Ellis County Citizen Prosecutor Academy

What is it?

The Ellis County Citizen Prosecutor Academy is a free outreach program presented by County & District Attorney Ann Montgomery and her staff including prosecutors and investigators. The Academy course is designed to give participants a unique, inside look at the justice system and the role of the County & District Attorney’s Office in Ellis County.


What will I learn?

Misdemeanor, felony, writ, subpoena, docket, contested hearing, plea and grand jury - - those may just be words now but you will hear them as you learn how a criminal case progresses from the arrest and indictment of a suspect, through the investigation process and concluding with the trial, sentencing and any subsequent appeal.


When is a homicide not charged as a murder? What are the differences between capital murder, murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide? Explore how the law of self-defense applies in some cases and what it means. Finally, you will discuss the range of punishment from probation to the death penalty and everything in between.


Did you know our office also handles civil matters? You will learn how our civil prosecutors are involved in juvenile matters, parental rights cases, protective orders, open record requests, criminal asset seizures and a myriad of county issues such as land development, county contracts, the budget process and general policies and procedures.


You will also learn about our victim assistance program and meet our emotional support dog Verity who eases the fears of children and others in need during the criminal process. Field trips will include a jail tour and a visit to the Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center.


When is it?

The Academy meets Monday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and committed and regular attendance is imperative. The Spring 2024 class will begin Monday, February 26, 2024, and will end Monday, May 6, 2024. Class topics and field trips include the following:


  • Introduction and the Criminal Justice Process and Ethics
  • Grand Jury, Intake and Domestic Violence
  • Investigations & Intoxication Offenses
  • Juvenile Prosecution & Child Protective Services
  • Representing the County, Asset Forfeitures, Bonds, Mental Health, Open Records and Protective Orders
  • Jail Tour, Meet the Sheriff and Drug Prosecution
  • Crimes against Children and the Child Advocacy Center visit
  • The Jury Trial Process, Murder and Capital Murder
  • Mock Trial 
  • Appellate Law and Graduation


Anything else I should know?

Although the program is offered at no cost, applicants must be at least 16 years old (with a parental wavier), pass a background check and be willing to commit to attend a ten-week curriculum on one evening each week. 


How do I apply?

Apply online with the online application.

Or just click on the Citizen Prosecutor Academy tab on the left side – from there you will see the application. Fill out the application and send it, with a copy of your driver’s license, to ecdacpa@co.ellis.tx.us.


Class sizes are limited, so you are encouraged to apply early when the application process opens. If you are accepted you will receive an email confirming your acceptance and providing additional information on the Academy. If we are unable to offer you a spot in the upcoming Academy you may ask to be placed on the waitlist for the next Academy.


All information collected regarding the Citizen Prosecutor Academy, including but not limited to, the application, any documentation submitted, and any emails sent, is subject to the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act. Information about the Texas Public Information Act is available from the Office of the Texas Attorney General at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index.shtml

The Public Information Act is a Texas statute located in Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code. The Act makes all governmental information open to the public however, the Act excepts from required public disclosure “information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision.” By way of example. “confidential by law” includes driver’s license numbers and dates of births.