Overcoming the Consent Defense: Prosecuting Known Offenders

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.

Justice in the Time of COVID-19: Strategic Responses

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.

Reaching a Verdict: Guiding the Jury’s Response to the Evidence

After being thrust into an unfamiliar role in a complex system that is often equally unfamiliar, jurors in sexual assault cases face the daunting task of reaching a just verdict for a crime that is shrouded in misconceptions. In this foreign terrain, prosecutors serve as a trusted guide—pointing out familiar landmarks of personal experience and presenting witnesses and other evidence in a manner that makes them both understandable and relatable. By assisting jurors in forming personal connections to the evidence, the prosecutor can remove obstacles that might otherwise block the jury’s path to a just finding of guilt. 

This presentation will discuss ways to focus the jury’s attention on the evidence in a manner that accurately conveys the reality of sexual assault and assists jurors in rendering a fair and just verdict—beginning with jury selection and continuing through opening statement, presentation of evidence, and summation.  

Who Should View
Allied justice system professionals including but not limited to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, community-based service providers, medical and mental health practitioners, probation and parole officers, judges, etc. are encouraged to view this webinar recording.

CLE Credits
This one-hour webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for one (1.0) hour of continuing legal education credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Investigating and Prosecuting Trafficking in Illicit Massage Businesses: Part 3

This portion provides an overview of how trauma impacts victims of IMBs and discusses practical trauma-informed interviewing techniques that help us build rapport with victims, investigate crimes, and develop stronger victim narratives. The presenters discuss making appropriate charging decisions, litigating pretrial motions to protect victim privacy, establishing the elements of the charges with or without victim participation, and educating the jury through voir dire, expert testimony, and effective witness examinations.

Investigating and Prosecuting Trafficking in Illicit Massage Businesses: Part 2

This portion provides practical investigative strategies to build successful prosecutions of the owners, operators, and accomplices of IMBs. The presenters discuss enhancing investigations through partnerships with civil and criminal allied investigative agencies and service providers. They also provide an analytical framework for developing investigative strategies designed to identify and preserve evidence supporting a wide range of charges that can be prosecuted with or without victim participation.

Investigating and Prosecuting Trafficking in Illicit Massage Businesses: Part 1

IMBs are venues disguised as legitimate massage or bodywork businesses in which women are forced, coerced, and defrauded into performing countless sex acts with strangers on a daily basis. This portion of the three-part series provides an overview of the illicit massage business (IMB) organizational model, which typically exists within one of many nationwide networks. The presenters discuss how women are recruited, harbored, and exploited within those networks. They also explore the challenges facing law enforcement and prosecutors, demonstrating the need for strategies to build evidence-based cases that can ensure that offenders are held accountable for their wide-ranging criminal activity.

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