September 2012

CWAG Alliance Partnership's Third Binational Attorney General Exchange

Anaheim, California, July 24 to 26, 2012



14 U.S. state Attorneys General and 17 Mexican state Attorneys General participated in the Binational Exchange, in addition to 14 U.S. Federal Government representatives; 9 Mexican Federal Government representatives, including Federal Attorney General Marisela Morales; 1 El Salvador Federal representative; 25 other U.S. state-level participants; and 9 other Mexican state-level participants.


Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield welcomed the participants and shared his thoughts on the importance of state-to-state level relationships in the fight against transnational crime.


Binational panels addressed topics of mutual interest such as Chain of Custody, Advances in Legal Reforms in Mexico, Money Laundering, Intellectual Property, Human Trafficking, and Plea Bargaining.


CWAG Recognized with National Award 
The CWAG Alliance Partnership is a recipient of the 2012 Cross-Border Cooperation and Innovation Award from the Border Research Partnership, which includes Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies (ASU-NACTS) and the Woodrow Wilson Center, among others. CWAG received the award at the "Recognizing the Strength of the 21st Century Border" conference in Tempe, Arizona, on September 24th. The award honors bi-national collaboration and innovation in public safety and other fields.
 Shared Border Art 2

Avoiding Office Communism:

Distributing New Cases Among Prosecutors

-By Frank Collins, CWAG Legal Advisor


Almost a decade ago, when I was working as a deputy county attorney, I was sitting in my office staring at the stacks of cases strewn about my desk, shelves and floor. I worked hard to resolve those cases, usually through plea agreements or trial. For that hard work, I was rewarded . . . with more cases. Yes, for every case resolved, I was given a new one.


The good thing was, the more cases I moved, the more money I made, just like in the private sector, right? No. I was a prosecutor. We don't make money on each case.


How did this case assignment system work? The office received submittals, determined how many cases each attorney currently had and distributed the new submittals to those with the lowest number of cases.


Some might say choosing to be a prosecutor requires you to accept this burden as a selfless public servant. But those people are ignoring human nature, and more importantly, missing the bigger picture.


Some prosecutors may accept the load and never falter. Others will grow weary after time. And-while I believe it's a minority-some may actually drag their feet on easy cases to slow the influx of new cases. I would argue that none of these results are good for an office. It punishes hard work, rewards delay and may breed resentment. That's no way to run an office!


Let's get back to the pile of cases on my desk all those years ago. I went to the county attorney and fervently argued against our "office communism." He listened . . . and agreed. Not long after, the new submittals were distributed evenly among the prosecutors (with exceptions for large or difficult cases). The prosecutors knew that they would be treated equally and bore the responsibility to manage their caseloads.


The new system changed behaviors. Industrious prosecutors had even more reason to move cases and those few less-than-industrious types were compelled to change their thinking. In the end, it resulted in a better, more efficient office.
For more Office Administration tips, contact Frank Collins, CWAG Legal Advisor

Mentoring Prosecutors:

Preparing Cases for Oral Trial

CWAG AP Legal Advisor Frank Collins met with the Baja California Attorney General's Office in August 2012 for an oral trial case management mentoring program in Mexicali, Baja California.


In Mexicali, Baja California, Collins consulted with prosecutors on four different felony cases: child molestation, sexual assault, illegal eviction and theft of a vehicle/police misconduct. The consultation strategy focused on how to prepare the cases for the oral trial phase of the prosecution. Collins worked with the prosecutor in charge to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the case, identify additional investigation needed, assess the integrity of existing evidence, evaluate the potential for additional charges, anticipate defense tactics, prepare the state's witnesses, and interview defense witnesses.


Participants reacted enthusiastically to the consultations, and predicted better outcomes at trial after the consultations. "It is very important to continue counting on the support of the [CWAG Alliance Partnership] program, because even though it's been two years since implementation [of oral trials], we still encounter questions of how to behave or what to do in certain cases, since every day we have to deal with something new. And the support that we have always received has been invaluable and they really try to help us become better prosecutors, and in doing so, better represent the victims in the courts, by sharing their knowledge with us." ~HNL, Mexicali Prosecutor.


For a case consultation, contact Frank Collins, CWAG Legal Advisor.

Visit the CWAG Alliance Partnership Website

CWAG Alliance Partnership Programs

The CWAG Alliance Partnership facilitates collaboration between U.S. and Mexican state Attorneys General's Offices. Available services include:

  • Contacts Database
    • Comprehensive, sortable contact information for people involved with AP trainings, meetings and events
  • Quick-Response Contact Information
    • Direct contacts within the U.S. and Mexican AGO's for help on specific cases
  • Case Consulting
    • Help preparing a case for oral trial, from investigation to arguments, by an experienced U.S. criminal prosecutor
  • Office Reviews/Efficiency Audits
    • A team of experts observes and advises on processes and procedures, to help address a specific issue or give a general perspective
  • Best Practices Consulting
    • Experienced professionals share hard-earned knowledge about relevant matters
2012 Training Schedule

Oral Advocacy Skills for Prosecutors

  • October 9-11: Mixed Model Distance Learning Broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Zacatecas, Zac.
  • November 12-16: Live Training in Mexico City with Mixed Model Distance Learning in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.
  • November 27-30: Live Training in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with Mixed Model Distance Learning in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

*Schedule subject to change. Contact us for the latest schedule.

Issue: 2012-3
In This Issue
Anaheim AG Exchange
Crossborder Award
Case Distribution Tips
Case Consultations
CWAG AP Website
Money Laundering
Human Trafficking
CWAG Chair Selects Money Laundering as 2012 Initiative 

CWAG Chair, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, announced that her Chair's Initiative for the upcoming year will focus on Anti-Money Laundering efforts through private/public partnerships.

CWAG has worked with the Governments of Mexico and the United States to enhance the Rule of Law in Mexico for the past 6 years.


As such, the Attorneys General have recognized the issue of money laundering as viewed threw a lens of fighting Transnational Organized Crime, specifically Mexican Cartels.


Organized crime deals in illegal drugs, arms, counterfeit goods, humans and many other illicit activities. While these groups deal in a wide variety of crimes, they have one thing in common: money laundering.


General Cortez Masto invites the private sector to provide information and input by way of a Public/Private Anti-Money Laundering communications network.

California and Mexico to Collaborate on Human Trafficking


CWAG Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez signed an accord to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in the trafficking of human beings.
The accord will increase coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs that engage in the sale and trafficking of human beings across the California-Mexico border.
"California and Mexico are together taking steps to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks that traffic human beings into our state as if they were just another commodity," said General Harris. "Targeting transnational gangs is a vital component of our efforts to protect public safety in California."
CWAG Interpreter Publishes Bilingual Legal Dictionary 
A long-time collaborator with the CWAG Alliance Partnership, José Luis Leyva has published a concise and accurate bilingual legal dictionary, "


For all information and requests, contact:


Alejandra Caraveo

AP Program Liaison

Cell: 303.304.9206




Frank Collins

AP Legal Advisor

Cell: 602.505.2927

Ágora Magazine is published by the US Northern Command, the Department of Defense's unified homeland security command. Their area of operations includes all of North America, and as part of their outreach, they publish the magazine in English and Spanish to highlight topics of interest to Mexican government and law enforcement.


You can subscribe at no cost on their website:

This material was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.
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State Alliance Partnership


Council of State Governments


Border Legislative Conference


Border Governors' Conference


Southwest Border Alliance


National Association of Attorneys General


United States Agency for International Development


US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement


North American Center for Transborder Studies at ASU


Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars 

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The CWAG Alliance Partnership promotes the Rule of Law in Mexico, offering a forum for strengthening relationships between U.S. and Mexican State Attorneys General, and providing oral advocacy training in support of Mexico's constitutionally mandated criminal justice system reforms. 

Karen White, Executive Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General Alliance Partnership