The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, in partnership with Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and LaGratta Consulting and supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, are excited to announce the Elevating Trust and Legitimacy for Prosecutors Project.

Prior system improvements, including evidence-based decision-making and alternatives to jail, have been successful at improving public safety while broadly reducing the harms that individuals may encounter in the criminal justice system. While these reforms have made progress on these outcomes, a crucial step to achieving a just and trusted legal system is to ensure individuals are treated fairly and with dignity and respect as they move through the criminal justice system.

More than a decade’s work in policing and courts settings has shown how concerted efforts can help change the way criminal justice professionals communicate and engage with system participants and produce increased public trust and voluntary compliance and cooperation.

For the selected pilot agency, participation will require a commitment as follows:

  • Engage in a collaborative assessment, planning, and implementation process with project staff for a minimum of 15 months
  • Assign chief of staff or office equivalent to coordinate office involvement in the project, along with administrative support for scheduling calls and meetings, supplying needed policies and procedures, and identifying relevant stakeholders
  • Help project staff facilitate the collection of feedback from direct users, including past witnesses, defendants, or other community members
  • Host up to three in-person or remote site visits for project staff to meet with key office personnel and observe typical practices (especially those where prosecutors and staff are interacting with members of the public)
  • Upon selection, the partner office will be asked to supply an electronic bulk data extraction of historical case-level data, for all cases processed by the office (including nolle prosequi, dismissals, etc.) for a period of 12-24 months. To protect privacy, the data can be stripped of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) but will require a unique identifier to allow the tracking of cases over time.


Center for Court Innovation – What is Procedural Justice?

Click here to access the password-protected Resource Page designated for the Elevating Trust & Legitimacy Pilot Sites and National Prosecutorial Advisory Group on Elevating Trust & Legitimacy.

City Project

APA and the Justice Collaboratory have also selected two additional sites to continue their work on the Elevating Trust and Legitimacy for Prosecutors Project, the Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office and the Columbus City Attorney’s Office. This project will assess how city prosecutors interact with the surrounding community, implementing evidence-based practices to increase public trust.

Project staff will work with prosecutors and staff across the selected offices to identify and enhance existing trust-building opportunities internally and externally. The pilot will also seek to test how new practices can supplement the office’s gun diversion work and other interactions with the accused, witnesses, victims, and other members of the public.

The project will utilize technical guidance from The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and LaGratta Consulting. Funding support for the project will come from The Joyce Foundation, Walmart, and Arnold Ventures. 

Meet the Team

Emily LaGratta
Emily LaGrattaPrincipal, LaGratta Consulting
Emily LaGratta is a justice reform consultant who has worked with the criminal legal system since 2009. In leading LaGratta Consulting, she works with local and national organizations to design and implement innovative programming, develop practitioner resources, solicit feedback from direct participants of the system, and train justice system professionals on topics including trust-building and procedural justice. Before starting her own company, Emily was the Director of Procedural Justice Initiatives at the Center for Court Innovation, a national non-profit where she led a consulting practice on the topics of procedural justice and community justice. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. Visit her website at
Caroline Sarnoff
Caroline SarnoffExecutive Director of the Justice Collaboratory
Caroline Nobo Sarnoff is a Research Scholar in Law and Executive Director of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, where she provides strategic direction and leadership to the Justice Collaboratory’s unique network of interdisciplinary scholars and staff. With 15 years of experience, Caroline is a career criminologist and national expert on criminal justice data and infrastructure. She is a fierce advocate for criminal justice system transparency, and is often featured translating research into policy and practice. Her expertise includes policing, gun violence, community-based research methodologies, and the progressive prosecutor movement. Prior to joining Yale, Sarnoff was the Director of Data Outreach for the non-profit Measures for Justice (MJF).
Tom R. Tyler
Tom R. TylerFounding Director, The Justice Collaboratory
Tom R. Tyler is the Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School, as well as a Founding Director of The Justice Collaboratory. He is also a professor (by courtesy) at the Yale School of Management. Professor Tyler’s research explores the role of justice in shaping people’s relationships with groups, organizations, communities, and societies.
David LaBahn
David LaBahnPresident & CEO, APA
Mr. David LaBahn is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), a national association representing elected and deputy or assistant prosecutors, and city attorneys. The association acts as a global forum for the exchange of ideas, allowing prosecutors to collaborate with all criminal justice partners, and conducts timely and effective training and technical assistance to improve the prosecutorial function. In addition, APA serves as an advocate for prosecutors on emerging issues related to the administration of justice, development of partnerships and implementation of problem-solving strategies.
Marlene Biener
Marlene BienerGeneral Counsel, APA
Marlene Biener serves as General Counsel at APA, where she works directly with prosecutors across the country on criminal justice policies. She oversees and designs trainings, resource guides, and APA publications to convey timely materials and education to prosecutors nationwide. Previously, Marlene worked for the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Marlene graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law in May 2013. She attended Ramapo College of New Jersey, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in Public Policy. Marlene is admitted to practice law in the states of New York and New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
Sasha Beatty
Sasha BeattySenior Counsel, APA
Sasha Beatty joined the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in July 2019 after previously working for the Nashville District Attorney’s Office for two years as an Assistant District Attorney General. There, she prosecuted domestic violence cases before working in Criminal Court Divisions I and V as a felony trial prosecutor. Sasha received her Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School in May of 2017. She attended Duke University and received her Bachelor of Arts in U.S. History with a minor in French. Sasha is admitted to practice law in the State of Tennessee and the District of Columbia, and is a member of the Tennessee State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Constitution Society. In addition to her work in the Office of General Counsel, Sasha works as the Web Development Director.
Joy Repella
Joy RepellaAPA Fellow
Joy Repella was an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County for over 28 years and prosecuted felonies from Robbery to Murder. She also handled Involuntary Mental Health Treatment and Commitment as well as Expungement and Sealing. She supervised four Community Justice Centers (CJC) located throughout Cook County. Each CJC was responsible for prosecuting cases important in the community, problem solving local issues, and working to prevent crime. Joy left the State’s Attorney’s office and became an Administrative Law Judge. Currently Joy assists with APA’s Elevating Trust project.