A designated prosecutor within the Sexual Assault Family Protection Unit works with law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes perpetrated against elders in our communities. These crimes may include physical and emotional abuse, neglect, identity theft, and financial abuse. The unit focuses on elderly victims of crime, which by statute is defined as someone 65 years of age or older, so as to accommodate their needs and concerns. The assigned deputy district attorney works closely with Adult Protective Services, Area Agency on Aging, police departments and senior community groups to raise awareness of crimes against elders and assist in the recognition, investigation and prosecution of offenders. This attorney also presents to local senior groups to raise awareness of these crimes and address related issues that may affect elders in our community.
General Prosecutions cover the following units and crimes:
Law enforcement agencies in Ventura County have joined the District Attorney’s Office in our joint effort to thoroughly investigate and prosecute all crimes of domestic violence. In accordance with our protocol, police are trained in proper methods for investigating these cases so that all available evidence is gathered in a timely manner. This may include obtaining recorded statements of witnesses, photographs, documentation of all injuries, and securing other evidence. Due to the challenging nature of proving domestic violence charges in court, these cases are assigned to and handled vertically by deputy district attorneys.
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Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. Human trafficking is a felony.
For more information, see our page on Human Trafficking
Crimes involving sexual assault, whether by fear, force or other means, are among the most serious cases handled by the District Attorney’s Office. Such crimes include statutory rape, child molestation and numerous forcible and other sex crimes that may be punishable by lengthy prison sentences. The Sexual Assault Unit handles all misdemeanor and felony sexual assault, physical child abuse, elder abuse, victims with disabilities, sexual offender registrants, and domestic violence cases.
Cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence crimes are assigned by the unit supervisor in a vertical prosecution format. This means an individual deputy district attorney is assigned to each case from the point when law enforcement completes their investigation through all hearings, trial and sentencing. Unit attorneys receive specialized training to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty crime victims, especially children, have about the criminal justice process.
In this unit, deputy district attorneys work as a team with an investigator and a victim advocate. The investigator ensures all evidence is obtained and assists attorneys with properly preparing witnesses for trial. The victim advocate is the primary liaison between the victim and the prosecution team, keeping the victim informed of the progress of the case and pending court dates. As part of this process, assigned deputy district attorneys are available to meet with victims of crime. The prosecution team seeks to make the court experience more understandable and tolerable for each victim. The assigned deputy district attorney is ultimately responsible for presenting the case in court after assessing legal issues which may impact the likelihood of obtaining a conviction.
Sexually violent predators are people who have been convicted of a sexually violent crime against one or more victims and who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder making it likely they will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. Those offenders who are found by a jury to meet the legal definition of a sexually violent predator are committed for an indeterminate term to a locked facility for treatment unless and until they are deemed safe to be released.