Solicitor Duffie Stone, whose 14th Judicial Circuit includes Beaufort County, will be the "voice of South Carolina prosecutors" on a national board of district attorneys.
Stone has been selected by his fellow state solicitors as their representative to the National District Attorneys Association, whose board is composed of a prosecutor from each state.
The association gives local prosecutors a chance to advance their causes at the national level. Their agenda includes "anything regarding prosecutors, defense or criminal justice in the United States," according to its executive director Scott Burns.
Its members are frequently called to testify before Congress and to write legal memoranda for cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Burns said.
"We will certainly be at the table for upcoming discussions regarding gun control," Burns said.
Stone said his experience networking at National District Attorneys Association meetings and conferences in the past has given him new ideas for the 14th Judicial Circuit. For example, a discussion with a prosecutor from Kansas last year led him to start an intern program at his Solicitor's Office this summer for law students who want to become prosecutors.
Next year, he'll help lead those discussions as a voting member. He said he is interested in studying "best practices" that he might be able to bring back home.
"The biggest thing for me is that I enjoy working on issues that affect all of us," Stone said. "It's interesting how similar district attorneys' offices are, whether they're bigger, or in a smaller, rural area."
"In some cases, district attorneys face challenges in other parts of the country that we have not seen yet," he added.
Being the South Carolina representative for the association may have other advantages for Stone's circuit, Burns said. The association is also a resource center for training and research. Last year, it trained 19,000 prosecutors, Burns said.
Its vast network of district attorneys can also help its members prosecute local cases.
"If the defense is bringing in an expert witness from New York, for example, and a state prosecutor has never heard of this guy, we can send him a file," Burns said.
The association typically holds meetings several times a year. Stone won't have to travel far for the first one: The three-day board meeting this spring will be in March on Hilton Head Island.
- Law students at Solicitor's Office would get to go to court, July 21, 2012
- National District Attorneys Association