Gangs are notorious for perpetrating firearm- and drug-related offenses, but many gangs and their members also regularly engage in violence against women, including rape, physical violence, and human trafficking. Gang members use physical and sexual violence to control their victims and the communities within which they operate. Additionally, some gangs engage in trafficking to exploit gang members and non-members to increase gang profits. The pervasive nature of gang-related violence, combined with gang members’ habitual intimidation of victims and witnesses, present unique challenges to the effective investigation and prosecution of these cases.
This presentation discusses tangible strategies for improving the identification, investigation, and prosecution of gang-related violence against women. The presenter explores collaborative methods for supporting victims, enhancing community safety, holding gang offenders accountable, and preventing and effectively responding to witness intimidation.
Part I of the series will discuss a coordinated system response to the challenges presented by witness intimidation. The presenter will explore methods for enhancing victim and witness safety, improving witnesses’ ability to participate in the justice system, and holding offenders accountable at all stages of the criminal justice process.
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.
The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will be offering funding to state and local prosecutor’s offices for its FY’20 Innovative Prosecution Solutions for Combating Violent Crime (IPS) initiative. The IPS program supports prosecutor-led strategies for responding to violent crime and enhancing public safety.
Join BJA and AEquitas, the lead Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) provider on the IPS initiative, for a webinar on the upcoming solicitation. It will include a discussion of application eligibility and the application process, program requirements, and examples of previously successful proposals.
Having a sexual assault, domestic violence, or human trafficking case reversed on appeal can result in a re-trial with stale evidence, reluctant witnesses, and a victim who is forced to relive the case when she is finally beginning to heal. Though the appellate process is unavoidable, a prosecutor can bring a measure of finality to the criminal justice process by carefully building a strong trial court record that supports the conviction and the sentence imposed and withstands appellate challenges. This article discusses the proper creation and protection of the record during all phases of a criminal case, focusing on investigation, charging, plea agreements, trial preparation and strategy, summation, and sentencing. It addresses pretrial motions, recommends the use of trial briefs on anticipated trial problems, and explains how strategic charging decisions can result in admission of evidence that might otherwise be excluded.
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.
Nearly two-thirds of all women killed by firearms are killed by an intimate partner. Firearms are the most frequently used weapons in intimate partner homicide, eclipsing all other weapons combined. This article discusses the fundamentals of prosecuting the possession of firearms by prohibited persons generally, while focusing on issues involved in prosecuting domestic violence related firearms charges specifically, from both a state and federal perspective. The authors also examine the impact of the most recent U.S. Supreme Court firearms decisions on prosecuting domestic violence firearms charges.
This article discusses the dynamics and tactics commonly encountered in officer-involved domestic violence; emphasizes the importance of departmental policies and protocols for prevention of, and response to, violence in the law enforcement family; explains the need for a coordinated, yet firewalled internal investigation that will not compromise the criminal prosecution of the offender; and suggests strategies for investigation and prosecution of officer-involved domestic violence.
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.