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NCJ Number: 82856 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Witness Intimidation - An Examination of the Criminal Justice System's Response to the Problem
Author(s): E Connick
Corporate Author: Victim Services
United States of America
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 150
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New York City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
New York, NY
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Albany, NY 12203-3764
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Victim Services
New York, NY 10007
Grant Number: 2874
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The criminal justice system's current response to witness intimidation is considered, and the effectiveness of this response is evaluated, followed by recommendations for improving this response.
Abstract: The study examined the criminal justice response to intimidation of witnesses in Brooklyn's Criminal, Supreme, and Family Courts. A total of 161 witnesses who had been threatened during their involvement in cases in the court were interviewed, along with 25 criminal justice officials. The threats received by subjects ranged from ominous looks of gestures, to rumors circulated around the neighborhood, to direct verbal and physical confrontations. Among threatened witnesses, 63 percent from Criminal Court, 68 percent from Supreme Court, and 46 percent from Family Court reported the threats to criminal justice officials. The primary response of criminal justice officials was to calm and reassure witnesses. Defendants were admonished by the judge in a significant number of the cases, and there was some evidence that defendants in cases involving witness intimidation received stiffer sentences. Witnesses were offered some form of protection in 4 percent of Criminal Court cases, 5 percent of Supreme Court cases, and 1 of 6 Family Court cases. Investigation of threats rarely occurred. While there are constraints on the resources that the criminal justice system can apply to the problem of witness intimidation, additional steps that are not excessively costly could be taken to counter the problem. The recommended measures are in four general areas; limiting defendants' opportunities to threaten witnesses, increasing official sanctions against witness intimidation, increasing protection for threatened witnesses, and providing witnesses with more assistance in coping with threats and cooperating with the court. Appended are details of study methodology, demographic and case characteristics of threatened witnesses, and the hypothetical cases administered to criminal justice officials. Six references are listed. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): New York; Victim-witness intimidation; Witness assistance; Witness protection
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