Those who commit crimes involving sexual violence often exploit the disparate power dynamic between victim and offender — whether the relationship is between teacher and student; producer and actor; coach and athlete; or law enforcement officer and arrestee, probationer, or inmate. By wielding weapons of authority, the perpetrator leaves the victim with little choice but to submit to sexual acts and stay quiet in the aftermath, fearing that they will be disbelieved or blamed if they try to report it. This is especially true in the law enforcement context, where victims are usually in the custody of their offender and have a history of criminal activity, which often has an impact on their credibility in the eyes of untrained professionals, juries, and the public.
This presentation addresses the reaches of federal jurisdiction to prosecute sexual violence by those acting under color of law at all levels of government. It discusses how coordination among federal and state authorities can enhance investigations into reports of sexual violence, and if the evidence permits, help determine in which jurisdiction to bring charges. It further focuses on three critical Federal Rules of Evidence that can be used to corroborate a victim’s account and build a strong case — even where there is no physical evidence or eyewitness testimony.
This Guide discusses the essential capabilities necessary for a prosecutor’s office to effectively prevent and respond to crimes of violence. It suggests practices that are customizable and scalable, from foundational to enhanced, depending on an office’s available resources and experiences, as well as jurisdiction-specific needs and challenges . This Guide is intended to enable the executives responsible for operating a prosecutor’s office to identify policies and practices that can be readily implemented, as well as those that represent actionable goals to work toward. Every prosecutor’s office — whether a small tribal or rural office, a mid-sized suburban office, or a large office serving a major metropolitan area — can build the capacity to improve its response to violent crime by systematically incorporating promising practices that will harness all available resources to achieve the goal of a safer community.Prosecutors Guide for Reducing Violence and Building Safer Communities
This is a summary of a comprehensive resource entitled Seeking Justice and Solutions: A Prosecutor’s Guide to Opioid Overdose Investigations. This Quick Guide provides an overview of areas for consideration, including investigative steps and prosecutorial decision-making. The full Guide provides further discussion of these topics, various examples of how prosecutors’ offices of all sizes have addressed these complex issues, and a self-survey to evaluate an office’s capacity to respond to overdoses.
A Prosecutor’s Quick Guide to Opioid Overdose Investigations
The opioid epidemic has presented prosecutors with new challenges and questions. “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem” is the new tagline of the epidemic. Through the opioid crisis may be the result of criminal actions by pharmaceutical companies, profit-driven drug sellers, and corrupt physicians, modern prosecutors acknowledge that addiction itself is a medical condition, not a crime. The prosecutor is faced with decisions on two fronts, how to address the criminal activity of drug sellers and how to treat the medical issues of drug users. There is no simple answer. The goal of this guide is to provide options and to highlight innovative, effective strategies for improving prosecutors’ responses to overdose deaths. These responses range from providing access to treatment to prosecuting overdose deaths as homicides.Seeking Justice and Solutions- A Prosecutor’s Guide to Opioid Overdose Investigations
The opioid epidemic has devastated communities across the United States, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the past two decades. In response, state and local prosecutors have taken a multifaceted approach to the crisis: diverting defendants with substance abuse issues from traditional prosecution, educating communities about the dangers of opioid addiction; and increasingly, seeking to hold drug traffickers and dealers accountable for the deaths they cause. This webinar will spotlight one office’s efforts to tackle the opioid crisis. Tonya Lupinacci of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Norristown, PA will discuss strategies that are broadly applicable to jurisdictions across the country, with a special emphasis on prosecuting Drug Delivery Resulting in Death and similar crimes. The session will focus on the evidence necessary for building these cases, theories of offender liability, and effective presentation of evidence at trial.
This presentation will address the challenges inherent in prosecuting known offenders and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault, with an emphasis on overcoming the consent defense. The presentation will examine offender characteristics, motivations, and behaviors as well as the impact of the offender’s actions on the victim. The presenter will suggest strategies for overcoming common misconceptions at trial, including the importance of establishing a compelling trial theme, introducing evidence of the defendant’s predatory behavior, presenting corroborating evidence to support witness credibility, and recreating the reality of the crime at trial.
Social distancing and quarantine measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected all aspects of our society, including the judicial system. While these public health measures are necessary to keep our communities safe and healthy, court closures and subsequent delays in case processing, as well as other social distancing measures, will require criminal justice professionals to adapt in order to continue holding offenders accountable while protecting their rights; meeting victim/witness needs; and maintaining public safety.
This panel discussion, featuring Nancy O’Malley, District Attorney of Alameda County, CA; Ed McCann, First Assistant District Attorney of Montgomery County, PA; and Sherry Boston, District Attorney of DeKalb County, GA, as well as AEquitas Attorney Advisors, will provide practical perspectives to help guide prosecutors and other criminal justice system actors through the broad scope of issues raised by COVID-19; current responses from prosecutor’s offices around the country; and logistical and legal strategies for ensuring justice while social distancing measures remain in place. Topics will include (but aren’t limited to) implications on constitutional and statutory rights; challenges in processing, collecting, and testing crucial evidence; jail overcrowding and requests for bail; and the continuity of victim/witness services.