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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Media Impact

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Since cold hit cases attract the media, prosecutors and law enforcement should be sensitive to the increased level of media attention these cases traditionally receive.  Victims or their families should be prepared for media events and cautioned that statements made to the press could be misquoted by the press or taken out of context in cross-examination. Suspects and their family members may be alerted by the media attention and have time to fabricate alibis or other defenses. [See: OVC Bulletin "Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers"] The prosecution should consider having warrants and affidavits sealed until they are executed.

Reviving a cold case can have a serious emotional impact on a victim or family members of a deceased victim. Victims or their families may have made efforts to put the incident behind them only to be confronted by the trauma again. A victim-witness counselor should be made available to meet the emotional needs of a person notified of a cold hit.

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