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Implementing Brooklyn's Video Statement Program for DV Cases

NCJ Number
Richard R. Peterson, Ph.D.
Date Published
January 2012
8 pages
This brief describes how the Brooklyn, NY District Attorney's Office implemented the video statement program for domestic violence(DV)cases and how the program operates.
The Domestic Violence Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, NY established a video statement program to improve the evidence available in the cases handled by the bureau. Results show that the conviction rate is higher for video cases than for non-video cases. Although this finding is useful for understanding the possible impact of the video statement program, it is not sufficient to determine whether the program has produced an increase in the conviction rate. This study establishes the value of questioning defendants in domestic violence cases even if the statements are not recorded on video. Most defendants will make a substantive statement, particularly those arrested and questioned within a few hours of the incident. Defendants who were injured and those who were facing charges that were more serious were especially likely to make a substantive statement. The questioning strategy used by the annex screeners was persistent, low-key, and probing, and often produced valuable admissions. Among those who made a substantive statement, most defendants made admissions, and many admitted to using physical force against the victim. About 13 percent of defendants who made a substantive statement confessed to most of the charges. Data were collected by the Kings County District Attorney's Office, the New York Police Department, and the New York City Criminal Justice Agency on defendants arrested in Brooklyn between November 27, 2007, and December 31, 2009. Figures


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