2015 Top 25
Maricopa County, AZ
Innovations in American Government Awards

In 2011, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) partnered with local law enforcement agencies and Scottsdale Healthcare to create a Strangulation Program that provides investigators and prosecutors with the critical evidence needed to file criminal charges against strangulation suspects. In the past, these suspects may have been released due to lack of evidence and often re-abused their victims. Under the program, police and first responders transport domestic violence victims to hospitals and family advocacy centers where forensic nurse examiners conduct a specialized medical-forensic examination and collect advanced photographic documentation, DNA, and other physical evidence to substantiate allegations of strangulation. Since the implementation of this new investigatory approach and program, MCAO prosecutors have nearly quadrupled their filing rates on domestic violence cases involving allegations of strangulation. The vast majority of defendants in these cases have pled guilty and received sentences ranging from probation to up to seven years in prison.