchronous segments (12-15 hours) and be present at all live group sessions (10 hours).


This program may satisfy CLE requirements in professionalism, ethics, health/ substance abuse/mental & physical issues, elimination of bias, inclusion and cultural competency.

Webinar: Are you an Ally? An Interactive Panel

Date: October 07, 2020

Being anti-racist is critical to our role in advocating for our clients, investigating and developing our cases, and appropriately communicating with clients and their families. We must be empowered to have productive conversations about race as part of this advocacy. This session will explore our personal preparedness to engage in these conversations and advocacy through discussing what it means to be an ally. This session will also explore the differences between authentic and performative allyship, implicit bias, and our roles as allies and advocates inside and outside of the courtroom.

Tamara Mulembo, Assistant Federal Defender & Visiting Attorney Advisor, Defender Services Office Training Division, Washington, DC