WEBINAR: Countering Witness Intimidation through Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

Many cases involve witness intimidation, which can lead to refusal to testify, recantation, and the abandonment of worthwhile prosecutions. This webinar, presented by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, provides strategies to address this type of interference with pursuing justice for the children, their families, and society. 

Enhancing Conviction Integrity through Forensics Webinar Achieving Justice: Countering Witness Intimidation through Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

SAKI TTA hosted a webinar titled, Achieving Justice: Countering Witness Intimidation through Forfeiture by Wrongdoing, on Tuesday, May 30th from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET. This webinar was presented by Patti Powers, and John Wilkinson, both Attorney Advisors with AEquitas. 

Witness intimidation and manipulation are common occurrences during the prosecution of violent crime, especially when the crime involves a known offender. When witness intimidation is successful, victims may be unable to participate in the prosecution and possibly minimize or fear to disclose certain details of the crime on the witness stand. But what if we eliminate the payoff for an intimidator? 
Coordinated efforts by law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates in the form of safety planning, expedited prosecution, victim safety education, and other strategies can reduce the opportunities for impactful intimidation, thereby increasing the likelihood that victims will feel comparatively safe testifying in court. Furthermore, prosecution strategies, from charging intimidation-related offenses to filing motions to admit out-of-court statements by victims who have been intimidated into silence, can increase the likelihood of conviction and the penal consequences for the intimidator.  This presentation included a brief review of the right to confrontation under Crawford and its progeny. It also emphasized forfeiture by wrongdoing as a powerful tool to hold offenders accountable when witnesses are unavailable for trial due to the offender’s wrongful conduct.

  • Work with law enforcement and advocates to reduce opportunities for intimidation.
  • Educate victims about potential intimidation.
  • Preserve evidence of intimidation that will help ensure accountability of the suspect, regardless of whether the victim testifies.
  • Litigate motions to admit evidence under the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.

To view a PDF of the slides from this webinar, click here.


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