Every 2 minutes a woman is raped in the U.S. And about half of women are raped by an intimate partner. Legal nurse consultants assist attorneys in unraveling the details of a rape and in helping the attorneys navigate through the medical records.
Terry was charged with one count of unlawful sexual penetration in the 1st degree against his ex-wife, Yolanda. She alleges Terry sexually assaulted her at her home.
In a criminal case, it is imperative the LNC be familiar with the definitions of the laws and specifications which the defendant has been charged with violating. These are the acts of being raped the prosecution aims to prove and the defense either argues innocence, or in lesser offenses, a reduction in sentencing.
The LNC reviewed police reports and interviews, Yolanda’s emergency department and SAFE records, chain of custody documents, and the DNA analyst report.
These materials allow the LNC to identify the following:
1. The SANE (sexual assault nurse examination) was conducted approximately 8 hours post-assault.
2. Yolanda consented to photography, but no photographs were provided. The attorney was made aware the facility’s SANE procedures do not include photography, and the facility lacked written SANE policies and procedures.
3. The SANE documented a posterior fourchette laceration, hymenal erythema, and a “lesion or abrasion” to the labia minora.
4. The SANE evidence kit was sealed with evidence tape approximately 12 hours after the completion of the examination. When questioned by the attorney about the time lapse, the examining SANE indicated all kits are reviewed by the SANE Manager prior to sealing and supplying the evidence to law enforcement.
5. Male DNA was extracted from the vaginal sample collected by the SANE for which Terry could not be excluded as the contributor.
This case study demonstrates the spectrum of standards and practices with which an LNC must know to provide a thorough, evidence-based analysis and to effectively engage in trial strategy development related to the medical evidence.
How can you get involved in helping attorneys with these kinds of cases?
In our new course, Sexual Assault Cases: How the LNC Shines, you will get the tips you need to analyze medical records, prepare well-constructed reports, and work with attorneys handling sexual assault cases. Get details at https://legalnursebusiness.com/sexual-assault-cases-how-the-lnc-shines/
Participate in the live course or view the recordings and learn at your convenience.
Teresa Devitt Lynch is a SANE nurse and developed this course in planning with Pat Iyer.