Virtual Criminology Colloquium Series: Cassia Spohn

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 12:00pm

Policing and Prosecuting Sexual Assault:  Lessons from Los Angeles
Those who lobbied for rape law reform in the 1970s and 1980s argued that changing the definition of rape and the evidentiary rules applicable in rape cases would increase reports of rape and would enhance the likelihood of arrest, prosecution, and conviction in rape cases. As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, it appears that reformers’ expectations for instrumental change were unrealistic. The reporting rate for rape remains low and case attrition remains high. This presentation will focus on police and prosecutorial decision making in sexual assault cases reported to the Los Angeles Police Department. Topics to be addressed include police decisions to unfound sexual assault, complainants’ motivations for filing false reports, and the ways in which the arrest decisions of police and the charging decisions of prosecutors overlap and influence one another.