Browsing Alaska Justice Forum Reprints by Subject "prosecution"
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Sexual Assault Case Processing: A Descriptive Model of Attrition and Decision MakingThis study examined the outcomes of sexual assault cases reported to the Anchorage Police Department between January 2000 and December 2003. The data include 1,052 cases involving one suspect and one victim (85% of all reported sexual assaults). Cases and charges were tracked through the Alaska Department of Law to determine what was referred, accepted, and convicted. * Overall, 18% of cases were referred for prosecution. The most common referred charge was a sexual assault in the first degree. Seventy-nine percent of referred charges were sexual assault charges. * Overall, 12% of cases were accepted for prosecution. The greatest point of attrition was from report to referral. Once referred, 68% of cases were accepted for prosecution. Sixty-eight percent of charges were accepted by the Department of Law as referred. The most common reasons for not accepting a charge as referred were evidentiary reasons. The most common accepted charge was also a sexual assault in the first degree. Seventy-five percent of accepted charges were sexual assault charges. * Overall, 11% of cases resulted in a conviction. Once accepted, 87% of cases resulted in a conviction. Although convictions were common in accepted cases, accepted charges were often dismissed. While 87% of accepted cases resulted in a conviction, 59% of accepted charges were dismissed. Ninety percent of guilty findings were a result of plea bargaining. With plea bargaining, some charges were dismissed but a conviction was still secured. Fifty-six percent of convicted charges were sexual assault charges. The most common convicted charge was for assault, followed by sexual assault in the second degree.
Sexual Assaults Reported to Alaska State TroopersThis study examined 989 cases with a sexual assault or sexual abuse of a minor charge reported to Alaska State Troopers in 2003 and 2004, and excluded any sexual assault cases reported to local or municipal departments. * Forty-eight percent of reports came from C Detachment (Western Alaska - Kodiak to Kotzebue), and 58% were reported from communities off the road system. * In 69% of cases, the identity of at least one suspect was known. While most suspects (87%) were adults, most victims (73%) were juveniles. Sixty-one percent of victims were Alaska Native and 38% were White. Intra-racial victimizations were much more prevalent than inter-racial victimizations. The most common suspect was a friend or acquaintance of the victim, followed by a relative. Forty-three percent of suspects and 27% of victims had used alcohol. * Sexual penetration occurred in 60% of assaults. Weapons were very rarely used. Most assaults occurred inside private residences. Nineteen percent of victims experienced general physical pain and 10% suffered bruising or swelling. Most victimizations were reported quickly to Troopers and Troopers were quick to respond. Ninety-six percent of victims were interviewed, with 48% interviewed on the day of the report and 80% interviewed within one week of the report. * Forty-six per cent of reported cases were referred for prosecution, 60% of referred cases were accepted for prosecution, and 80% of accepted cases resulted in a conviction. Overall, however, only 22% of reported cases resulted in a conviction. In some cases, the conviction may be for a non-sexual offense. The highest level of attrition occurred from report to referral.
Stalking in AlaskaThis study examined 267 cases with a stalking charge reported to Alaska State Troopers from 1994 to 2005, and excluded any cases reported to local or municipal departments. We also examined the legal resolutions for cases that were reported from 1999-2004. * Over 50% of reports occurred in B detachment (Southcentral Alaska) and D detachment (Interior Alaska). Three units (Fairbanks AST Enforcement, Palmer AST Enforcement, and Soldotna AST Enforcement) handled 49% of reports. Thirty-five percent of the charges were for stalking in the first degree and 65% were for stalking in the second degree. * Most suspects (91%) were male and most victims (89%) were female. Most suspects (78%) were White and most victims (86%) were also White. On average, suspects were 36 years old while victims were 33 years old. Twenty percent of suspects had used alcohol, but only 2% of victims had used alcohol. Fifty-four percent of suspects were, or had been, in a romantic relationship with the victim. An additional 35% of suspects were friends or acquaintances of the victim. * The most common forms of stalking included standing outside or visiting the victim's home (in 54% of charges), making unsolicited phone calls to victims (in 51% of charges), following the victim (in 39% of charges), threatening to physically assault the victim (in 36% of charges), harassing the victim's family and friends (in 28% of charges), trying to communicate with the victim in other ways (in 27% of charges), standing outside or visiting the victim's work (in 20% of charges), physically assaulting the victim (in 19% of charges), sending the victim unsolicited mail (in 15% of charges), and vandalizing the victim's home (in 13% of charges). Forty-five percent of behaviors occurred primarily at the victim's home, while 27% occurred primarily in cyberspace. * Seventy-five percent of the cases reported between 1999-2004 were referred for prosecution, 55% were accepted for prosecution, and 40% resulted in a conviction on at least one charge. Cases with suspects who violated protective orders were 20% more likely to be referred for prosecution, were 19% more likely to be accepted, and were 41% more likely to result in a conviction.