Safeguarding Victim Privacy in a Digital World: Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors

Prosecutors have an obligation to provide to the defense all evidence in the government’s possession or control that is material to a defendant’s guilt or punishment. How can we fulfill that obligation, while at the same time safeguarding victim privacy against unnecessary disclosure? In the digital age, these cases present unique ethical challenges related to privacy and confidentiality, prosecutorial discretion, recantation, and disclosure of evidence. This presentation uses hypothetical case scenarios to: address ethical considerations in the context of the investigative function of prosecutors, digital evidence, discovery obligations, and immunity; identify confidential, privileged, non-material, and/or irrelevant victim information and records; discuss threshold requirements for defense attempts to obtain information or for in camera review; introduce pretrial and trial strategies that support the protection of victim privacy, including collaboration with allied professionals.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1 hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.