What is EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION? What does EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION mean? EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION meaning - EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION definition - EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
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Evidence-based prosecution' (sometimes termed "victimless prosecution") refers to a collection of techniques utilized by prosecutors in domestic violence cases to convict abusers without the cooperation of an alleged victim. It is widely practiced within the American legal system by specialized prosecutors and state's attorneys and relies on utilizing a variety of evidence to prove the guilt of an abuser with limited or adverse participation by the abuser's victim, or even no participation at all.
Evidence-based Prosecution arose from the unique challenges facing prosecutors in domestic violence cases. While domestic abuse has been prevalent throughout history and its impacts severe, only in recent decades has prosecution been undertaken aggressively. Since the 1970s, increased public awareness has led to tougher laws and an ever-expanding role for law enforcement and the criminal court system in what had previously been regarded as "a family matter". While in the 1980s as little as 5% of domestic abuse cases with injuries would be routinely prosecuted, in 2010, the rate in some jurisdictions approached 80%.
Prosecutors managing these cases face a constant problem of victims who are unable or unwilling to cooperate with prosecution. In jurisdictions with aggressive enforcement of domestic violence laws, approximately 65-70% of victims do not cooperate with prosecution. This occurs for a variety of reasons and includes seeking dismissal of charges, lying to prosecutors or police, recanting statements about the abuse, refusing to talk about the abuse, perjuring themselves in court to protect the abuser, or refusing to come to court altogether.
Evidence-based prosecution arose from the desire to prosecute individuals in domestic violence cases either without placing pressure on the victim to cooperate when she or he might face retaliation or other dangers from doing so, or when such pressure is applied but ineffective. It was first used in the 1980s, but did not become widespread until the 1990s. By 2004, it was actually preferred by some prosecutors, who reported higher conviction rates without victim cooperation than with it. As of 2010, the use of evidence-based prosecution is strongly encouraged, if not mandated, for agencies receiving federal funding through the STOP Violence Against Women Act.
In its infancy, evidence-based prosecution was often called "victimless prosecution," although this has since become a slang term only, neither factually accurate nor politically correct. As prosecutors and victim advocates frequently point out, evidence-based prosecution often does not deal with a "victimless" crime, nor does it seek to remove the victim or her interests from the case, but rather seeks to focus on the crime and its impact without relying on the victim's participation. Of course, all prosecutions are based on evidence, so the term "evidence-based" prosecution, while politically correct, is not at all descriptive. In context, "evidence-based" prosecution is best understood as a prosecution without any testimony from most or all of the principal witnesses and instead making effective use of all remaining or alternative forms of evidence.
The most common pieces of evidence used in evidence-based prosecution are: 911 call recordings and transcripts, Child witness statements, Neighbor witness statements, Medical records, Paramedic log sheets, Prior police reports, Restraining orders, Booking records, Letters from the suspect, Videotaped/Audio taped interviews with the victim, and Defendant's statements.
The basic techniques in utilizing these and other pieces of evidence loosely resemble the use of circumstantial evidence in murder cases (in which, of course, the victim is never available to testify). For instance, a recording of a 911 call by the victim might be used to convey what happened to the judge or jury if the victim is not in court to testify, refuses to talk about what happened, or is not truthful about it. Likewise, statements from the Defendant in the case, such as to police officers or detectives, might be introduced to show inconsistencies or admissions about the abuse.