2009 843 Total Convictions (72%) 322 Dismissals (28%) Longmont 481 convictions 84 dismissed cases (14 percent) 28 cases dismissed with plea bargain City of Boulder (30 percent dismissal rate) (Domestic Violence Statistical Report 2009 BC)
1700 calls for service annually (Average of Domes/VPO/Child Custody since 2006) 722 reports in 2009 41% of all cases in Boulder County (2009) (Domestic Violence Statistical Report 2009 BC)
Reviews all case reports written at PD Work closely with Safe Shelter and LEVI Presentations and Community events to raise DV awareness Follow up on: Open investigations (more complex) District Attorney request HHS request Safe Shelter request Direct calls from victims Follow up on closed cases Open- closed cases to charge individuals
Implications for Law Enforcement The single, most appreciated service that officers can deliver to the greatest number of victims is the arrest of their abusers. Specialized domestic violence law enforcement units that focus on arrests can enhance the likelihood of successful prosecution and increase victim satisfaction and safety. (Research basis: Although specific studies of specialized domestic violence law enforcement units are few, the activities conducted by these units have been more widely studied and supported by extensive research.) (2009 NIJ)
A number of jurisdictions have endeavored to create what have been called coordinated community responses, composed of multiple criminal justice and social service agencies that respond to domestic violence. This approach may exert a positive impact on both case processing and reabuse, according to initial research.  For example, both arrests and successful prosecutions increased in several Minnesota jurisdictions with the creation of coordinated community responses involving law enforcement.  Other studies have found similar promising results , although more is required than participation in multidisciplinary task forces for communities to create effective coordinated responses.  Personnel of relatively autonomous organizations (both public and private) cannot be presumed to have the organizational capacity or the willingness among their personnel to truly collaborate.  (2009 NIJ)
2 officer’s dispatched to all IN-PROGRESS Domestic Violence calls Arrive on scene and begin talking with involved parties Determine if medical attention is needed Determine if suspect/victim is at large Determine if parties are in immediate danger Separate involved parties (interview separately) Determine if probable cause or reasonable suspicion exist
Based on specific and articulable facts taken together with rational inferences from those facts. More than a “Hunch” Less than Probable Cause LPD policy is to write a report if RS exist a crime was committed
Probable cause to arrest exists when you have sufficient specific reliable information to believe that under the totality of the circumstances that the suspect has committed or is committing a crime. Less than Proof beyond a reasonable doubt 51% versus 49%
District Attorney’s Burden of Proof The level of certainty a juror must have to find a defendant guilty of a crime. A real doubt, based upon reason and common sense after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, or lack of evidence, in a case. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs. However, it does not mean an absolute certainty. (2011 lectric law library)
If Probable cause exists to arrest one or both parties, person will be taken into custody and taken to Boulder County Jail Arrestee must see a judge prior to posting bond and acknowledge protection order on the record Arrestee typically is granted a civil standby to retrieve personal property. Must be granted by Judge. Not automatic in criminal protection orders unlike civil protection orders.
Rare 21 out of 368 arrest (Longmont) City of Boulder (41 out of 284 arrest) 54% both convicted 34% one conviction/one dismissed 12% both dismissed 57% of dismissals were female/ 43% male (Domestic Violence Statistical Report 2009 BC)
Victim/Witness/Suspect Statements Crime Scene 911 call Phone and/or computer information Video surveillance Physical Injuries Experience and Training
Size and Gender considerations Predominant vs Primary Aggressor Previous Domestic Violence history (Still have to develop PC for specific incident you are investigating) Threat of future Domestic Violence Incidents (Can’t force people out of their homes) Motives (Civil Disputes/Criminal Case/Divorce) Defensive Injuries/Offensive Injuries
Verbal Only reports Different Interpretations of events Not probing questions Civil issues with a small amount of criminal activity Victim will focus on immediate civil action issue and not know or report criminal activity Different interpretations of criminal code (why some charge some crimes and others don’t)
Female party says she was pushed Male denies pushing female and says she was yelling at him No witnesses No signs of injury No previous history at residence Offender / Victim-Perspective (Opposing view points which will build off one another)
Have to find a balance when interviewing Victim between pushing Victim for details and/or backing off Victim (Uncooperative vs Disclosure) This interaction could relate to future interactions with LE and DA. Window of Opportunity to get information when Victim is in crisis and coming forward Window will close quickly once LE leaves the scene and/or is no longer in contact with Victim
Can parties be separated for a period of time Explanation of DV laws to include mandatory arrest laws Safety Planning Victim and/or Suspect resources Protection Orders Child Custody Paperwork Safe Shelter etc. Health and Human Services
2 nd Degree Assault vs 3 rd Degree Assault Menacing Child Abuse Attempted Charges Some charges get overlooked in lieu of known charges DA will make ultimate charging decisions whether Misdemeanor of Felony case
Extreme Emotions -Victim vs Suspect (Frantic vs Calm) Officer manipulation Why should we care if Victim doesn’t Credibility issues Limited time to deal with situation that is months/years in the making Problems with court documents Offenders who know the “system” Perceived lack of caring by Law Enforcement if nothing happens (IE arrest is not made) Misconceptions from LE investigations vs Victim outcry to Victim Service Groups Victim’s previous history with LE, Shelters, DA (previous case outcomes etc)
Previous History at Location Victim was hysterical after arrest made Wants arrest made doesn’t want arrest made Refuses to work with DSS and SAFE SHELTER Long History of Domestic Violence within family
Criminal vs Civil Orders (Do you want BOTH) Divorce Decree’s Child Custody Agreements Only restrained party is in violation. Victim can not get in trouble for initiating contact (DA will have difficult time with this type of case) Bond Violations carry mandatory sentencing (6 months for Misdemeanor and 1 year for Felony)
In a Colorado study, the average female petitioner suffered 12.74 abusive behaviors in the year before requesting their orders (e.g., being threatened to being raped). About 20 percent reported that their prior abuse included the more serious behaviors, including strangling, forced sex and beating. The duration ranged from once to 31 years, with a median of 2.4 years. (2007 DOJ)
Victim Advocates contacted on “in-progress” calls Blue Sky Bridge interviews for children Increase in stalking charges (Look at the bigger picture) Most stalking cases involve electronic footprint Phone calls and text messages Social Media Sites (Facebook) Serious Emotional Distress Habitual Domestic Violence Offender (F5) Person has 3 DV convictions since 7/1/2000
Many cases now involve electronic components Telephones Computers Spoofing (phone calls, IP addresses) Social Media Sites Facebook, MySpace, Adult Friend Finder, Etc.
Victim reports ex-husband spoofed her children's cellular phones and called her.
Son’s phone bill does not show a phone call to his mother (as her phone bill does) Daughter’s phone bill does not show a phone call to her mother (as mom’s phone record shows) Suspects phone does not show a phone call to ex-wife or a spoofing site Victim’s phone records are sequentially out of order
Most companies require a court order or subpoena to produce documents Call History Text Messages (Hard to recover unless in progress) Facebook Post GPS locations Juries want to place suspect behind the keyboard or telephone Have to build a case around the suspect (circumstantial evidence vs direct evidence)
Do victim’s fear re-assault (Victims rarely exaggerate their risk level but commonly underestimate it) Situational Circumstances can play larger role than chronic abuse cycle Firearms in a household increase chance of lethal violence 6 to 1. (CDC Study) Victim’s previously threatened or assaulted with a firearm are 20 times more likely to be murdered by their abuser.
Prior threats to kill, prior strangulation and sexual assaults, as well as drinking and drug use histories and current use, should be taken very seriously when considering offender dangerousness. (2009 NIJ)
Victim Pamphlet (November/December 2011) Folder with Legal Pad, user friendly materials
Detective Mark Deaton 303-651-8517 Detective Sandra Esters 303-774-4720 If you are interested in scheduling a RAL please call 303-651-8555