Evading Justice: The Pervasive Nature of Witness Intimidation

Acts of witness intimidation range from the crude to the complex and, when successful, evade the purview of the justice system, which allows the criminal behavior to continue unchecked. The pervasive nature of these crimes is devastating to victims and to community confidence in the justice system’s ability to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. Criminal justice professionals, community leaders, and researchers have declared witness intimidation a national concern and a challenge to the administration of justice. This article discusses how to recognize intimidation and reduce its impact on the criminal justice system through education, documentation and other preventive measures. The authors also offer effective investigation and prosecution strategies.