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SATI e-News: January 27, 2003

  

 
In This Issue:
      
    
     
  Promising Practices: Message From the Desk of SATI Training Director
 
 
  Atlanta Police Chief Launches Inquiry into Hidden Reports, Handling of Rapes
     
 

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington launched an investigation nearly two years after an internal audit turned up 34 unreported rape cases, according to the Atlanta Constitution. The investigation will evaluate procedures, as well as the 34 unreported cases, only one of which is believed to have resulted in an arrest. Police believe that three cases are duplicates, but are expected to confirm that as part of the investigation.
 
Deputy Chief C.B. Jackson, now retired, initiated the February 2001 audit after the Police Department received an anonymous letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Constitution. According to the Constitution, the letter claimed that "200 or more" sex crimes had not been reported, and it specifically implicated Jackson and Lt. Terrence Steele, who then headed up sex crimes.
 
The audit took place while Steele still headed the department. In November 2002 Steele was transferred to the Police Department's corruption unit. Steele has since been shifted to other duties in the office unrelated to corruption, after the Atlanta Constitution questioned his connection to the hidden rape reports through the whistleblower letter, of which Pennington says he was unaware.
 
At the time of the 2001 audit, Jackson said all 34 cases were investigated, according to the Associated Press. He said he reassigned the cases to detectives for follow-up investigation. Jackson said if detectives believed the victim was lying, they put the report in the special file instead of assigning a case number.
 
Pennington has named his Criminal Investigations Division head to conduct the probe. It normally would be done by the PD's Office of Professional Standards, but the head of that unit was Steele's supervisor while he was assigned to sex crimes at the time of the under- reporting. The investigation into the unreported rapes is ongoing and as of yet there has been no disciplinary action taken against the accused officers, according to the Atlanta Constitution.
 
Sources:
 

"Rapes Go Unreported in Atlanta Police Department," Women and Policing News Wire, December 19, 2002.

"Police Chief Starts Inquiry Into Rape Cases," Associated Press Wire, December 3, 2002.

"Chief Starts Inquiry on Procedures in Sex Cases," Atlanta Constitution, December 3, 2002.

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  San Diego City Attorney named to National Advisory Committee; City Opens Innovative Domestic Violence Center
     
  Attorney General John Ashcroft welcomed San Diego City Attorney Casey Gwinn as one of 30 appointees to the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women. The Attorney General re-chartered the Committee, now in its eighth year, and charged it with the responsibility of guiding the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services in developing promising practices and innovative programs to prevent violence against women.
 
Ashcroft recognized Gwinn for his role in founding the innovative Family Justice Center, which opened last October. The Center is the shared vision of Gwinn and San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano. It is a "one stop shop" for domestic violence victims, grouping all specialized services into a centralized location, and is thought to be the first such model in the country.
 
The Center houses the entire Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit (38) and its Prosecutorial Domestic Violence Unit (31). In addition, an on-site Forensic Medical Unit operated by Grossmont Hospital Sharp HealthCare will document and treat victim injuries.
 
The Family Justice Center was featured last week on the nationally syndicated Oprah Winfrey Show in a two-day series, How To Stop Violence in the American Family. Gwinn was one of the experts who appeared on the show. The Center's media partners--Cox Communications, San Diego Business Journal, KGTV/San Diego's 10 and Newsradio 600 KOGO--helped develop its publicity campaign.
 
San Diego's Domestic Violence Unit has long been recognized as a national model, and is partly attributed to the 70% drop in domestic violence homicides in the city over the past ten years. Gwinn headed the DV unit for ten years before being elected City Attorney in 1996. The Unit is now run by Gael Strack. Both Gwinn and Strack have been featured speakers at the last two International Conferences on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking, and will appear at this year's conference as well, April 23 - 25 in San Diego.
 
Sources:
 

Remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft at the Annual Symposium on Domestic Violence, October 29, 2002.
 
Family Justice Center Web Site
 
Casey Gwinn bio
 
Gael Strack bio

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  Judge Vacates Conviction in Central Park Jogger Rape Case
      
  It's now official. A Manhattan judge vacated convictions of the five young men convicted in the 1989 attack of an investment banker in Central Park. The judge was ruling on a recent motion filed by Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau and defense lawyers for the five men, which was reported in the December issue of SATI e-News.
 
According to the New York Times, the decision vacates all convictions against the young men in connection with the jogger attack and a spree of robberies and assaults in the park that night. All five men were teenagers at the time of the attack, and now range in age from 28 to 30 years, after having completed prison terms of 7 to 13 years for assault and related offenses. There will not be a new trial.
 
The events which led to the surprising reversal unfolded over the last twelve months, precipitated by the confession of another man, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer-rapist. DNA and other evidence later confirmed Reyes' link to the crime.
 
The district attorney sought reversal of the convictions over the apparent objections of the police department. According to the New York Times, New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly issued a statement after the ruling, which challenged the credibility of Reyes's claim that he had acted alone. Kelly also complained that the district attorney's office had denied his detectives access to important evidence needed for the department's own investigation.
 
More background on how the case evolved over the past year can be found in last month's issue of SATI e-News: http://www.mysati.com/enews/Dec2002/jogger.htm

Source:
"Judge Vacates Convictions in 1989 Central Park Jogger Case," New York Times, December 19, 2002.

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  Max Factor's Great-Grandson Jumps Bail During Trial; Accused of Drugging Rape Victims with GHB
     
  Facing life in prison if convicted, 39 year-old millionaire and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster jumped bail during his criminal trial, and has been declared a fugitive, being pursued nationally and internationally by the FBI. Luster, who was under house arrest at his beach front home when he disappeared on January 3, is facing 87 criminal counts, including rape, sodomy and poisoning, according to the New York Times Times.
 
The case surfaced in 2000 when a college student reported that she had been raped at Luster's home. A search of his residence by authorities uncovered a video depicting Luster's sexual encounters with three women, ages 16 to 21, who appeared to be asleep or unconscious. Luster claimed that the videos were staged, and that they were feigning sleep. The women disputed Luster's claim, testifying that they were unaware they were being taped, according to the New York Times. Luster also said that the women willingly ingested GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate). GHB has the effect of incapacitating victims, sometimes leaving them with no memory of recent events.
 
Earlier in the trial Luster's lawyers negotiated down the bail from $10 million to $1 million. Luster was on a 12-hour excused absence from his residence at the time of his disappearance, so authorities did not begin to search until he failed to report back. Missing from his home were his dog, green sport utility vehicle, and Indian artifacts collection. The dog was later discovered at the home of his mother, who posted $700,000 of the bail money, according to the New York Times.
 
The New York Times also reports that Luster had negotiated the 12-hour absence to meet with his lawyers in Los Angeles. Luster attorney Roger Jon Diamond disputed that Luster is a fugitive, and he speculated in court that Luster could have been abducted or involved in an accident, according to the BBC News.
 
Authorities told the BBC News that Luster left behind only cold-weather clothes, suggesting he may have fled to a warm climate. Gary Auer, chief investigator for the Ventura County district attorney's office, told the New York Times, "He's gone, he has a lot of money and extensive contacts around the world." "It might take time, but we'll find him, we usually do," Auer concluded. Luster would be traveling without his passport, which he was forced to surrender, leading authorities to believe he may try to leave the country under a false identity.
 
The Ventura county judge decided to proceed with the trial in Luster's absence, and the videotapes found in his home were aired for the jurors. The Sacramento Bee reports that in one video, Luster addressed the camera, while a 17-year-old girl was snoring on a nearby bed: "Some people dream about Christmas, Thanksgiving," he said. "I dream about this. A strawberry blond, beautiful girl passed out on my bed and basically there for me to do with whatever I chose."
 
The defense attempted to buttress its consent defense by claiming that Luster is an aspiring pornography producer, and that the women were acting as part of a script," according to the New York Times. One of the videos that the defense attorney played for the jury shows Tonja Doe having consensual sex with Luster. According to the Ventura Star, Tonja even acknowledges the camera at one point, asking if it is on.
 
Yet earlier in the trial she had stated that she never gave Luster permission to tape their sex. The Ventura Star reports that Tonja Doe's earlier testimony on the stand led Luster to believe he was doomed. Superior Court Judge Ken Riley had initially suppressed this particular videotape, but later reversed his decision, unbeknownst to Luster, who had already fled.
 
Diamond's closing arguments lasted nearly all day on Thursday, January 16, before the jury was adjourned for deliberations. The Ventura Star characterized it as "more like a comedy routine, with jurors laughing at the attorney's charm." Diamond tried to garner the jury's sympathy by pointing out that "we lost our funding" since the defendant fled, again getting laughs, according to the Star.
 
The Star further reports that Senior Deputy district Attorney Maeve Fox called luster "a disgusting pig" who doesn't care about anyone but himself, including the jury. By fleeing, "Mr. Luster . . . has basically given you the finger," Fox stated.
 
The jury of five men and seven women deliberated for a full day on Friday before recessing for the long holiday weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. They will resume deliberations on Tuesday, January 21.
 
Sources:
 

"Luster jurors in weekend recess," Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2003.
 
"Luster's lawyer spends day summing up; Women's tales attacked, deliberations next," The Ventura Star, January 17, 2003.
 
"Cosmetics heir's lawyer says women knew they were taking drug," Sacramento Bee, January 16, 2003.
 
"Cosmetics heir is missing as his rape trial proceeds," New York Times, January 8, 2003.
 
"Global hunt for Max Factor 'fugitive,'" BBC News, January 8, 2003.
 

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  Ohio County Wins First Surreptitious GHB Drugging Rape Conviction
     
  Stark County prosecutors last week successfully convicted 27-year old William J. Lilley, an Alliance resident, of rape and sexual battery. Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. handed down the maximum sentence of ten years in prison. He also found Lilley to be a sexual predator, requiring him to register his address with local authorities for the rest of his life, according to the Canton Repository.
 
The 27 year-old victim began vomiting and passed out while partying with a few friends at a local residence. She was unconscious for five hours, awaking once to a hazy recollection of one of the men raping her, according to the Canton Rep.
 
After regaining consciousness, the victim called the police and immediately went to the hospital, where tests showed she had a near-lethal amount of GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate). However, the lab tests were not admitted as evidence, due to questions about the chain of custody. The prosecutor won the case in spite of this significant set-back. The defense is appealing the verdict.
 
The case is believed to be the first time in Stark County that GHB has been documented in a rape victim who unknowingly consumed the drug, according to the Canton Rep. Assistant Stark County prosecutor Jennifer Dave told the Canton Rep that the woman took the right steps by contacting authorities and going to the hospital immediately.
 
The victim told the Canton Rep that her life has changed, she suffers panic attacks, nightmares, and lost 60 pounds. She encouraged other women to come forward and report: "Do it. Be strong, because they're going to do it to someone else, and they'll think they can get away with it."
 
In a recent email from the victim that was forwarded to SATI, the victim said, "I knew something was not right because I only had a few drinks . . . At that time I felt like someone hit me in the head with a sledge hammer . . . " The victim further stated that she was told at the hospital that the amount of GHB in her system would probably have killed her if she had had been lighter in body weight at the time.
 
Source:
 
"Alliance Man Gets 10 Years in Rape Case," Canton Repository, January 18, 2003.

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  Mass. Crisis Center Safeguards Victim's Privacy at High Cost
     
  The Women's Resource Center (WRC) in Lawrence, Massachusetts has refused to comply with the order of an Essex Superior Court judge who ordered them to release the records of a rape victim to a defendant in a criminal case. Starting January 31, the WRC faces a fine of $500 a day for every day they fail to comply with the order, unless a judge at the state Appeals Court or Supreme Judicial Court puts a hold on the fine pending full appeal before January 31.
 
Wendy Murphy, the pro bono attorney representing the WRC, told SATI e-News that, "there is a disturbing trend nationwide of defense attorneys seeking and obtaining access to privileged counseling files simply for the asking." Murphy noted that recent studies and federal research studies have found that rape reporting and prosecution rates will diminish if victims cannot be promised meaningful confidentiality when they seek crisis counseling in the aftermath of violence.
 
In her appeal, Murphy asked that the court suspend the imposition of the fine until the full appellate court has had a chance to rule. She also proposed that if the penalty is not suspended, the court consider an alternative penalty, whereby 500 people will each serve one day in jail, until the appeal is decided. This jail option would be imposed in lieu of the $500/day fine. She submitted to the Court a list of 500 volunteers from around the country, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico, who have agreed to serve a one-day sentence, according to the Boston Herald.
 
Murphy calls the jail option the "Boston 500" plan and it has already generated a buzz of media attention, including coverage last Tuesday on CNN. Meanwhile, the board of the WRC is considering their options in the event they lose their appeal and are forced to pay the financial penalty, which they can ill afford. WRC is a dual agency, providing both sexual assault and domestic violence/shelter services for victims.
 
The practice of defense attorneys seeking rape victims' mental health records is hardly limited to Massachusetts. According to Murphy, defense attorneys all across the country regularly demand access to victims' counseling and mental health records so they can search through private files in the hope of finding something that can be used to raise doubts about the victims' credibility at trial. Defense attorneys also know that victims sometimes walk away from criminal cases when forced to choose between prosecution and privacy.
 
In the Massachusetts case, the Boston Herald reported that defense attorneys learned that the 16 year-old girl had visited the crisis center from her grandmother, who was questioned by a private investigator hired by the defense. According to Murphy, the grandmother did not realize that the information she was disclosing was confidential, nor did she know she had a right not to talk to the investigator.
 
Murphy told SATI e-News that many states have counseling privileges that "look good on the books because the legislature has passed a "privilege" statute or the courts have created a "balancing" test that seems to demand respect for privacy rights." "But in practice," Murphy adds, "it is commonplace to see judges simply ignore confidentiality concerns and order disclosure of personal information based on nothing more than the defendant's request for access."
 
Murphy told e-News that, "this is increasingly the case in Massachusetts and in other states because victims are relatively voiceless in the criminal justice system. Victims are not parties to criminal proceedings, they are not represented by counsel and are not equipped to challenge unlawful court orders and subpoenas for private files."
 
"Simply put, women rarely even know that they have privacy rights, let alone, have the knowledge, ability or resources to demand respect for their rights," Murphy concluded.
 
Two recent privacy battles in Utah led to favorable rulings for the victim. The first case was State v. Damond Blake, in which 36 year-old Blake was charged with the 1998 second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child for molesting his then-girlfriend's 12-year old daughter, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
 
In the Fall of 2002, the trial judge denied the request of Blake's attorney for a hearing to inquire about the girl's sexual history, and specifically whether she had made previous allegations of abuse or had used drugs or alcohol. The defense uncovered that the girl had a juvenile record for theft, and had also obtained reports from the Division of Child and Family Services, as well as school reports. The trial court judge determined that the girl's mental health and other records were privileged material not subject to discovery, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.
 
The Utah Supreme Court came down on the side of victims' rights, ruling in November 2002 that the defense could not sift through mental health records seeking evidence of prior accusations of sexual abuse or other evidence that could impugn the victim, without a strong showing that some relevant evidence actually exists, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
 
The Utah Attorney General's Office called it an important victory for rape victims. "This [ruling] . . . . sends a strong message that defense attorneys do not have the right to put victims on trial," said Marian Decker, the assistant attorney general who argued the state's case.
 
Two weeks later, the Utah Supreme Court issued a similar ruling, this time in the case of an adult rape victim. The Court ruled unanimously that records of conversations between adult rape victims and crisis center counselors must be kept private and cannot be opened by courts, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The Supreme Court based this ruling on an interpretation of the state's Confidential Communications for Sexual Assault Act.
 
Jamee Roberts, Executive Director of Salt Lake City's Rape Recovery Center, welcomed the ruling. Roberts told the Salt Lake Tribune, "Defense attorneys come up with this tactic when they don't have anything else. There really isn't any probative value to what is said between a client and a counselor anyway. We are not there to believe or disbelieve--what we talk about is emotional feeling, which isn't going to be provable in a courtroom anyway."
 
Two years earlier, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center of North Carolina was in the midst of a similar dispute when the District Attorney reached a plea with the defendant. In an attempt to prevent a similar conflict in the future, the crisis center drafted and advanced legislation which provides qualified protection for the records of rape victims. The legislation (Session Law 2001-277) passed and became effective December 2001, according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault..
 
"500 Would Go To Jail To Protect Alleged Rape Victim's Privacy," Boston Herald, January 15, 2003.
 
"Victims Lose Privacy when Court Releases DSS Records," Boston Herald, January 13, 2003.
 
"Rape Victim Records Ruled Off-Limits," Salt Lake Tribune, December 11, 2002.
 
"A.G. Wins Important Victory For Rape Victims," Office of the Utah Attorney General, November 26, 2002
 
"Your Privacy &Confidentiality," North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
 
"Rape Victim Mental Records Off-Limits," Salt Lake Tribune, November 27, 2002
 
"Why are Defendants in Some States Getting Pretrial Access to Victims' Therapy Records?" by Wendy Murphy, Sexual Assault Report, July/August 2001, page 83.

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  DNA News From Around the Country
   
  States Test Limits for DNA Testing
   
  European law enforcement officials have already enjoyed nearly limitless access in requesting suspects to submit to DNA testing. Suspects there have been defined as broadly as men residing in a geographic location near the crime scene, in one case testing as many as 16,400 men before catching the perpetrator. U.S. law enforcement has been more cautious. But some states are testing the limits.
     
  Louisiana
 
Louisiana police recently cast a dragnet in the southern part of the state, testing 800 men in search of a serial killer whose DNA has been linked to the murders of three women. Shannon F. Kohler, one of 15 men who balked when approached for a mouth swab, told the Washington Post that police took a heavy hand, saying that if he refused, they would get a court order, which could get picked up in the media.
 
Kohler believed that other evidence, such as the size of the prints left by the killer and his own phone bills that show he was at home when the murders took place, should have cleared him from the suspect list. Kohler was in fact approached by the media when his name showed up in public court documents. A later DNA test cleared Mr. Kohler, who is planning a civil suit. The killer did not turn up among those tested and is still at large.
 
Meanwhile, Louisiana has yet to allocate any money at all to fund post-conviction DNA testing for indigent prisoners, according to The Advocate. The fund was established in 2001 by a state law, which expires in 2005. State Senator Art Lentini, a Republican and one of the bill's sponsor, told The Advocate he estimates it would cost the state approximately $250,000 ($900 to $1,500 each) to provide testing to those who meet the narrow legal requirements.
 
Sources:
"Police Dragnets for DNA Tests Draw Criticism," Washington Post, January 4, 2003.
"Despite Law, DNA Test Fund Empty," The Advocate, December 13, 2002.
"BR Killer Strikes in Lafayette," The Advocate, December 24, 2002.
   
  Virginia Collects DNA Profiles After Felony Arrests
 
At the beginning of this year, Virginia started collecting DNA samples from anyone charged with a violent felony. An instructional video developed by Virginia's division of forensic science has been distributed to sheriff's departments across the state, along with an instructional video, so the mouth swabs can be collected upon booking.
 
The DNA profiles are then added to the state's database, and compared against other DNA samples to identify previous criminal history. Other states wait until conviction to input the profiles, with the exception of Texas, which does so upon indictment on sex offenses, according to the Washington Post.
 
The practice in Virginia is the result of a law passed last year by the state legislature. The Virginia law provides that arrestee DNA data is later expunged and the sample destroyed if the person is acquitted or if the charge is dismissed by a judge, according to the Post. The law places the responsibility on the court clerk in each jurisdiction to inform the state's forensic division of the outcome of cases, for final disposition. Only DNA from convicted criminals makes it to the National DNA Database, known as CODIS.
 
The Virginia law is almost certain to face legal challenges. Critics have already voiced concerns that DNA profiles could remain in the system despite the lack of a conviction--for instance, cases where the prosecutor decides not to pursue a charge.
 
A New York City city-wide database of crime scene and suspect DNA maintained by the medical examiner's (ME) office came under challenge last November. A defendant in a Brooklyn rape case who was compelled to give a DNA blood sample won a court order barring the ME from placing it in the citywide DNA database, according to the Post. The State Supreme Court went so far as to speculate whether the mere existence of the database constitutes a felony, also according to the Post. The basis for the Supreme Court ruling was a 1994 New York state law preventing DNA test results from being disclosed without the subject's consent. The medical examiner's office is appealing the ruling.
 
Sources:
"VA. to Begin Taking DNA After Arrests For Felonies; Prosecutors, Rights Activists Split on Database Expansion, " Washington Post, January 1, 2003.
 
  Forensic DNA News From Around the Country
   
  Two States Review Former Montana Lab Director's Cases

Authorities in Montana and Washington are reviewing the work of forensic scientist Arnold Melnikoff in dozens of cases, after FBI tests proved the scientist had misidentified the hair samples, which helped convict a man of raping an 8 year old girl 15 years ago, according to the New York Times. Jimmy Ray Bromgard was 18 years old when he was convicted in 1987, and was released from prison in October of last year at age 33.
 
The six year-old victim ID was weak. According to county Attorney Dennis Paxinos, in an interview with the Times, "When we went through the trial in 1987, there was no evidence in the case that would have convicted Jimmy. Then they came forward with the hair."
 
According to the Times, Melnikoff then testified that the chances that either set of hairs found at the scene were not those of Mr. Bromgard were 1 in 100. Since head and pubic hairs look different, "it's a multiplying effect, it would be 1 chance in 10,000." Melnikoff offered similar testimony in the case of another Montana inmate, Chester Bauer, which is also being challenged by Innocence Project attorneys. In a letter to Montana's attorney general, Bromgard's attorneys said they believed "Melnikoff simply made up those statistics."
 
The FBI's trace evidence, as reported in the Times, concluded that both the head and pubic hair samples were "microscopically dissimilar" to samples provided by Mr. Bromgard at the time, and added that the head hair sample was similar to that of the victim.
 
Melnikoff was the director of Montana's state crime laboratory for almost two decades, and has been employed by the Washington State Police for the past 13 years. According to the Times, Melnikoff testified in the Bromgard trial that he had done more than 700 analyses of head hair in criminal cases.
 
Barry Logan, director of Washington's Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau, told the Seattle Post Intelligencer that Melnikoff began a hair proficiency course in 1991 in Washington state, but did not successfully complete it.
 
Melnikoff's attorney, Rocky Trepiedi, told the Seattle P-I that Melnikoff has never taken a hair proficiency test in Washington state, nor has he done any hair testing in the state.

Sources:
 

"State Forensic Scientist Says Criticism is Unfair," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 4, 2003.
"Two States to Review Lab Work of Expert Who Erred on ID," New York Times, December 19, 2002.
"Lab Worker's Cases Reviewed After Montana Testimony Questioned," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December 17, 2002.
"Reopened rape case dogs crime lab worker," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 11, 2002.
"DNA Will Let a Montana Man Put Prison Behind Him, But Questions Linger," New York Times, October 1, 2002.
 
  The following news summaries in this section are reprinted with permission from the DNA Legislation & News, published by Smith Alling Lane, a government affairs firm that provides nationwide governmental affairs services to Applied Biosystems: http://www.dnaresource.com. (Note: Headlines added.)
   
  Judge Admits DNA Evidence Linking Accused Serial Rapist, Erroneously Obtained; Suspect is First Case to Test John Doe Warrants
 
In California, a judge has ruled that prosecutors may use DNA from a suspected serial rapist at trial even though the evidence was wrongly obtained and entered into a state-run criminal database. The decision, upholding key evidence linking the defendant to a series of 1994 rapes, is believed to be the nation's first case in which a trial judge allowed a case to proceed based on erroneously obtained DNA evidence. Prosecutors conceded that the defendant's profile was wrongly entered into the databank for his previous convictions of being in possession of stolen property and assault, which was not a qualifying offense in California. But authorities say it was a good faith mistake. Last year, the California Supreme Court declined to dismiss the charges against the [same] defendant, [Paul Robinson], who was the nation's first suspect arrested under [a John Doe warrant.]
 
Original source: "Judge Admits DNA Evidence Linking accused Serial Rapist," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December 11, 2002.
   
  Inmate, Raped by Corrections Officer, Collects DNA Evidence
 

In Texas, the ACLU filed a lawsuit over a prisoner rape charging that a corrections officer who repeatedly raped a 22-year-old man was not punished until after the prisoner provided DNA evidence of the assaults. After the first attack in October, 2001, the inmate secretly collected the guard's semen on a handkerchief and mailed it to the United States Attorney's Office in Houston. A Texas prison prosecutor confirmed that testing conducted on the sample linked the accused officer to the assaults.
 
Original source: "ACLU Suit: Inmate Collected DNA From CO Who Raped Him," Corrections Professional, December 16, 2002.
   
  Oklahoma's Statute of Limitations Law Withstands First Test
An Oklahoma law enacted in 2002 removed the statute of limitations for sex crimes under certain conditions, such as introduction of new DNA evidence. That new law recently withstood the first of what will likely be multiple tests in court.
 
Original source: "Statutes of Limitations Get Look," Tulsa World, December 22, 2002.
   
  Washington State Opens New, High-Tech Crime Lab
 

In Washington state, leaders say a new $13 million crime laboratory will lead to much quicker processing of forensic evidence in rape and homicide investigations. Located in south Seattle, the new lab has six examination rooms, 3,000 square feet of evidence storage, room for 56 scientists and a $22 million annual budget. It will be used to handle DNA typing, chemical analysis, ballistic testing of firearms, trace evidence examinations and other tests.

Original Source: "New, high tech state crime lab opened," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December 12, 2002.

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  Promising Practices: Message From the Desk of the SATI Training Director: By Joanne Archambault, Founder and Training Director, Sexual Assault Training & Investigations
   
   I recently had the opportunity to provide two full days of sexual assault investigation training at Auburn University in Alabama. The university sponsored the training, and the group was convened at the invitation of Paula Carnahan MA, MBA, Services and Training Coordinator for the university-based Safe Harbor Women's Center
 
What particularly struck me about my experience at Auburn was that the audience was comprised of not only University personnel, but also key members of the local community, including municipal and county law enforcement, medical personnel and the rape crisis community. Based on the multi-disciplinary representation of the audience, it was obvious to me as the presenter that this community is already putting in a concerted effort to work together. In my experience, Auburn is more the exception than the rule.
 
Although I have seen a lot of college campuses struggling to create policies and procedures to deal with sexual assault and harassment on campus, many have created systems closed to those outside the campus community. Many students I've talked to feel this mechanism only facilitates the tendency to hide sexual assault on college campuses.
 
Auburn University has clearly taken a leadership role and has been instrumental in creating a county-wide Sexual Assault Response Team, (SART) including obtaining the equipment needed to conduct the forensic examination. The training felt more productive from my perspective, because the collaborative was already in place, rather than being forced upon the group. Paula's work and the administrators of the University are commended for creating a true collaborative involving all members of the local community.
 
In the course of my travels, I have been searching for a leader among the institutional sexual assault groups, and clearly Auburn is one of them. I encourage others to draw on Auburn's model, and to contact Paula to find out how this might work in your own community. Certainly there is no single formula or magic bullet to create a successful collaboration. Personality differences and preceding organizational history are only two obstacles one might face. But when you consider the improved services victims receive as a result of a strong collaborative model, it is imperative that we find ways to overcome those obstacles. Paula is reachable at carnapa@groupwise1.duc.auburn.edu or by phone at 334/844-5123.
 
   
  For a list of upcoming conferences and training events, please view the Training Schedule.
   
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