Debunking The Myths
Is evidence collected by crime victims admissible in court?
Despite so many falsehoods that have been told recently, evidence collected by victims can be admitted in court. Don’t take my word for it. There is case law.
Here are two cases from successful prosecutions of sexual assaults in which evidence collected by the crime victims was admissible in court.
State of Wisconsin v. Aaron Matthew Heine (corrections officer)
After she was sexually assaulted, the victim spat the semen into her hand. She later placed it into a plastic cup and covered it with a sanitary pad. When she reported the crime, she turned the evidence over. The DNA matched that of the perpetrator and there was a criminal conviction in this case. This case was also upheld on appeal.
People of The State of New York v. Jose Cosme
Jane Doe, an inmate at the Rikers Island jail, saved the DNA of her sexual assault by wiping the perpetrator’s semen onto a t-shirt and cutting the shirt into small pieces. She then mailed a piece of the shirt out of jail to her sister and another piece to a friend. The DNA on the shirt matched the DNA of Jose Cosme, a corrections officer at Rikers. Cosme pleaded guilty because of the strength of this evidence.
There are many more cases. Think Monica Lewinsky. Get in touch with me if you still doubt that evidence saved by survivors of sexual assault can be admitted as evidence.
Who decides if evidence is admissible? (Spoiler Alert: The Judge)
There is never a guarantee that any single item of evidence will be admitted in court whether it is collected by evidence technicians, law enforcement, crime victims, bystanders, or anyone else. If an item of evidence is contested, debates occur and briefs highlighting admissibility issues are filed in court. The judge then reviews the briefs, conducts research, and makes a final decision about the admissibility of the evidence based on law. The judge. There is no law that says crime victims can’t collect their own evidence.
Crime victim advocates, prosecutors and forensic nurses with questionable agendas, FBI Special Agents, and Attorneys General do not make the decisions about admissibility. The judge decides.
Does the PRESERVEkit address medical issues?
No. I am an evidence specialist. Complaints that the at-home kits don’t address medical issues exist because these kits, at present, only address evidentiary issues. The 77% who don’t report or have a forensic exam miss attention to evidence, medical issues, trauma, STIs, pregnancy, toxicology, and more. The at-home evidence collection industry addresses the evidentiary portion of these needs. The crime victim advocates and the government should consider asking themselves how they can address the non-evidentiary needs of survivors. They should ask how they can partner with the at-home kit industry to help the 77% receive the assistance they truly need?
A message to SANE nurses -
We at the Preserve Group have deep respect for the nursing profession. SANE nurses are specialists that conduct forensic medical exams of sexual assault victims. Obtaining a SANE exam is the optimal choice for survivors of sexual assault to address evidence, medical, trauma, pregnancy, STI, toxicology, and ongoing issues.
The PRESERVEkit was not developed and launched to replace the forensic medical exam and never claimed to do so. It is unknown to us why so many within the SANE ranks have accused us of trying to replace the SANE examination.
The fact is that 77% of sexual assault survivors do not report the crime. The PRESERVEkit exists for the 77%.
What are SANE nurses doing to help the 77%?
We suggest partnering with us to help address the non-evidentiary needs of the 77%.
Please get in touch with me to further this partnership.
Co-Founder of The Preserve Group
Retired FBI Special Agent
Specializing in evidence collection
& complex investigations
The Preserve Group Response to the Attorney General Connecticut cease and desist letter