Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Criminal Law Practice
The most challenging cases for both prosecutors and defense attorneys are special victim cases involving allegations of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The incidents underlying these cases typically occur in private in a domestic environment often laden with complicated and dysfunctional dynamics. The presentation of these sensitive cases in public court proceedings creates numerous pitfalls for even the most experienced practitioners as all parties struggle to balance the defendant’s rights against the victim’s rights, often with no clear way of reconciliation. This course will examine these types of cases from start to finish, including investigation, the filing of criminal charges, trial, and sentencing, as well as the complex social issues and public interest surrounding these cases. Students will learn both the practical skills for handling these cases and consider the deeper implications regarding how such cases are handled in today’s criminal justice system. This course counts toward completion of the Experiential Learning Requirement.