Case studies will be updated weekly and are subject to change
But They Were "Private": Destroying a Life through Sextortion & Non-Consensual Pornography
This case study will examine the prosecution of State of Connecticut v. Christopher Lamb and will address how a single person can devastate numerous lives through casual social media investigations and a few keystrokes. It will focus on the growing national and international criminal threat of non-consensual pornography (NCP) and sextortion. Recorded post-conviction interviews with the defendant will give a unique insight into the thought process and methodical social engineering process utilized by the offender, as well as the motive behind his actions. Beyond a specific case study of the Lamb case, additional information and studies related to sextortion and NCP, including victim and offender profiles and resources for law enforcement and victims, will be presented.
From “Protector” to “Unprotected”
Jennifer Marcellis, Cordelia Coppleson, Janelle Marcellis
The last place a police officer expects to be shot is at home, by someone they love. This case study will uncover how a successful police detective overcame the physical and emotional trauma of intimate partner violence, followed by the abandonment by the same criminal justice system she pledged to serve. Using supporting illustrative examples, the presenters will address the failure of the criminal justice system to recognize the severity of violence against a same-sex victim due to the stereotypical notion that “toxic masculinity” is governed merely by gender and heterosexuality. Law enforcement officials need to be aware of the family dynamic differences and non- traditional roles of same-sex couples to properly identify intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships. This case study will illustrate the research that identifies challenges same-sex victims face in the criminal justice court system as well as the recognition of barriers faced by victims of IPV who themselves serve in law enforcement.
Harem of Horror: A Batterer's Manipulation of His Victims & the Criminal Justice System
Christopher Whaley was a model probationer and a master manipulator. He was well-versed in the conditions and consequences of being on family violence probation; he used those very same conditions to have his victim arrested on four separate occasions and jailed for over 150 days. Prior to pleading to probation on two felony charges of family violence against his pregnant girlfriend, B, Whaley called police from a Dallas hospital to accuse B of assaulting him. B was indicted, arrested, and plead to her own felony probation for Aggravated Assault. For the next three years, Whaley kept B a prisoner to her probation conditions. He convinced court officers, prosecutors, and a district judge that B was the problem. Kept hidden was the fact that B was just one of three women Whaley rotated in a carousel of violence, abuse, and manipulation – until B joined unlikely allies and fought back. This case study will examine how Whaley exploited systematic and personal vulnerabilities to weaponize the criminal justice system against his victims. Attendees will explore strategies for prosecuting probation violations to hold batterers accountable.
It Starts with "Believe": Bringing a Probation/Corrections Officer to Justice
Angela Canepa, Amy Pridday
For eight years, Larry Tucker, a probation/corrections officer, took advantage of convicted females who were under his supervision and all in various stages of drug addiction. He also was a member of the school board and generally well-regarded in his small town in Ohio. Several of the females he victimized tried to disclose his sexual abuse, but the people they told either didn't believe them or didn't care. This case study will examine the difficulties associated with prosecuting a well-liked, prominent member of a small community with little to no physical evidence. The presenter will demonstrate how to strategically rely on the word of less-than-reputable community members in a way that not only leads your jury to convict, but to shed tears after their verdict because of their care and concern for the victims. Spoiler alert: it starts with "believe".
New & Better Justice for Victims with Intellectual & Communication Disabilities
For many victims with disabilities, the legal process can be especially daunting. Though most individuals are somewhat familiar with the Americans With Disabilities Act, few people understand exactly how the law works on behalf of victims who report crimes to law enforcement and participate in legal proceedings. This case study will examine the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of a sexual assault case involving Ruby McDonough, a stroke victim who could not speak and was sexually victimized by an aide at the nursing home where she lived. The man was arrested, but Ruby was later declared incompetent to testify because she was unable to provide a narrative description of the assault. The presenter will showcase how Ruby challenged that ruling and set a precedent for the nation by establishing new rules that require officials involved in criminal matters--from law enforcement to prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges--to provide disabled crime victims with all necessary accommodations to ensure their equal access to justice.
No Victim? No Problem: How to Win a Jury Trial Without a Victim
Miiko Anderson, Grant Bradford
This case study will feature an in-depth, comprehensive look at the successful investigation and prosecution of People v. Herbert Goodwin. Goodwin was a convicted pimp who re-offended by forcefully and violently trafficking multiple victims, one of whom was a minor with special needs. During the criminal proceedings, the minor became unable to withstand the emotional and psychological stress. While on the stand, she suffered a complete breakdown during a critical evidentiary hearing, and it was apparent that she would not be able to testify at trial. This case study will focus on the tools, tactics, and evidence used to obtain a guilty jury verdict despite her unavailability for trial.
Ryan Coleman: Portrait of Serial Rapist Targeting Vulnerable Women
Johna Stallings, Micala Clark
After Ryan Coleman committed a series of serial rapes in Arizona and Texas, he was still able to convince a female judge that he would behave on bond. Once released, he committed two more rapes. Prosecutors spent three weeks painting the portrait of a predator targeting sex workers and women in clubs to jurors in March 2019. The chief Complainant’s history included child sexual abuse, trafficking, and drug addiction, along with trauma from a violent rape at knifepoint by Coleman. Coleman's predatory history spanned 15 years and resulted in a 70-year prison sentence. Attendees will learn how to present extraneous offenses during cases in chief, handle counselors as expert witnesses, keep out prostitution activities of complainants through Rule 412 and caselaw, introduce numerous SANE exams and DNA evidence successfully, and present effective punishment evidence.
Triumphs & Tragedies in Using Expert Witnesses
Margaret Bassett, Cynthia Jones, Kim Nguyen Finn
Expert witnesses can be very effective in court for prosecuting violence victimization cases, especially since most people (including jurors) believe pervasive stereotypes about these crimes. However, numerous variables and factors exist beyond the control of prosecutors, such as whether the judge allows testimony, whether there are any jurors who are more skeptical than they appear, the ability of the defense attorney to discount the expert witness’s testimony, etc. This session will present one successful and one unsuccessful prosecution that utilized expert witnesses and discuss points where, in hindsight, different strategies could have been employed. The intent of this session is not to blame, but to learn from examples and critically evaluate questions and responses in order to improve the skills of expert witnesses and attorneys.
U.S. v. Alston Williams: Addressing Commercial Sex Trafficking Using a Multidisciplinary Approach, Pt. 1 & 2
Peter Angell, Jennifer Howard
In late November 2017, the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force responded to an outcry from a female victim of trafficking who stated that she and other young women were being forced to engage in commercial sex and labor across Florida at the direction of a violent trafficker. An investigation revealed that for twelve years, Alston Williams recruited troubled juvenile females into his home, promising love, shelter, and a family environment. Williams used mental and emotional abuse, along with severe physical violence, to control and exploit his victims. This case study will not only examine the best practices for a successful human trafficking investigation and prosecution, but will provide attendees sound analytical approaches and tools, trial strategies, and tips for strong victim advocacy throughout the pre- and post-trial stages of the case.