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In Their Own Words: Practical Tools & Techniques for Obtaining Post-Arrest Communications in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence & Human Trafficking Webinar
Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
12:00 AM PT/1:00 AM MT/2:00 AM CT/3:00 AM ET


This webinar is approximately 90 minutes long.


During a law enforcement investigation of intimate partner violence (IPV) or human trafficking, one often-overlooked area is post-arrest communication between victims, suspects, and friends and family members of suspects. Because of the intimate relationships involved in these cases, communication often continues throughout the process of the investigation, including after charges are filed and court hearings are underway. This can be true even if the victim and suspect are involved in a casual dating relationship. Obtaining these communications is a critical aspect of a thorough law enforcement investigation.

Suspects often exert pressure on the victim to thwart an investigation, by encouraging or threatening them to withdraw their participation or recant entirely. They also frequently "plant" untruths in the statements of victims and witnesses. Such communication can take place directly, or indirectly, through others such as friends and family members. This can hinder law enforcement's ability to investigate the crime and keep victims safe. Valuable evidence can also be lost or overlooked, if investigators are deterred and simply move on to the next case.

One strategy for avoiding this trap is to focus on obtaining any post-arrest communications, particularly when the suspect is incarcerated. Even communications that seem innocuous at first, may ultimately support a crucial piece of testimony or impeach a witness or defendant in court. In some situations, the mere existence of communication between the suspect and victim constitutes a violation of a court order and can result in new charges.

In this webinar, two expert investigators will explain various types of communications that can be obtained during a law enforcement investigation, and describe how they can be used in court, using real-world examples. Discussion will include communications from suspects in jail or prison, as well as social media posts. The presenters will also explore the implications for human trafficking investigations, since many of these cases start out as IPV, as well as elder abuse. Technical tools and tips will be provided for obtaining and preserving various forms of communications (e.g., recorded jail communications, cell phones, computers).


At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Explain how post-arrest communications (such as jail recordings and social media) can provide valuable evidence during the course of an IPV investigation.
  • Consider the implications of these strategies for cases involving human trafficking and elder abuse.
  • Discuss practical tools and tips for obtaining post-arrest communications, including programs that can help to locate additional witnesses from the information obtained.
  • Explore how the content of post-arrest communications can be used to corroborate or impeach statements and testimony offered by victims, suspects, and/or witnesses.



picture of Catherine GarciaCatherine Garcia
Supervising Investigator, Sex Crimes, Human Trafficking, and Child Abduction, San Diego District Attorney's Office, San Diego, CA

Supervising Investigator Catherine Garcia started her law enforcement career in 1987 with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). She achieved the rank of Detective in 1992, working a variety of assignments including Vice, Dignitary Protection, and Sex Crimes. Ms. Garcia was among the first Domestic Violence detectives in 1992 at SDPD. Their unique proactive unit was a model for the rest of the country.

Ms. Garcia is now an Investigator for the San Diego District Attorney's Office. She has served in that capacity since 2001, working in the areas of Sex Crimes, Stalking, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence, Economic Crimes, and Fraud. Throughout her career, Ms. Garcia has investigated over 1,000 felony sexual assault reports, and she currently supervises the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Unit at the District Attorney's Office. Ms. Garcia was awarded "Peace Officer of the Year" in 2009 for her work on an investigation involving a child with a severe brain injury.

In addition to public speaking and training, Ms. Garcia currently serves on the Board for the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (San Diego Chapter), and works with the San Diego Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (1985).

Picture of Carlton HershmanCarlton Hershman
Detective, San Diego Police Department (Ret.), San Diego, CA

Carlton Hershman is a 30-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, retiring in April of 2017. Detective Hershman has worked numerous assignments throughout his career, including Patrol, Juvenile Investigations, Narcotics, Special Investigations, Homicide, Sex Crimes, Elder Abuse, and the C.A.T.C.H. Team (Cyber Unit). During his time with Sex Crimes Unit, he investigated more than 1,300 felony sexual assault cases over a 9-year period.

Detective Hershman frequently provides training to new sexual assault victim advocates in the San Diego area, and he is an instructor at the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Academy on topics such as Sex Crimes Investigations, Sex Crimes Laws, Interviewing and Interrogation, and "Investigations 101." He also presents locally, nationally, and internationally on the subject of non-stranger sexual assault and sexual assault by intoxication. A lifetime member of the California Sexual Assault Investigators' Association (CSAIA), Detective Hershman has often testified in the San Diego County court system as an expert in sex crimes investigations and victimology.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K015 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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