NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
Kay Chopard Cohen Executive Director
Kay Chopard Cohen was selected by the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association in March 2014 to become the Executive Director of the organization. Having started her legal career as a local prosecutor, she is keenly familiar with the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of prosecutors, the many challenges they face, and the leadership role that they play in many justice issues. Prior to her appointment to lead NDAA, Ms. Chopard Cohen spent the previous 15 years as a nationally recognized association executive running two national membership organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and providing executive leadership in close working relationships with senior Executive Branch officials and with leaders on Capitol Hill.
Immediately preceding her selection to lead NDAA, she served as the Executive Director for the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group where she was responsible for partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce and leaders in industry to launch a national nonprofit association whose mission was to implement the White House initiative on “Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” Her leadership on this national priority included developing and implementing strategic plans, establishing goals, objectives, and association policies, and building infrastructure and internal governance. Ms. Chopard Cohen established funding mechanisms that combined federal grant dollars with private sector contributions developing a multi-million dollar budget and allowing the organization to become self-sustaining in less than a year of incorporation. Her leadership provided vision, inspiration, and energy in a meaningful public-private partnership approach to establish a new model of Internet commerce for the nation.
Ms. Chopard Cohen also has a long track record of consistently increasing the budgets at the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) where she served for more than a decade as the Deputy Executive Director. She created several new training and technical assistance programs that brought millions of dollars in grant funding to the NCJA membership. Prior to her work at NCJA, she was responsible for expanding the budget for state and local prosecution programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation from less than $100,000/year to more than $7 million/year. It was in this role where she developed first of-its-kind training curricula and delivered important trial advocacy training programs to thousands of state and local prosecutors across the United States.
Kay Chopard Cohen is a recognized leader on criminal justice issues among national criminal justice leaders and national justice organizations. She has dedicated her 30-year legal career to working on criminal justice topics at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.
Ms. Chopard Cohen graduated cum laude from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and received her J.D. from the University Of Iowa College Of Law. She served as an Assistant County Attorney in Johnson County, Iowa, and served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
William Fitzpatrick President
NDAA President 2015–2016
For over 37 years, the last 24 as Onondaga's chief law enforcement officer, District Attorney Fitzpatrick has served the people of Onondaga County. He has the respect of his peers not only in New York State, but across the country. DA Fitzpatrick is a nationally recognized expert on infant deaths, cold case reviews, forensic science and prosecutorial ethics. He currently serves as Chair of the New York State District Attorney’s Association Committee on Fair and Ethical Administration of Justice, including the Best Practices Committee, a committee he created, which combines the talents of New York's top prosecutors to help set protocols for identification procedures, interrogation techniques and other strategies, all in an effort to get the best case before a jury and eliminate wrongful arrests and wrongful convictions. This strategy he started in New York is now being employed in over 30 states. He has twice been named New York Prosecutor of the Year; he is past President of the New York District Attorney’s Association and as of July, 2015 is the President of the National District Attorney’s Association. He is a long time member of the New York State Forensic Science Commission, and he frequently appears in the national media commenting on trial techniques and prosecutorial ethics.
Admitted to the bar in 1977, he progressed rapidly over the next decade to become a Chief ADA, the youngest person ever appointed to this position and eventually was responsible for overseeing all homicide prosecutions in the county. Over a three year period (1983-1986), Fitzpatrick took 20 defendants to trial for murder with a 100% conviction rate. He has lectured in over 30 states and Canada, and his cases have been the subject of five books, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award Winning The Death of Innocents, which chronicled the District Attorney’s decade long quest to bring Waneta Hoyt, a woman who murdered her five children, to justice.
Fitzpatrick recently served as co-chairman of New York State’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption having been so appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The fruits of those investigations have been turned over to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara whose office is actively pursuing the work already started.
DA Fitzpatrick left his native Brooklyn many years ago to attend Syracuse University and Syracuse University School of Law and now lives in LaFayette with his wife of 34 years, New York State Court of Claims Justice Diane Fitzpatrick. They have three wonderful children; Dan, who is a graduate of Syracuse University, daughter Sara, a graduate of Binghamton University, and son Sean, who is a graduate of St. John Fisher College.