Ripley County Prosecutor Testifies To Federal Commission

Hertel testified on the issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault crimes.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel virtually testified on the issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. 

On April 14, Hertel provided the Department of Justice Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice with 10 recommendations to successfully prosecute those crimes as well as taking questions from commission members. 

As an elected prosecutor of a mostly rural county since 1999, Hertel told the commission that him and his small staff handle multiple jury trials each year, including domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

“An important thing to understand is these kinds of cases differ widely from other criminal cases that we see,” Hertel told the commission. “With domestic violence cases, prosecutors have to deal with an increase in witness intimidation, dynamics of power and control, or feelings of love and loyalty toward the perpetrator in these cases that just don’t exist in other types of crimes. With sexual assault crimes, we’re dealing with alcohol and drugs being used as weapons instead of guns and knives. That’s a whole different dynamic and needs its own skill set and training.”

Many of Hertel's recommendations focus on additional training for prosecutors and law enforcement officers on how to respond to domestic violence situations, how to gather evidence more effectively, how to successfully pursue a case to secure a conviction and how to more effectively collect data to understand why these kinds of intimate cases are under reported and under charged nationwide.

Hertel is also an advocate for more Federal guidelines and funding for prosecutors that would be specifically focused on sexual assault and domestic cases.

Learn more about the Commission and what it is hoping to accomplish, click here.   

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