The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has unveiled a new approach to investigating cases of domestic violence involving strangulation.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery says strangulation has often proven difficult to prosecute due to a lack of physical evidence. "You can choke someone out without leaving a visible mark," he says. Thus, people can use strangulation as a tool to control their partner. "What is that offender then able to do? Go back to their victim and say, 'see, I told you. No one can help you. I can do whatever I want.' Well the message now is: no, you can't," Montgomery said at a Friday news conference.
In a pilot project between his office, Glendale and Chandler police, and Scottsdale Healthcare, it was found that certified nurse examiners could use a high-definition camera to gather evidence left by strangulation in the eyes, the roof of the mouth, and on the neck – evidence that's difficult for the naked eye to see.
As a result, prosecution of cases jumped from 14% to over 60%.
Montgomery says once the word gets out that strangulation is now easier to prosecute, he hopes it will serve as a deterrent to that type of domestic violence.