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Distinguished speakers considered the principles and professional responsibility requirements and considerations associated with
a prosecutor’s decision of whether to pursue criminal charges against a suspect or not. They also discussed what motivations and biases can drive these decisions in an interactive and wide-ranging panel discussion hosted by Locke Lord LLP in its Houston office.
The January symposium, “Prosecutorial Ethics: A 360° View,” was held in conjunction with the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship, presented by the University of Houston Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute.
The opening speaker, University of Kansas School of Law Professor Suzanne Valdez, shared her thoughts on a prosecutor’s ethical responsibilities in both federal and state practice and explored constitutional and ethical constraints on prosecutorial discretion.
Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchel Neurock discussed what motivations, professional responsibility considerations
and ethical concerns a prosecutor must take into account when deciding to pursue criminal charges against a potential defendant, and the consequences of those decisions.
“Prosecutorial ethics has always been a hot topic for us,” Neurock
said. “It’s our commitment to do the right thing in every case, no matter what kind of case it is. Our first mandate above all is to do justice.
“Our compass is pointed in one direction, and that’s just to make sure we do the right thing by the public. We are not going to have any credibility with members of the public if they cannot trust
us to do the right thing. We’re super-focused on making sure we make the right decisions for the right reasons.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison, who serves as a trial advocacy adjunct professor at the Law Center, shared his views on prosecutorial ethics from a judge’s standpoint.
“My view as a new judge is you want to be a referee or an umpire,” Edison said. “Call the balls and strikes the way you see them. Do not take one side or the other.
“After practicing cases all over the country, one of the things I have really liked from judges I admire is to be fair, follow the law, avoid the appearance of impropriety or favoritism and rule promptly.
I want to stay out of the decision of whether or not to bring charges.”
The Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center at the University of Houston Law Center hosted a special virtual webinar in August called “The New Energy Landscape: COVID-19, Climate Change and Diversification.” The event began the 4th Annual North American Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Conference.
“So much change has happened in the world in the last six months,” said Victor Flatt, Dwight Olds Chair and faculty director of the EENR Center. “We had excellent speakers who provided context to the impact of the COVID pandemic, energy demand, and increasing climate change policy changes in companies.”
Among topics discussed were technological innovation and energy, energy investment in direct air capture, innovations in low carbon emissions and IP innovation, carbon neutrality, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the 2020 election. A roundtable talk featured commentary on the business and policy future for North American Energy – lessons from COVID.
The conference had registrants from more than 35 countries, including high-level government officials and executives from some of the world’s largest companies.
Sponsors for the event were Blank Rome, UH Energy, the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, The National Autonomous University of Mexico Faculty of Law and the TGL Energy Transition Governance & Law.
   U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison, left, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchel Neurock and University of Kansas School of Law Professor Suzanne Valdez, right, served as panelists at the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship 2020 Symposium, Feb. 12, 2020

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