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NCJ Number: NCJ 194074     Find in a Library
Title: Prosecution Strategies in Domestic Violence Felonies: Telling the Story of Domestic Violence, Executive Summary
  Document URL: PDF 
  Dataset URL: DATASET 1
Author(s): Carolyn C. Hartley Ph.D. ; Roxann Ryan J.D.
Corporate Author: University of Iowa
School of Social Work
United States of America
Date Published: 04/1998
Page Count: 16
  Series: NIJ Research Report
  Annotation: Based on an analysis of the trial strategies used by prosecutors in 40 domestic violence cases in Iowa, this study recommends a prosecution strategy most likely to yield convictions on the initial charge.
Abstract: Trial transcripts were used to identify the prosecution strategies used in the 40 trials, which involved both fatal and nonfatal domestic-violence felonies. The trial transcripts suggested that prosecutors were generally aware of the likely defense to be used, and they structured their prosecution strategies to anticipate these defenses. Defense themes and strategies included self-defense or provocation, attempting to downgrade the offense to a lesser charge, diminished responsibility, and the raising of reasonable doubt that the defendant even committed the offense. Various defense strategies included attempting to manipulate common public misconceptions and myths about domestic violence. In countering such defense efforts to build on jurors' conditioned misconceptions of the dynamics of domestic violence, prosecutors must assist jurors in understanding the dynamics of domestic violence by "telling the story" of domestic violence. In domestic violence cases, the incident by itself is not an adequate unit of information for jurors. Context information about the relationship or prior abuse completes the story and can dispel some myths about domestic violence. The use of expert testimony would be the most direct method for "educating" jurors about the dynamics of domestic violence. The testimony of experts who have researched the phenomenon of domestic violence can help the jury to understand the context of the larger abusive relationship and the rationale behind the victim's actions. 26 notes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses ; Defense ; Prosecution ; Jury decisionmaking ; Domestic assault ; NIJ grant-related documents ; Iowa
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 95-WT-NX-0003
Sale Source: University of Iowa
School of Social Work
North Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Report (Summary)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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