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Prosecution Webinar Recordings

The Battered Women's Justice Project will be posting links to selected webinar trainings.  They will be organized by topic and date.  These links will take you away from the BWJP website to iLinc's website where you will be asked to sign in to access the recording.  Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Researcher/Practitioner Discourse: Strangulation and Domestic Violence

December 12, 2014   

Presenters: William Spafford Smock, MD, MS, FACEP, FAAEM is Police Surgeon of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, the Research Assistant Professor of Military/Emergency Medicine, and the Medical Director of the Sexual Assault Nursing Program, Kelsey McKay, JD is a prosecutor in Travis County, Texas for ten years. Over the last four years she has exclusively prosecuted strangulation related crimes, and The Honorable Michael Denton has served as a Judge in Austin, Texas since 1999. 

Description: Faculty will discuss the findings of medical research from Louisville, KY on strangulation in the context of domestic violence.  Faculty will consider “best practices” in DV strangulation cases for law enforcement, expert witnesses, prosecutors and judges.

BWJP & National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. (2014). “Strangulation Laws – State Analysis.”
McKay, K. (Spring, 2014). A Voice From the Field.”  IDVSA Voice, Volume 9, Issue 1.
The TX Prosecutor. (January – February 2014). “A closer look at strangulation cases.” TX District & County Attys Assoc.  
        Journal, Volume 44, Number 1.
Shields, L., Corey, T., Weakley-Jones, B. & Stewart, D. (December 2010). “Living Victims of Strangulation-A 10-Yr Review of           Cases in a Metropolitan Community.” Am J Forensic Med Pathol,,  Volume 31, Number 4.

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Prosecution Strategies for Domestic Violence Cases, Part 3: Intimidation and Forfeiture by Wrongdoing 

October 30, 2014

Presenter: Teresa M. Garvey, JD, Attorney Advisor with AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women.

Description: Intimidation and manipulation are integral parts of every abuser’s arsenal of power and control. Intimidation may have prevented a victim from calling the police in the past, and once criminal charges have been filed, the level of intimidation and manipulation often ramps up as the abuser attempts to evade accountability.  Where intimidation is successful in preventing the victim from testifying in court, the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing can be used to admit the victim’s out-of-court statements.  Where intimidation results in the victim’s recantation, minimization, or testimony for the defense, the prosecutor can use evidence of intimidation to charge additional offenses or to argue it as evidence of consciousness of guilt.

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Prosecution Strategies for Domestic Violence Cases, Part 2: Life After Crawford and Its Progeny

October 24, 2014

Presenter: Christopher Mallios, JD, Attorney Advisor with AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women.

Description: The US Supreme Court decisions in Crawford v. Washington and its progeny have changed the way we investigate and prosecute domestic violence cases. A thorough review and understanding of this line of cases is essential to successfully prosecuting offenders.

This presentation examines the history and development of evidence based prosecution of domestic violence cases, and identifies how Crawford v. Washington and its progeny have impacted the prosecution of domestic violence cases with non-participating victims.  There will be an emphasis on properly analyzing out-of-court statements to determine their admissibility at trial.  The presentation also discusses tools and strategies for successfully prosecuting these difficult cases, and the practical steps necessary to achieve success.

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Prosecution Strategies for Domestic Violence Cases, Part 1: Going Forward Without The Victim: Evidence-based Prosecution of Domestic Violence

October 2, 2014

Presenter: John Wilkinson, JD, Attorney Advisor with AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women.

Description: A recurring issue in prosecuting domestic violence cases is whether and how the victim will testify at trial.  Many domestic violence victims are subject to intense pressures—including intimidation and manipulation—that discourage them from participating in a criminal prosecution. And even when such victims do testify, they may recant prior statements, minimize the level of violence or the defendant’s culpability, or even testify on behalf of the defendant.  These cases can still be prosecuted successfully. A thorough and well-documented investigation enables the prosecution to build an evidence-based case that does not depend upon victim testimony.

This presentation will examine evidence-based prosecution techniques that will enable prosecutors to try domestic violence cases where the victim is an absent or reluctant witness. The presenter will discuss tools and strategies for successfully prosecuting these difficult cases and the practical steps necessary to achieve success.  The presentation will focus on effective investigative techniques for documenting and securing evidence that will prove the elements of the offense, as well as trial strategies, including the use of expert testimony to explain victim behavior, that will enable the jury to return a guilty verdict regardless of whether or how the victim testifies.

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The Impact of Differential Sentencing of Batterers 

May 20, 2014

Presenters: Andrew Klein, Ph.D. has served as a principal investigator on numerous research and evaluation grants for multiple federal, state and county government and non-profit agencies covering a diverse range of areas from family violence, The Honorable Michael Denton, presides over the Travis County Veterans Court, as well as Travis County Court Law number 4 for Domestic Violence, and James Henderson is a technical assistance provider for the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women through the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

Description: The faculty will discuss research from a statewide study in Rhode Island on the impact of differential sentencing of batterers on recidivism. The investigation examined the severity of sentencing of DV perpetrators for both DV and non-DV offenses at the beginning of their “criminal careers.” The research revealed that the rate of new DV crimes was lower for those batterers who were initially sentenced more severely for DV crimes. The study tracked batterer involvement in the criminal legal system for twelve years after the initial DV prosecution, comparing the rates of criminal conduct (DV and non-DV) within the first 6 years after the predicate offense (baseline period) to the rate of criminal conduct in the following 6 years. Higher rates of DV re-offending after six years were associated with: more lenient sentencing for all criminal conduct, more severe sentencing for non-DV crimes compared with DV offenses, young age at first criminal legal system involvement, male gender, and higher numbers of crimes, both DV and non-DV, in the baseline period. Lessons implicit from research: DV crimes should be sanctioned more severely than non-DV crimes. More severe sanctions (both the conditions imposed by the courts and the accountability required by probation staff) deterred recidivism over the life course. Faculty will also consider “dosage-based” sentencing that is constructed through assessments of the risks posed by batterers and the needs they have for services to enhance their chances for desistance and compliance with DV and other laws.

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Part II: Stearns County Domestic Violence Felony Court: Keeping Victims Safe

July 10, 2013

Content: While offenders are identified as appropriate for the Domestic Violence Felony Court, victims have access to community based victim services, victim assistance available through the county attorney, and a legal aid attorney. The Stearns County Domestic Violence partnership includes legal aid services to provide civil legal services for victims and their children. Janelle Kendall will explain why these services are such an important component in the operation of the court. Co-presenters will discuss what they provide to victims and how these services have increased the safety and well-being of victims.

Presenters: Janelle Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Ann Cofell, Deputy Director, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and Kim Salitros, an advocate from Anna Marie’s Alliance.

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Part I: Stearns County Domestic Violence Felony Court: Holding Offenders Accountable

June 20, 2013

Content: The court identifies repeat felony domestic violence offenders at the initial arrest stage. Once identified as appropriate for this specialized court, defendants are mandated to immediate pretrial intensive supervision that includes drug and alcohol testing and quick access to treatment ,if necessary, as well as strict no contact and behavior conditions. Janelle Kendall will describe the evolution of this court and co-present with law enforcement and corrections partners to detail how law enforcement collaborates with probation to provide this intensive supervision.

Presenters: Janelle Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Becky Bales Cramlet, Community Corrections Division Director, Stearns County Community Corrections, and Lt. James Mortenson, St. Cloud Police Department. 

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Barriers to Solutions: Investigating and Prosecuting Human Trafficking 

May 15, 2013

Content: Human trafficking thrives in rural, suburban, and urban jurisdictions across the country because it is routinely undetected, overlooked, or misidentified. The common misconception that “we don’t have human trafficking in our jurisdiction” leads many criminal justice system professionals to fail to recognize common indicators of human trafficking. Further, a lack of coordination between the criminal justice system and community-based programs results in a lack of victim identification and offender accountability.  While our ability to identify offenders and victims has improved, there are still significant gaps in the justice system’s response to human trafficking.

Faculty: Viktoria Kristiansson, Attorney Advisor, AEquitas: A Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women.

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Prosecutorial Decision-Making: Anatomy of Discretion

April 29, 2013

Content: Prosecutors have broad discretion in making decisions that influence criminal case outcomes. Their decisions are pivotal on whether to file charges, to engage victims in their decision-making process, to proceed with prosecution, to craft plea offers, to seek restitution, to recommend the terms of sentencing. Prosecutors do so with little public or judicial scrutiny.

Faculty: Bruce Frederick, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Don Stemen, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a member of the Graduate Faculty at Loyola University, Chicago.  Discussant: Jannette Brickman, J.D. is the Senior Program Associate, overseeing the Supervised Visitation Initiative at the Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Victimization & Safety.

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Improving the Justice System Response to Witness Intimidation

December 14, 2012

Content: Violent criminals routinely escape justice by intimidating witnesses to their crimes, which has resulted in justice system professionals, community leaders, and researchers declaring witness intimidation a national concern and a challenge to administering justice. Intimidation crimes range from crude to complex and when successful, escape the purview of the justice system, and allow criminal behavior to continue unchecked. The pervasive nature of these crimes is devastating to victims and community confidence in the justice system's ability to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. This presentation will discuss the ways batterer’s intimidate and control victims; victim behaviors that are attempts to cope with their battering; effective investigation and documentation of intimidation and intimidation crimes, charging and trying the intimidator and strategies to hold these offenders accountable.

Faculty: Rhonda Martinson

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Stalking and Sexual Assault

November 29, 2012

Presenter: Michelle Garcia, Director, National Stalking Resource Center

Content: Research indicates that there is a connection between stalking and sexual assault. However, this intersection is often missed, particularly in non-stranger sexual assault cases. This webinar will examine pre- and post-sexual assault behaviors by rapists and explore whether these behaviors could be considered stalking and the potential benefits of doing so.

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Decreasing the Number of Incorrectly “Unfounded” Sexual Assault Reports

April 24, 2012

Content: Law enforcement is responsible for clearing cases using definitions provided by the FBI.  Case unfounding is a clearance method that includes, but is not limited to, cases that are determined to be false reports.  Unfortunately, in many sexual assault cases, unfounding may also be used improperly to clear cases that are believed or assumed to be false, rather than factually proven to be false. 

Over the course of 18 months, the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force (ORSATF) trained approximately 600 Oregon police officers in 4 Oregon departments about the proper case closure methods for sexual assault reports.  Concurrently, the ORSATF conducted a series of audits of sexual assault reports that had been cleared as “unfounded” by those 4 departments.  Results from the data indicated strongly that a relatively basic training had a tremendous impact on the rates of incorrectly coding sexual assault cases as “unfounded.” 

Christine Herrman, Executive Director, Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force

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Intimate Partner Sexual Assault

February 23, 2012

Content: This presentation will examine the devastating dynamics of sexual assault by an intimate partner including the use of power and control in a battering relationship.  It will provide an overview of intimate partner sexual assault, the impact on victims and the resulting behavior and the importance of a coordinated community response to this crime.  Prosecutors and allied professionals will be better to recognize and respond to common challenges in these cases including the reluctant victim, victim intimidation and manipulation and confronting the misperceptions of the judge and jury.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be better able to:

Identify victims of intimate partner sexual assaults

Understand the unique medical-forensic issues for patients
        presenting after intimate sex assault

Successfully prosecute intimate partner sexual assaults

Faculty: Jennifer G. Long, JD, Director of AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women and Jenifer Markowitz ND, RN, WHNP-BC Medical Advisor.

The Blueprint for Safety: Evolution of the Prosecution Response

May 20, 2011

Content: Using the City of St. Paul’s
implementation of the Blueprint for Safety, this webinar will discuss the application of the Blueprint’s principles to prosecution response in domestic violence cases and demonstrate the value that this coordinated approach brings to prosecutors and victims.

Faculty: Jeff Greipp, Attorney Advisor with AEquitas: The Prosecutor’s Resource on Violence Against Women and Director, the National Witness Protection Center; Teresa Skarda, Deputy City Attorney, St. Paul City Attorney’s Office, St. Paul, MN; and Sandra Tibbetts Murphy, Attorney Advisor, the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

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Putting Context in Criminal No Contact Orders: A New Response for Prosecutors 

May 13, 2011

Content: Many practitioners view criminal no contact orders as an effective and essential tool in keeping victims safer while a prosecution is pending.  Victims, however, usually seek to have these orders rescinded.  This webinar will discuss what strategies prosecutors can use to determine which circumstances necessitate a criminal no contact order and how to thoughtfully balance the needs of victim safety and autonomy when addressing no contact order requests.

Faculty: Jeff Greipp, Attorney Advisor with AEquitas:  The Prosecutor’s Resource on Violence Against Women and Director, the National Witness Protection Center; and Sandra Tibbetts Murphy, Attorney Advisor, the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

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