This comprehensive document provides guidance on developing or enhancing intelligence-driven prosecution through a Crime Strategies Unit (CSU), or through processes that accomplish goals similar to those of a CSU. Based in part on interviews with prosecutors, crime analysts, and other specialists in the field, the guide discusses building foundational partnerships, methods for gathering data and intelligence, and ways in which data can inform and support investigations and prosecutions.
The Problem-Solving Prosecutor- Modern Variations on the Crime Strategies Unit
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised new issues and exacerbated persisting challenges for prosecutors, who are consistently faced with the task of preparing cases that are victim-centered, sensitive to constitutional guarantees, and resilient to vulnerabilities on appeal. Virtual hearings and other accommodations made to criminal justice processes in light of COVID-19 implicate concerns related to the rights of victims and defendants, as well as the public’s right to open and accessible proceedings. Issues related to pre-trial detention and potential continuances also take on new dimensions during the pandemic. Furthermore, the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and the complexity it adds to cases, lends itself to the litigation of novel defense motions and challenges. An effective response to this unprecedented time requires proactive consideration of statutes and case law and also engages fundamental principles of pre-trial practice.
This webinar addresses potential legal issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses strategies to prepare for defense challenges and mitigate appellate exposure.
This Prosecutors’ Resource is designed to assist with investigating and prosecuting cases involving abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of an older victim. It includes foundational knowledge on the various forms and co-occurrence of elder abuse crimes, the characteristics of victims and perpetrators, the aging body, and issues of competency and capacity that will all inform prosecutors’ decision-making in cases and interactions with victims. This Prosecutors’ Resource also provides prosecution strategies for working with older victims and addresses the individual steps and considerations for prosecuting elder abuse cases from the initial interview and investigation through sentencing.
There are many barriers to victims’ participation in the prosecution of their abusers. When prosecuting a domestic violence case with a non-participating victim (one who either is not in court, or who is in court but is unavailable by reason of refusal to testify, exercise of a privilege, illness, or incompetency) the prosecutor must anticipate a challenge under Crawford v. Washington to the introduction of the victim’s out-of-court statements. Crawford and its progeny are landmark cases that address the admissibility of out-of-court statements in light of an accused’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation. This Resource focuses on interpretations of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause under Crawford. The prosecutor must be aware, however, of the simultaneous need to satisfy state evidence rules concerning hearsay. This paper places Crawford in its historical context, presents a framework for analyzing admissibility of out-of-court statements under the Crawford rules, and provides resources, sample questions, and strategy suggestions to assist the prosecutor in satisfying the confrontation requirements under the Sixth Amendment.
This resource outlines effective prosecution strategies for cases where witness intimidation is, or may be, a factor. It provides guidance for prosecution practices that will enhance the safety of victims and witnesses. The paper discusses the first steps a prosecutor should take upon being assigned a case in which witness intimidation is, or may be, an issue. It then discusses strategies for the various phases of a criminal prosecution, from pretrial through the final pretrial conference. Finally, the paper discusses sentencing considerations, including the need for appropriate post-release conditions that enhance the ongoing safety of victims and witnesses.
Forfeiture by wrongdoing is a longstanding exception to a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. If a defendant causes a witness to be unavailable for trial through his wrongful acts, with the intention of preventing that witness from testifying, then the introduction of the witness’s prior testimonial statements is not barred by the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This resource will review the origins and requirements of forfeiture by wrongdoing, examine its utility in domestic violence cases, outline trial strategies, and provide a checklist for hearings on forfeiture.
Sexual abuse in confinement has persistently presented tremendous challenges to investigators and prosecutors because of internal and external barriers to reporting, including the behaviors, actions, and decision-making power of first responders that may result in the failure to make an official report to law enforcement. Additional challenges include issues related to evidence collection and retention, identification of witnesses, and multi-level biases against inmates. This resource provides an overview of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and national standards related to a victim-centered, offender-focused investigation and prosecution of a sexual abuse in confinement. The issue discusses detailed strategy for prosecuting these cases, including investigation, pretrial, jury selection, trial testimony and sentencing.