R106 | Inside the District Attorney’s Office 

2:00 – 3:30 pm

9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21 & 10/28


Six Sessions 

This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.

District attorneys serve as the people’s prosecutor and their offices and approach to criminal justice have a profound effect on communities. Get the inside scoop on the inner workings of the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office in this course, as each week a different speaker addresses one of the many ways the office impact our lives, from the Domestic and Sexual Violence Taskforce to the recent Plea Tracker study.

Bryan House, moderator, is the Community Engagement and Outreach Director for the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Previously, he served as a deputy director with the Berkshire Community Action Council. He also serves on the Multicultural BRIDGE Race Task Force, the city of Pittsfield’s Personnel Review Board, the MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board and the boards of directors for United Cerebral Palsy of Western Massachusetts and Pittsfield Community Television.

Class Schedule

Thurs. Sept. 23: Inside the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and an Overview of the Court System, DA Andrea Harrington & Richard Dohoney.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington and Deputy District Attorney Richard Dohoney will outline the structure of the Berkshire County court system and the structure of the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office (BDAO). This class will provide students a comprehensive look at how the criminal justice system functions on the local level.

Thurs. Sept. 30: Lifecycle of a Criminal Case: Superior & Appellate Court Overview, Karen Bell & Jenn Zalnasky

Karen Bell, First Assistant District Attorney (ADA), will outline the various stages of a criminal cases in the Superior Court from inception to disposition.  ADA Bell will discuss how office the office vision of treatment over incarceration impacts Superior Court prosecutions. She will further discuss prosecutor’s ethical obligations including the office’s Brady policy.  

Jennifer Zalnasky, Chief of Appeals, will present about the Appellate Courts, and discuss key issues such as: how, when, and why appeals happen, who gets to appeal and who does not, and how cases get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thurs. Oct. 7: Specialized Units and Multidisciplinary Teams, Stephanie Ilberg & Megan Tesoniero

Stephanie Ilberg, Chief of the Child Abuse Unit, and Megan Tesoniero, Chief of the Special Victims Unit, will describe the makeup of BDAO’s specialized units and how they were created. These units include the Special Victims Unit (SVU), Child Abuse Unit (CAU), and the Domestic & Sexual Violence Task Force. Ilberg and Tesoniero will provide important insight on why multidisciplinary teams and specialized units are so effective, and explain how they ultimately support and advance the office’s priorities.

Thurs. Oct. 14: Victim’s Rights, Trauma-Informed Practices and the Role of the Victim/Witness Advocate (VWA), Lisa McCue

Lisa McCue, Head of Victim/Witness Services, will present about the Victim’s Bill of Rights (provided in the Resources section) and the role of a Victim/Witness advocate at the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office. McCue will discuss the importance of trauma-informed care in the Victim/Witness Unit, as well as her connection to the Domestic & Sexual Violence Task Force.

Thurs. Oct. 21: Guiding Principles for a Major Crime InvestigationDA Harrington & Ed Culver

For the final class of the semester, DA Harrington and Ed Culver, retired Massachusetts State Police Detective Lieutenant and current Special Investigator at BDAO, will outline the process of a major crime investigation. Culver will discuss common investigative steps, such as initial response to complex crime scenes, preparation and execution of search warrants, collecting evidence and conducting interviews and providing details about longer term investigative measures. Additionally, DA Harrington will address some of the big picture policy issues and share some of BDAO’s recent prosecution statistics.

Thurs. Oct. 28: Young People & the Criminal Justice System: Reform, Diversion & Youthful Behavior, Bryan House & Rich Dohoney

Bryan House, Director of Community Engagement and Diversion Coordinator, and Deputy DA Rich Dohoney will outline how the office handles youthful offender cases, and discuss how the 2018 Juvenile Justice Reform Bill in Massachusetts addresses youthful behavior in a more equitable, supportive and comprehensive way. House and Dohoney will focus particularly on the Juvenile Diversion Program, describing how it works but also how the office envisions it in the future.

*Class schedule is subject to change based on individual presenter’s availability; However, the scheduled dates will remain the same.


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