Prosecutor’s Guide to Stalking
“This guide is intended to assist prosecutors in analyzing the elements of their stalking statute(s); recognizing stalking in cases where it has been employed by the offender in connection with some other criminal offense; appreciating the strategic value of charging stalking in cases where it is related to other criminal offenses; determining what evidence is necessary to prove the elements of the crime and ensuring that such evidence is properly documented and preserved; and effectively prosecuting a stalking charge.
Stalking is often misunderstood and only rarely, considering its prevalence, criminally charged by police or prosecutors. In popular culture, the crime of stalking tends to be portrayed as the purview of mentally ill individuals who become obsessed with a celebrity or with a stranger or casual acquaintance—someone with whom the offender has no real relationship. While such stalkers do exist, and the threat that they pose should not be understated, stalking is much more commonly a feature of intimate partner violence or other cases in which the offender’s stalking behavior may be overlooked in responding to what is perceived as the “primary” crime.”