DSO Training Events

Dueling Sovereigns: Making Sense of Primary and Secondary Custody

Date: January 26, 2021

When your client has both federal and state charges or sentences, it can get messy fast. This webinar will cover the basics of the primary/secondary custody doctrine, help you identify common pitfalls, and provide some practice pointers to help you effectively advocate for your clients when they are dealing with multiple charges and sentences.


Andrew Szekely is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Maryland, where he is also the Training Director. In his practice, he represents indigent individuals charged with federal felonies in all stages of litigation, from investigation through trial and sentencing. Prior to joining the Office of the Federal Public Defender, he was an Assistant Public Defender in the Anne Arundel County, Maryland Office of the Public Defender and spent time in private practice where he practiced in state and federal courts throughout Maryland and in the District of Columbia.

Start time is 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (10:00 AM PST).

Are You Stuck In The Waiting Place? How To Keep Things Moving (And Maybe Even Win Release) For Incompetent Clients

Date: January 14, 2021

Any public defender can find herself representing an incompetent client, whether it be in the context of a federal misdemeanor, felony, or revocation proceeding.  Incompetent clients are a sensitive group that requires special attention. These clients suffer from serious mental illnesses, are presumed innocent, and are not triable, yet in practice, they languish in federal prison seemingly indefinitely. As defense lawyers, we can’t enable the federal black hole of detention for these special people. Know the statutes and be an advocate for your client, so that you can help them navigate the federal system and in a way that actually helps them.

In this webinar, we will walk you through the mental health chapter of the U.S. Code and key cases that can help put pressure on the Government to discharge its responsibilities to your client in a timely fashion.  We’ll also discuss arguments to defeat civil commitment where it is unlawfully sought and provide template motions and other filings that can be used to secure your client’s release.  Let’s not drop the ball for these sensitive clients!


Joseph Craven, Senior Litigator, Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

Jaclyn Tarlton, Assistant Federal Defender, Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

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

Virtual Non-Capital Habeas Conference

Location: Washington, DC

Date: May 13 - 14, 2021

Please save the date and join us May 13-14, 2021 for a virtual non-capital habeas conference with a live component to (hopefully) follow later in the year. The virtual program will feature sessions for both advanced practitioners and those new to habeas. Details to follow in the coming months!

This virtual conference maybe eligible for CLE credit, where authorized, in all states that grant CLE for Training Division webinars.

Disrupting Ableism: Strategies For Supporting And Representing Disabled And Neurodiverse Clients

Date: December 03, 2020

The vast majority of people facing criminalization and incarceration are disabled, many in ways that affect their communication, understanding, or thought processes. Many disabled people may not be identified explicitly or accurately as disabled while they are entangled in the criminal legal system. Regardless, they are marginalized and targeted by a form of systemic, structural, and institutional discrimination and prejudice called ableism, which takes on particularly pernicious forms against Black, Native, and other people of color. Attorneys and legal professionals must understand how ableism manifests in the legal system, including in the attorney-client relationship; further, we all need practical strategies to recognize ableism in ourselves and others.

This presentation will provide an overview of ableism in the legal system and discuss strategies for effectively and respectfully working with disabled clients, especially those with often hidden disabilities such as many autistic and other neurodiverse people. We will focus in particular on addressing ableism and other prejudices in working with disabled clients who are marginalized by other factors such as race, gender, sexuality, class, immigration status, or religion.


Lydia X. Z. Brown, Founder & Director, Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, & Empowerment

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.