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ULM Criminal Defense Training Academy setting the foundation for all

Published February 28, 2023


MONROE, LA Since its creation in July 2022, by State Senator Katrina Jackson, the ULM Criminal Defense Training Academy (CDTA) alongside the Louisiana Public Defenders Board (LPDB) has taught public defenders, investigators, social workers, and students all over the state on subjects important to the justice system. These subjects have included direct and cross-examination, obtaining records, initial interviewing, and voir dire.  

Dr. Pamela Saulsberry, Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Social Work, emphasized the importance to “increase the understanding of how policies and practices in the United States results in disparities and disproportionality in the criminal justice system. Understanding is critical to reform.”  

With over 300 participants so far, the Academy is laying the foundation and blueprint for statewide criminal defense training and its importance in ensuring that the best representation is given to all clients. Rémy Starns, Executive Director of the LPDB, remarked, “I am excited about this first of its kind partnership between the Louisiana Public Defender Board and ULM.” He also stressed, “The future of public defense and criminal justice reform involves breaking down barriers and fully integrating with higher education and public health.” 

Trainings will continue to be held multiple times a month with online Zoom options and in-person options on ULM’s campus. The CDTA invites all students, faculty, and staff interested in criminal defense, social work, or investigation to attend these trainings. Starns added more praise to this initiative, saying, “ULM has tremendous faculty, staff, facilities, and the desire to help us train public defenders and investigators.”  

In addition to training specific to criminal defense, the program provides budgeting and management courses.  Also, three sessions on grant writing will be provided by ULM Associate Professor Leigh N. Hersey, Ph.D. throughout March and April. "Learning more about the grant writing process will help bring resources to our communities and improve the criminal justice process," said Dr. Hersey, instructor for these sessions. "There are many small grants available that can make a huge difference for many areas.” 

Sessions provided on skills necessary and crucial to investigators are taught by ULM Criminal Justice Program Coordinator and Graduate Coordinator Dr. Robert Hanser.  He commented, “Persons investigating details of criminal cases to aid the defense need to be trained in techniques to acquire relevant facts and information; this program is intended provide individuals with the fundamental skills to do so.” 

All training courses available through May 2023 are listed below. All ULM students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend at no cost. For more information, please contact: hawkinam@warhawks.ulm.edu 


Grant Writing: Laying The Foundation (Zoom) 

March 15th, 2023 

1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Obtaining Records (Zoom) 

March 22nd, 2023 

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Motions (ULM)  

March 24th, 2023 

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Grant Writing: Building The Narrative (Zoom) 

April 5th, 2023 

1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Sexual Assault Cases (ULM) 

April 18th, 2023 

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Grant Writing: Evaluating and Reporting on Grant Funded Projects (Zoom) 

April 19th, 2023 

1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Substance Use Impact Criminal Defense (Zoom) 

May 10th, 2023 

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Argument (ULM) 

May 16th, 2023 

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Report Writing for the Court  (Zoom) 

May 17th, 2023 

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.