Context is Everything: Battered Women Charged with Crimes
Presented by Teresa Garvey, Attorney Advsior, AEquitas
Police respond to a report of a domestic disturbance, only to find both parties with injuries and each accusing the other of assault. How should the police decide whom to arrest? A prosecutor preparing to indict a woman for assault on her intimate partner learns that the victim has a long history of abusing the defendant. How should that factor into the prosecutor’s handling of the case? A defendant in a drug case testifies at trial that she was forced to help her abusive boyfriend by allowing him to deal drugs out of her home. How should her credible testimony impact her sentence if she is convicted? A defendant with a pending charge for stalking appears at the police station with printouts of threats to “ruin” him that he claims the stalking victim has emailed or posted online—actions that the victim denies. Should she be charged with a crime?
These and many similar dilemmas face police, prosecutors, and allied professionals who deal with domestic violence. Mandatory arrest policies can lead to the arrest of victims exercising their right to self-defense. This webinar emphasized the importance of contextual analysis in evaluating criminal responsibility at the arrest, charging, pre-trial, and sentencing phases. Such analysis will help to ensure that the dynamics of domestic violence are properly factored into decisions about arrest, charging, plea negotiations, and sentencing, and will enhance the quality of justice for those who have been victims of abuse.
Allied justice system professionals including but not limited to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, community-based service providers, probation and parole officers, and judges are encouraged to view the recording.
This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for one and one-half (1.5) hours of continuing legal education credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.
Click here to view the recording of the May 16, 2014 webinar.
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