Types Of Experts In Rape Cases In Utah

What type of experts can you expect to have testify at rape trial in Utah?  For starters, it is likely that the complainant was asked to undergo a rape examination by a nurse who is trained specifically to conduct a rape examination.  The exam consists of an interview of the complainant who describes the details of the assault–the circumstances leading up to the assault (drinking) , the location of the assault (a party) and exactly what happened (full penetration, touching, etc.).

After getting this preliminary information, the physical part of the exam is done.  The nurse looks for bruising, scrapes, cuts and other injuries on the alleged victim.  The nurse makes notations on the rape examination form, which is about 5 pages long, about what she observes.  The examination also includes a genital examination to determine if there is any redness, bruising or tearing to the genital and anal areas.

Swabs for DNA (saliva, semen) are also gathered.  The nurse will be called by the prosecution to testify at trial.  Even if there are no injuries noted to the alleged victim, the rape examiner will testify that this is consistent with a sexual assault nonetheless.  It is important that a defendant also hire his own sexual assault examiner to look at the rape examiner of the complainant.  Sometimes the examiner will agree with the state’s expert, depending on what the alleged victim says the defendant did to her.  Other times, the trial becomes a “battle of the experts” with the rape examiners disagreeing over whether a sexual assault occurred.

Another expert the prosecution may call is someone to testify about the behavior of a rape victim after a rape–the reasons that she did not tell anyone of the abuse or why she may have reached out to her rapist after the assault.  A good defense attorney will try to keep an “expert” like this off the stand.

In defense of my client, I often hire a former police detective who has a lot of experience investigating rape cases.  Many times, the investigation in the rape case is lacking.  Officers forget to gather items of clothing, bedsheets or photograph the scene of the alleged rape.

If you are facing a rape charge in Salt Lake City, Logan, Vernal, Provo, Bountiful, Ogden or any city in the State of Utah, call me for a free consultation.