Using Experts for Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Violence Cases

Gain an understanding of the role of an expert witness. This webinar focuses on the use of experts that respond to sexual violence including medical evidence, toxicology, and/or victim responses to trauma.

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Credit Offered
No Credit Offered

Sexual Violence cases often present evidentiary questions and issues that are not in easily understood without the assistance of someone with specialized knowledge, training, and/or experience. This can involve challenges to understanding the presence or absence of medical evidence, the impact of toxicology on the human body, as well as the effects of trauma and the range of individual responses to sexual violence.

Experienced professionals familiar with the effects of trauma and the range of individual responses to trauma can provide judges and juries with the necessary context to ensure that they are making informed decisions based on the evidence. If left unexplained at trial, these misconceptions can severely impact the outcome of a case.

This presentation will focus the use of experts that respond to sexual violence.  Discussion will include utilizing testimony from law enforcement, advocacy, and forensic nurses/SANEs.  Further discussion will include topics such as the medical forensic exam; strengths and limitations of medical evidence; educating factfinders about the range of victim behaviors and responses; lack of injury; and toxicology issues related to the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence cases.

At the conclusion of this presentation participants will be better able to:
  1. Understanding the role of an Expert Witness.
  2. Introduce expert and fact witness testimony related to medical evidence, toxicology, and/or victim responses to trauma
  3. Educate judges and juries about the significance of medical evidence (or lack thereof), toxicology, and/or victim response to trauma.

Jonathan H. Kurland 

Jonathan H. Kurland is an Attorney Advisor with AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women. As an Attorney Advisor, Jonathan presents on trial strategy, legal analysis, policy, and ethical issues related to gender-based violence. He conducts research; develops training materials, resources, and publications; and provides case consultation and technical assistance for prosecutors and allied professionals.

Prior to joining AEquitas, Jonathan worked for sixteen years as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office of Berks County, Pennsylvania, serving as Chief Deputy District Attorney, Chief of Trials, and Assistant District Attorney. In the course of his career he has supervised, prosecuted and advised on matters involving intimate partner violence and homicides, sexual violence, child abuse and fatalities, stalking, child pornography and image exploitation, human trafficking, and grand jury investigations. Jonathan has extensive experience working with multidisciplinary partners, including victim advocacy and medical professionals. He served as the office representative for the STOP program, multidisciplinary investigative team, and other community-based collaborative efforts focusing on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child abuse and human trafficking.

Jonathan received his undergraduate degree in History from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 and his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 1997. He is an active member of the Pennsylvania bar. He is admitted to practice in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. Jonathan is based in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

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