Updates from the CWAG Alliance Partnership
2016 Binational Attorney General Exchange

CWAG will celebrate the 2016 Binational Attorney General Exchange, from July 16-18 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield, Mexico Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, 13 Mexican and 14 US State Attorneys General, along with other partners from the government and private sectors, are expected to join the event.
AGs Zamarripa and Brnovich
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Signs MOUs with PGR, Guanajuato AGO

CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona recently signed a Letter of Intent with the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR) to establish a law enforcement partnership aimed at fighting violent crime between Arizona and Mexico. "Collaboration with our southern neighbors is critical for the investigation and prosecution of drug, human, and sex trafficking," said General Brnovich. "This agreement is another important step in building a strong relationship with our Mexican law enforcement partners to promote the Rule of Law on both sides of the border."
General Brnovich also traveled to Guanajuato to visit with Attorney General Carlos Zamarripa to sign an MOU between the two states, and for meetings with various members of the AGO and Public Security forces in Guanajuato. Generals Brnovich and Zamarripa were also able to meet with the Governor of Colima to discuss their involvement in the CWAG Alliance Partnership programming, during his visit to the city of Leon.
"Having General Brnovich take the initiative to formalize relationships with our counterparts in Mexico not only enhances binational collaboration, but demonstrates a deep commitment to ensuring safety, security and a robust rule of law for constituents in both the US and Mexico," said Lauren Niehaus, Deputy Director, Conference of Western Attorney General's Alliance Partnership.
Participants in Idaho

Interdisciplinary Exchanges Continue to Build Bridges

In April, 20 prosecutors, investigators and forensic scientists from the states of Aguascalientes, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato and Morelos gathered in Boise, Idaho, for an Interdisciplinary Exchange. The group received presentations and carried out practical exercises from a variety of experienced Idaho and Arizona law enforcement personnel, including the processing of a mock crime scene. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden inaugurated the exchange, along with the Consul of Mexico in Boise Celso Humberto Delgado Ramírez, and later invited the participants to his home to enjoy a dinner with his family.
In Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico, 4 experienced US instructors carried out a simultaneous mixed-model distance learning Interdisciplinary Exchange, with a group of 46 prosecutors, investigators and forensic scientists from the state attorney general's office. The participants experienced video lectures transmitted from Boise, Idaho, and hands-on practical exercises with the visiting U.S. instructors.
In June, 19 prosecutors, investigators and forensic scientists from the states of Jalisco, Baja California, Sonora, Morelos and Chihuahua gathered in Phoenix, Arizona, for an Interdisciplinary Exchange. In addition to presentations and practical exercises with experienced Arizona law enforcement prosecutors and investigators, the group had the opportunity to observe a capital murder case at the Maricopa County Superior Court, and meet with various judges for discussions surrounding the trial process in the U.S.
Dinner with the Wasdens
Sharing the New Criminal Justice System with the Legal Community in San Luis Potosi

On May 12th, the CWAG Alliance Partnership and the San Luis Potosi Attorney General's Office presented a one-day conference "Forum on Oral Trials: A New Way of Doing Justice in San Luis Potosí," which brought together some 200 members of the legal community together to learn about oral trials from experienced US litigators, and observe a mock trial enacted by personnel from the state Attorney General's Office, Public Defender's Office and Judiciary. The audience included personnel from the Attorney General's Office, the Judiciary, the Public Defender's Office, the Committee for the Implementation of the New Criminal Justice System, law school students and faculty, local bar associations and private attorneys. Attorney General Federico Garza Herrera inaugurated the event, which featured presenters John Haroldson, District Attorney of Benton County, Oregon; Frank Collins, CWAG Legal Advisor; and Anthony Da Silva, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice. The event was also broadcast live via internet, and the recording is available at http://livestream.com/CWAGchannel/SanLuisPotosi, where it has been seen by more than 900 unique viewers.
Direct Connect: AG to AG Collaborations
New Mexico and Sonora

On June 15th, CWAG Alliance Partnership staff facilitated a direct connection between New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and Sonora Attorney General Rodolfo Montes de Oca. The contact resulted in a successful collaboration to apprehend suspect Juan David Villegas Hernandez, who murdered his wife and four children at their home in Roswell, New Mexico, on June 11th, and who had fled to his hometown of Arizpe in the state of Sonora, Mexico. The Generals were able to connect to ensure the safe, rapid capture and continued detention of the suspect, who will face formal extradition proceedings through the PGR and US Department of Justice.
Tabasco and California

Beginning on April 7, 2016, CWAG facilitated collaboration between state authorities in Tabasco and California on the hunt for a suspect in an active child sex abuse case. The case gained national attention in Mexico after a video of a man inappropriately touching a young girl in a restaurant was circulated on social media. The Tabasco Attorney General requested assistance from CWAG to connect with investigators at the California Department of Justice to attempt to confirm information that the suspect lives in Los Angeles. CWAG put the Tabasco AGO in direct contact with the California Department of Justice Foreign Prosecutions Liaison Unit, who were quickly able to determine that the person living in California was not, in fact, the person in the video, allowing the Tabasco AGO to move on with its investigation and quickly detain the correct suspect in Mexico.
Instructor Spotlight
Scott Reed, Utah Assistant Attorney General

Utah Assistant Attorney General Scott Reed was honored by Salt Lake County for his role with Utah's drug courts over the last two decades. "The work that Scott Reed has done with the drug courts-from helping to start the program to developing it over the last twenty years-has helped change the lives of thousands of people," said CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah. "By helping drug court participants - high risk, high-need individuals with addiction problems - stay clean and beat their addictions, the drug courts help individuals transform their lives for good and positively re-integrate with society instead of relegating them to incarceration or likely re-offense without any healing or addiction recovery. Scott is well-deserving of recognition for his efforts, and we congratulate him for his decades of service." Scott also volunteers many hours to CWAG's Alliance Partnership program to train Mexican prosecutors.
Claudia Castro, Associate Attorney, Odelsen & Sterk, Illinois

CWAG congratulates Claudia Castro on her June 23rd induction as President of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. In addition to being a popular CWAG Instructor, Claudia is an associate lawyer at Odelsen & Sterk in Illinois, after having served in the public sector for many years. She was the former Young Lawyers Division National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and served on the Board of Directors and as President-Elect of the National Hispanic Prosecutor's Association.  In 2012, Claudia was named as one of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's 40 Illinois Attorneys under Forty to Watch List.
Alice B. Lustre, California Deputy Attorney General

California Deputy Attorney General and CWAG Alliance Partnership instructor Alice B. Lustre was presented the William E. James Award at the California District Attorneys Association 2016 Summer Conference. Created in 1980 to honor Bill James, the annual award was established to recognize and acknowledge a deputy attorney general who possesses outstanding legal scholarship and has provided consistent and exceptional assistance to California prosecutors.
Virtual Seminar: Basic and Advanced Techniques for Cross Examination

A Virtual Seminar hosted by the Washington State Attorney General's Office proved popular, with more than 350 unique viewers logging in to view the event on April 6, 2016. The recording of the transmission continues to be available for viewing on CWAG's Livestream page (in Spanish) here.
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 with case preparation, from investigation to presentation in court, by a U.S. criminal prosecutor experienced in oral trials
  • 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 issues in administration of justice
For all information and requests, please contact:
Susan Lustig
Administrative Director
Cell: 805.264.4277

~ or ~

Lauren Niehaus
Deputy Director
Cell: 303.827.9039

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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.

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. It supports implementation of an oral adversarial criminal justice system by offering opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between both countries.
Karen White, Executive Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General Alliance Partnership