Summary of Laws & Guidelines – Payment of Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations

Victims of sexual assault often undergo a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) following an assault and may also receive additional medical treatment for physical and emotional injuries. The majority of states provide for partial or complete payment for a victim’s examination costs. This resource is a summary of the statutes and guidelines related to payment for forensic examinations. The research compiled includes: which agency pays, the specific criteria for payment, what services are included and not included in payment schemes, other authorization or eligibility requirements, disqualifying factors, payment methods, whether the state requires restitution from a guilty defendant, and the existence of evidence retention laws related to sexual assault kits (SAKs).


Justice for Victims Behind Bars: Improving the Response to Cases of Sexual Abuse in Confinement

The passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003 created not only a requirement that jurisdictions prevent and respond to incidents of sexual abuse in confinement, but firmly planted sexual abuse in confinement on the list of critical issues for criminal justice system officials across the country. This resource gives an overview of the PREA standards and outlines what an appropriate response to cases of sexual abuse in confinement requires. Professionals require relevant information on the PREA Standards, an understanding of the dynamics of sexual abuse (particularly those dynamics specific to abuse in the confinement setting), and collaboration among the professionals in the jurisdiction. The criminal justice system should consider victims’ safety, privacy, and well-being throughout the process, while ensuring they have access to information and services. Such a response keeps the focus on the actions, behaviors, characteristics, and intent of the abuser.

Justice for Victims Behind Bars Improving the Response to Cases of Sexual Abuse in Confinement

Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on Post-Trial DNA Testing in Osborne

On June 19, 2009, In District Attorney v. Osborne, the U.S. Supreme Court held that criminal defendants do not have a federal due process right to post–trial DNA testing. This article gives an overview of the facts and impacts of the case. Osborne’s supporters argued that if evidence existed that could conclusively show whether or not a defendant committed the crime then it should be tested. But these arguments ignore the fact that Osborne’s trial counsel’s decision to not request more specific pre-trial DNA testing was to avoid further incrimination of Osborne. This case is a reminder that prosecutors should strive to have policies that are fair and open-minded and place the interests of justice ahead of a desire to simply fight to preserve all convictions.


Supreme Court Continues to Expand the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause: Bullcoming v. New Mexico

This article provides an overview of Bullcoming v. New Mexico, a case holding that the Confrontation Clause prohibits the prosecution from introducing a forensic laboratory report through the testimony of an analyst who did not personally perform or observe the testing. The authors discuss the impact of the case on domestic violence prosecutions to the extent that it expands defendants’ rights under the Confrontation Clause in the area of required live testimony and appears to limit the prosecution’s ability to present physical evidence when laboratory analysis is involved.


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.