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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 227800 Find in a Library
Title: Nobility in Objectivity: A Prosecutor's Case for Neutrality in Forensic Nursing
Journal: Journal of Forensic Nursing  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:2009  Pages:89-96
Author(s): Roger Canaff
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: From a prosecutor's perspective, this article describes the three primary functions in the judicial process of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs).
Abstract: The three functions are the comfort and care of patients who report having been sexually assaulted, competent and consistent collection of evidence, and expert testimony on anatomy and tissue. The provision of comfort and care to individuals who report being sexually assaulted is believed by some SANEs and many defense attorneys to compromise their objectivity in collecting and interpreting evidence. In their training, however, SANEs are conditioned to view such comfort and care as part of their professional practice of medicine rather than victim advocacy. The competent and consistent collection of evidence in the course of examining and treating reporters of sexual assault has also been viewed by many as working on behalf of the police and prosecution. Evidence collected competently, however, can not only favor the prosecution and the police, but also the defense, since it intends to provide a means of objectively determining what happened. All evidence collected by SANEs is usually legally required to be shared with both the prosecution and the defense. The professional and objective information obtained by SANEs in the course of their examinations qualifies them to be fact or expert witnesses in many cases. Fact witnesses simply report their actions and what they observed at a given time. Fact information by a SANE would include such information as how the examination was conducted, the patient's vital signs, and the protocols followed. Expert testimony, on the other hand, involves rendering opinions based on their trained observations. This article also discusses a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Crawford v. Washington, which might affect a SANE's ability to repeat hearsay statements made to a SANE by patients who are unable or unavailable to testify. 10 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Evidence collection; Expert witnesses; Medical evaluation; Sex offense investigations; Sexual assault
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