Each year, the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA), Inc conducts its Defender Institute Basic Trial Skills Program at Rensselaer. This year's program will be held on June 3rd.
The New York State Defenders Association, a not-for-profit, membership organization, has been providing support to New York's criminal defense community since 1967. Its mission is to improve the quality and scope of publicly supported legal representation to low income people.
Each year, Rensselaer employees have volunteered to participate as "jurors" in this training process. Rensselaer employees must have explicit approval from their supervisor to participate in this training exercise.
NYSDA states: "We have found that using members of the public as jurorshelps us achieve a realistic learning experience. We need real people from all walks of life who can be questioned in a simulated courtroom environment, and we are asking you to allow any willing employee to serve as a volunteer for this jury selection exercise."
Jurors can serve all day, in the morning from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., or in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Volunteers will not only help train young public defenders, but will also get a keen insight into how juries are selected in criminal trials. The response from volunteers in previous years has been overwhelmingly positive.
Volunteering employees should complete a set of response forms and questionnaires (PDF) and return them by May 16th to:
New York State Defenders Association
194 Washington Ave, Suite 500
Albany, NY 12210
Please direct all questions and inquiries to the above contact.