Witness Intimidation Part II: Effective Use of Intimidation Evidence

Part II of the series discusses the identification, documentation, and effective use of evidence of intimidation at trial to hold offenders accountable. The presenter explores how to admit and present evidence to demonstrate the offender’s consciousness of guilt, to explain the absence of a witness, and to introduce an unavailable witness’s statements via the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.

Legal Jiu-Jitsu for Prosecutors in Intimate Partner Violence Cases: Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

Jiu-jitsu is a Japanese martial art that does not depend on the use of size or strength to defeat an opponent. Instead, it employs a variety of tactical moves to prevail by turning the force of an attack against the attacker. Prosecutors in domestic violence cases have a similar art at their disposal to counter confrontation challenges in the common scenario where the offender has intimidated, tricked, manipulated, paid off, killed, or otherwise arranged for the victim to be absent from the trial, leaving the prosecution with only the victim’s out-of-court statements to prove the case.

Institute on the Investigation and Prosecution of Child Pornography and Human Trafficking

AEquitas Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented on human trafficking, child pornography, pretrial litigation, and witness intimidation along with Tabitha Gallerani (formerly of The Safe Center, Long Island) and Sgt. Grant Snyder (Minneapolis Police Department) on behalf of The Safe Center to an audience of government agency staff, human trafficking program staff, law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

Safe Berks

AEquitas Attorney Advisors Vikki Kristiansson and Jonathan Kurland presented “Higher Education: Confronting the Reality of Sexual Assault,” “Strangulation Injury,” and “Improving the Justice System Response to Witness Intimidation” on behalf of Safe Berks in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Human Trafficking Symposium

AEquitas Attorney Advisor Jane Anderson presented “Ethical Considerations in Human Trafficking Cases” on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, Office of Homeland Security at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Annual Ending Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Conference

AEquitas Attorney Advisor Jonathan Kurland presented “Intimidation of Victims of Sexual Assault in Confinement” and “Criminal Meets Civil: Coordinating Our Responses” on behalf of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) in Lexington, Kentucky for an audience of dual sexual assault/domestic violence program staff, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victim-witness specialists.

Winnebago County Circuit Court

AEquitas Attorney Advisor John Wilkinson presented “Witness Intimidation” and “Predominant Aggressor, Evaluating Lethality, Trauma-Informed Approach, and Evidence-Based Prosecution of Domestic Violence” in Winnebago, Illinois to an audience of court personnel. 

Annotated Bibliography of Witness Intimidation Resources

This annotated bibliography compiles legal research, social science research, assessment, and best practices and policies for addressing witness intimidation. The first section reviews legal literature that analyzes the legal foundations of witness intimidation, including Supreme Court decisions, statutes, and relevant case law. The second section contains social science research on victims’ experiences of intimidation, as well as implementation of laws and policies to address the problem. The third section summarizes evaluative reports on witness intimidation dynamics in particular communities. The final section, contains best practices and policies to be implemented based on the assessment and research foundations described above.