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Policing and Prosecuting Sexual Assault in Los Angeles City and County: A Collaborative Study in Partnership With the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

NCJ Number
237582
Date Published
February 2012
Length
532 pages
Author(s)
Cassia Spohn; Katharine Tellis
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Publication Type
Report (Study/Research)
Grant Number(s)
2009-WG-BX-0009
Annotation
This study documented the extent of case attrition in sexual assault cases in Los Angeles City and County, and it identified the factors that increase the likelihood of case attrition, followed by recommendations for reforming policy and practice in processing sexual assault cases.
Abstract
The study had five interrelated objectives: 1) to document the extent of case attrition and to identify the stages of the criminal justice process where attrition is most likely to occur; 2) to identify the case complexities and evidentiary factors that affect the likelihood of attrition in sexual assault cases; 3) to identify the predictors of case outcomes in sexual assault cases; 4) to provide a comprehensive analysis of the factors that lead police to unfound the charges in sexual assault cases; and 5) to identify the situations in which sexual assault cases are being cleared by exceptional means. Findings pertained to the likelihood that a sexual assault case would be unfounded, the likelihood the suspect would be arrested, and the likelihood that charges would be rejected by the district attorney due to a mix of case and victim characteristics. None of the outcomes were affected by the bureau or agency that investigated the crime; the victim's race/ethnicity; whether the suspect physically, as well as sexually, assaulted the victim; or the type of resistance offered by the victim. The authors used quantitative data on the outcomes of sexual assaults reported to the LAPD and the LASD from 2005 to 2009, detailed quantitative and qualitative data from case files for a sample of cases reported to the two agencies in 2008, and qualitative data from interviews with detectives and with deputy district attorneys with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office who handled sexual assault cases during this time period.
Date Created: February 1, 2012