The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Training and Technical Assistance team will host a webinar titled “Advanced Investigative Techniques for Cold Case Sexual Assaults” on Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET. The event will open at 1:45 p.m. ET.
The Detroit/Wayne County, Michigan SAKI Team (WCSAKTF) has completed over 3,000 cold case sexual assault investigations and has learned the importance of using advanced investigative techniques to build a solid criminal case. WCSAKTF understands the importance of good notification practices, the difficulties of complex crime laboratory reports, and the hurdles of finding old reports and evidence. The number one mistake WCSAKTF has identified in their case history is simply assuming too much. If the criminal investigator approaches the case with the thought that a DNA hit in the sexual assault kit equates to a conviction, that case may be headed for failure. Anticipating the position of the defense attorney at the beginning of an investigation will help guide efforts to overcome many defense positions that may impact the case at trial. It will assist in developing advanced interrogation techniques, building evidence to validate the survivor’s account of the event, and overcoming the issue of consent at trial.
An investigator should be mindful throughout the investigation to identify pieces of evidence either overlooked or not contained in the original reports. Identifying gaps will allow the prosecution to be prepared for exploitation by the defense attorney during trial. A physical description of the suspect supplied by the survivor is just one detail the defense may use to discredit the survivor’s account of the event. Building credibility for the survivor is the final key to a successful trial.
- Identify pieces of evidence that can show lack of consent that may not be in original reports.
- Recognize potential gaps or weaknesses in the case and how to overcome them.
- Learn techniques to validate and corroborate small details supplied by the survivor to help build and strengthen a case and the survivor’s credibility.