Evidence Based Prosecutions: Building Your Case One Puzzle Piece at a Time

Evidence Based Prosecutions: Building Your Case One Puzzle Piece at a Time
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-07-16
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Evidence Based Prosecutions
Unit 2 Transcript: Evidence Based Prosecutions
Unit 3 Workbook: Evidence Based Prosecutions
Unit 4 Recording: Evidence Based Prosecutions

One of the best parts of working in the criminal justice system is the sense of fulfillment that an individual gets knowing that their work helps to keep people safe. Unfortunately, there are difficult cases that obstruct justice from being served. It gets even more heartbreaking when the victims become unwilling to participate in the process or recant their statements for various reasons. In such cases, the criminal justice system relies on evidence-based prosecuting to ensure that serving justice goes unhindered.

Lindsay Gephardt joins Justice Clearinghouse to share the value in Evidence-Based Prosecuting (EBP). Lindsay is the Deputy County Attorney for the Family Violence Bureau with Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s handled general misdemeanors and felonies in her job, particularly those centered around family violence and sex crimes.

Topics discussed in this session include:

  • What evidence-based prosecution is, and the obstacles in prosecution that prove the importance of EBP.
  • Conducting EBP-proof investigations through…
    • Close collaboration between law enforcement and prosecution to build stronger cases and sort out matters before blowing up into prosecution issues.
    • Inter-discipline training between law enforcement and prosecutors.
    • Being prepared for the possibility of not having a victim by being thorough with evidence collection.
    • Getting as much information from the victim at the onset of response and investigation.
    • Clearing up inconsistencies on witness accounts to paint a cohesive and coherent story.
    • Considering potential defense theories and using evidence to debunk these.
    • Creating a comprehensive history that may serve as supporting evidence.
    • Coordinating closely with the first responders to get as many statements and evidence.
  • What prosecutors take into account during the charging phase by evaluating the strength of the case…
    • Using solely evidence should the victim decide not to or is unable to cooperate.
    • While remaining ethical of not maliciously or baselessly prosecuting anyone.
    • Balancing the interest of justice and not doing a disservice to any involved parties.
  • The pre-trial stage where the various elements are taken into account and scrutinized in their ability to hold up in court.
    • Going through all possible witnesses and evidence that will add value to the success of the case.
    • Looking at the admissibility of statements in court.
    • Utilizing medical providers to verify statements and how these corroborate with medical findings and evaluations.
    • Leveraging cold call experts to provide the court with the context needed to understand and prove points of the case.
    • Going through Other Act Evidence to prove precedence of action or behavior.
    • Looking at any effort the defendant made to make the victim unavailable to testify.
  • The critical piece of collaborative involvement and continuing education in ensuring successful prosecution and how Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Family Justice Centers assisted victims in their quest for justice.
  • A case study that demonstrates how EBP resolved an intimate partner violence case where the victim recanted her statements.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Getting a victim to understand their importance to ensure justice is served.
  • How trauma may affect victims’ recollection of an incident and the accuracy of their statement.
  • Applicability of privacy laws on statements made to medical professionals.
  • Getting cold experts to take part in cases.
  • Establishing forfeiture by wrongdoing in the early stages of the proceedings.
  • How laboratory ISO certifications may boost evidence credibility.

 

Audience Comments

  • “Lindsey was a great speaker and provided detailed information, it was a great presentation and more topics similar to this would be helpful.” — April
  • “Great to hear how the cases are handled and know more about evidence-based practices for prosecution.” — Bibiana
  • “Great session, really enjoyed her clear approach and information.” — Cindy
  • “I thought the entire webinar was packed with good information. The hour flew by and she had a ton of information and how to use it. I very much appreciated this webinar.” — Dawn
  • “She went into a lot of detail. The case example was great.” –Jane
  • “She was amazing and was detailed for all of us to understand. She truly is knowledgeable on the topic.” — Kevin
  • “I appreciated the organization, the thoroughness and clarity of the presentation. Excellent!” — Shirley

 

Additional Resources
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