RECOMMENDATION 72

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
3

State and Local prosecutors should use the vertical prosecution model for child pornography and related cases.

The vertical prosecution system involves a single prosecutor handling a particular criminal case from its inception to its conclusion. In cases involving sexually abused or exploited children the young victims are often very frightened at the prospect of going into court. Sometimes the procedures that the victim must go through such as meeting new people and continuously repeating his or her story add to the trauma. When the same prosecutor handles the case it enables him or her to work with the victim on a continuing basis, gain the child's confidence, and help prepare the child for trial.

The vertical prosecution model also ensures that the case is not passed on to another prosecutor who may be unfamiliar with the facts or law involved in the prosecution. In California Governor George Deukmejian has established a grant program through the Office of Criminal Justice Planning to implement the vertical prosecution in model programs involving child sexual abuse and child pornography case.