Absence of Anogenital Injury in the Adolescent Adult Female Sexual Assault Patient

Rates of sexual assault injury vary widely in published reports and may be impacted by a variety of issues, including the types of techniques used to assess the patient and the amount of time between the assault and the exam. This article discusses how documentation from sexual assault medical-forensic examinations often notes that no injury was found to the female genitalia or anus. The absence of anogenital injury does not mean that a sexual assault didn’t occur. Anticipating the circumstances when injury will be identified is a challenge.



Prosecuting Intimate Partner Violence and Animal Cruelty

While control of the victim is the ultimate goal of perpetrators of intimate partner violence, victims themselves are not the only targets of these tactics. Abusers may also threaten and commit acts of violence against the victim’s children, family members, and even their pets. This article discusses strategies for protecting victims of abuse and their pets and holding offenders accountable for their actions. The author encourages prosecutors and allied professionals to work together in a coordinated fashion to better identify, investigate, and prosecute acts of animal cruelty. A coordinated community response to co-occurring animal abuse and domestic violence, together with the effective use of strategies to permit successful prosecution in the absence of active participation by the victim, will promote the safety and well-being of victims and their pets while holding the offender accountable for the abuse of all victims in the household.



Routine Strip-Searches Upheld for Intake into Jail’s General Population

In Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Court held that correctional institutions may conduct routine strip-searches of all detainees upon admittance to the general population of the institution, even those arrested for the most minor offenses. The decision also concluded that such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, the Court’s decision did not address the question of whether such searches would be constitutionally justifiable without reasonable suspicion if the detainee were not to be admitted to general population, leaving open the possibility of limitations on such searches where alternatives to placement in the general population exist. This article reviews the facts of the case and analyzes the Court’s opinion. It highlights the need for clear legislative or regulatory guidance delineating the circumstances under which strip-searches may be conducted. The article emphasizes the need for a solution that will provide institutional security crucial to the safety of all inmates and staff, while minimizing the need to conduct searches that may traumatize detainees.


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.


Presence of Victim Advocate During Sexual Assault Exam Summary of State Laws

Following a sexual assault report, victims are propelled into the criminal justice system and faced with an array of strangers, each with his or her own role in the response, investigation, or prosecution of the crime. Victims are often interviewed by multiple people, including police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and prosecutors. To help victims cope with these challenges, some state legislatures have passed laws providing them with the right to have a victim advocate or personal representative present during such interviews to offer support. This article focuses specifically on the victim’s right to have an advocate present during a medical forensic exam.


Supreme Court Upholds DNA Collection of Arrestees

In Maryland v. King, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states may obtain and test DNA samples of defendants arrested for violent crimes. This decision resolved conflicting holdings in state and federal courts and clarified that this procedure does not violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It also sanctioned the expanded use of arrestee DNA profiles to solve cold cases in which there is DNA evidence that can prove the identity of a perpetrator. This article reviews the case facts and its impact on DNA collection laws.


Hitting Them Where It Hurts – Strategies for Seizing Assets in Human Trafficking Cases

Human trafficking is a lucrative business that is extremely difficult to identify, investigate, and prosecute, and there are still significant barriers to a successful outcome in these cases, including, among other things, limited resources. Even where offenders are prosecuted and convicted, victims are often left shattered physically, emotionally, and financially by their experiences. Asset forfeiture laws provide for the seizure of property that is a fruit of – or was used to further – the criminal enterprise. Utilizing these laws is one effective way to deter and disrupt traffickers while providing trafficking victims with the monetary means to rebuild their lives. This Strategies in Brief discusses civil and criminal asset forfeiture as a tool in prosecuting cases of human trafficking and related crimes.


Assisting Human Trafficking Victims with Return of Property and Restitution

Investigating and prosecuting cases of human trafficking and violence against sexually exploited women is rife with challenges, including balancing victims’ property interests with the need to hold traffickers and exploiters accountable. Criminal justice professionals can meet these challenges by pursuing the return of victims’ property and seeking restitution where appropriate. This Strategies in Brief identifies issues that often arise when trying to return property to victims in human trafficking cases and will provide collaborative strategies for prosecutors and allied criminal justice professionals seeking to balance victim and criminal justice interests. It also presents an overview of restitution as another means of relief for victims of human trafficking to be considered by prosecutors.



“I Hear You Knockin’ But You Can’t Come In [At Least While I’m Here]” Fernandez v. California: Third-Party Consent Search After Arrest of Objecting Suspect-Occupant

Does a suspect’s refusal of entry prevent the police from later, in the absence of the objecting occupant, obtaining the consent of an adult co-occupant to enter and search the premises without a warrant? In its recent decision in Fernandez v. California, the United States Supreme Court answered that question in the negative—at least where the police have, in good faith, removed the objecting suspect by arresting him or her. This article reviews the facts of the case, state court proceedings, the US Supreme Court’s opinion, and the gang connection and witness intimidation involved. The article ultimately concludes that the Fernandez decision will facilitate prompt and efficient evidence collection in many crimes involving domestic violence while simultaneously empowering victims to consent to reasonable investigative requests that will facilitate holding their abusers accountable.


Disarming the Batterer: United States v. Castleman

The 2014 United States v. Castleman decision ensures that individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence—even those that include as an element “offensive touching”—will be subject to the federal prohibition on possession of firearms. This article includes analysis and prosecution strategies for domestic violence cases in response to the decision. It ultimately concludes that the effectiveness of the federal statute as a means of disarming such offenders will depend upon the care and diligence of prosecutors who must correctly identify and prosecute those offenders so that professionals having the responsibility for enforcing that prohibition can accurately and easily determine their ineligibility to possess a firearm.