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Witness Intimidation: Meeting the Challenge

NCJ Number
Teresa M. Garvey
Date Published
92 pages
This monograph assists appropriate allied professionals in understanding the issues related to witness intimidation and guides them in best practices for preventing it and responding effectively when it occurs.
Part 1 will identify the forms of witness intimidation; profiles the victims and witnesses most likely to be subjected to intimidation; and examines where and when such intimidation is likely to occur. Part 2 contains recommendations for training and cross-training among allied professionals and their collaborating agencies that will prepare them to address the challenges of preventing and responding effectively to witness intimidation. Part 3 describes strategies that will either prevent witness intimidation or minimize its effects by limiting or effectively managing interactions between defendants and witnesses, as well as depriving defendants of access to some of the tools they use for witness intimidation. Part 4 focuses on strategies for detecting and collecting evidence to prove witness intimidation. Part 5 suggests methods for responding effectively to witness intimidation in the context of specific cases. Responses range from informal resolution to the prosecution of witness intimidation as a criminal offense, so as to achieve a deterrent effect. Part 6 proposes trial strategies for cases in which witness intimidation has occurred, such as the admission of hearsay statements when a defendant has caused a witness to be unavailable for trial. The monograph also offers some cautionary advice to criminal justice agencies and professionals, i.e., that the criminal justice system itself may engage in practices that unintentionally discourage witnesses from testifying. Victims and witnesses who are made to feel safe, secure, understood, and respected will be more likely to cooperate in becoming a witness at trial. 125 notes