By Melinda Rogers
At a time when reports of sexual assault in the U.S. military continue to receive national attention, military attorneys who regularly handle such cases in military court will receive advanced training at a two-week seminar scheduled at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
The Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Sexual Assault Trial Advocacy Course (SATAC) will commence at the U’s law school July 18 and concludes on July 29. At the training, 16 military prosecutors, 16 military defense attorneys and 16 special victim’s counsel will focus on trial advocacy and receive advanced training on trying sexual assault cases in military courts from a wide range of faculty. Participants are arriving from all over the U.S. and from military bases in Korea, Germany and other places abroad, said Major Rick B. Mathew, a training officer at the Trial Counsel Assistance Program in Virginia.
“Sexual assault trials are a significant portion of the military justice docket. They are important cases for the U.S. Army, which has placed a great focus the response to sexual assault,” Mathew said. “The training is designed so attorneys can gain more experience in advanced trial advocacy skills through taking part in realistic, adversarial exercises against their counterparts. At the end of the training, attorneys are able to walk away better able to serve their clients, whether it be the government, the victims, or the accused.”
Mathew said the U.S. Army chose the S.J. Quinney College of Law because the newly opened facility offers classrooms and courtrooms equipped with the technology that lends itself to a quality educational experience for participants working on heightening their advocacy skills.
Mathew noted the training occurs only once a year and is unique in bringing together prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims’ counsel to train together.
University of Utah law professors Linda Smith and Jensie Anderson are among faculty members who are offering their expertise to the training. Smith will be teaching a half-day seminar on client interviewing and counseling. Anderson will be speaking about innocence.
The University of Utah is pleased to host the training, said S.J. Quinney College of Law Dean Robert Adler. The College of Law has consistently received top rankings for public service and public interest law and the military training on campus is emblematic of the public service ideals the law school promotes through its programs.
“We are truly delighted to host the JAG Corps in its annual attorney training efforts. The new law school building has a world class simulation training center, and is a perfect venue for this kind of professional training,” said Adler. “We are also gratified that we can support such an important part of JAG’s mission, to address the issue of sexual assaults in the military.”