Make Your Case: An Emphasis on both Burden and Proof
For anyone who’s had to go through this, it may seem familiar.
This is one of those circumstances which is always drastically different when it’s in your head versus when it’s experienced outside of your head, in real life.
What is Most Important in a Stalking Case Regardless of Outcome
Even if in the end some of your evidence gets thrown out the fact that you went through the effort to document put it into a spreadsheet, keep notebooks, video logs, etc. … anything will help you when bringing your issue as a case to law enforcement and the authorities.
Just in case you thought it was quite a mountain to climb when you have to deal with friends and family that don’t understand…
You may still have to deal with that mountain plus a system that really isn’t designed to handle these kinds of cases, overworked law enforcement officials, attorneys that can’t begin to relate, and judges well, they are judges. They look at all kinds of cases all the time. Your case is likely just another number on their docket.
Information & Evidence When You Know Who Your Stalker Is
The more you learn to document, catalog, and track details the better. Anything you can get (legally). Internet research is your friend.
Tips on Helpful Information for Evidence
Any piece of information which can be verified from another person’s point of view will be considered heavily as evidence. This means any images, video, documented property damage, verifiable device or network hacking (this is a whole other conversation) will be most helpful as proof of a stalker.
To be considered evidence, the information you have has to be able to provide to other people the experience that you have had without the context of all the details you have experienced. Make sense?
No, I didn’t think so… Let’s look at this from another point of view.
Stalker (and bullying cases) cases are personal. Someone is repeatedly harassing, threatening you personally and causing whatever level of damage to your property and/or person. From your point of view as the target, someone is definitely trying to harm you. From someone else’s point of view most if not all of the events in your life can be caused through some other means without direct proof (like a video of someone actually doing the damage or entering your home while you are not there). That is what you have to prove to establish a case against your stalker.
This is important for getting a TRO (temporary restraining order) against someone as well.
In addition… even if you have a ton of circumstantial evidence or happenings or vandalism the reality is when it comes to stalking the main burden of proof lies with being able to prove that someone’s repetitious actions have a malicious intent even though when looking at those actions from a distance or from outside of those circumstances they can be interpreted as legal.
The key here is repetition. Fortunately a lot of stalkers are obsessive so they must do things over and over again so there’s a good chance you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to gather the necessary information since so few of them just up and stop.
The legal requirements which will matter in a case can vary from state to state.
That being said there are some consistencies in putting together effective evidence packages
- Images – preferably time stamped
- Video – Even better
- Eye witnesses – If they are willing to come forward, this is important especially if the stalker asked them to deliver anything, etc.
- Property Damage – Especially if it is a repeat occurrence it is likely to be considered more seriously.
There are other things that matter as well like ummm… body fluids. Just keep in mind the context of any evidence. If your stalker is someone who you were emotionally involved with then the authorities will consider that as well.
When You Don’t Know Who Your Stalker Is…
If you don’t know or are not sure who your stalker is. Do everything you can to find out.
These days it’s easy enough to obtain discreet devices to catch people when they think you are not looking.
Some tips on finding out who your stalker is;
- Change your routine. Stalkers sometimes pride themselves on being flexible, spontaneous and an ‘in the moment’ sort of person with their targets being the opposite making them easy targets. So, change it up.
- Check your security on all Internet connections. This will mean everything from; smart appliances, Smart TVs, cell phones, tablets, computers home networks etc.
- Update all passwords to any online accounts: Sigh… yes I know a royal pain but this should happen anyhow. Get a good password management tool like Dashlane. It’s worth it.
- Get a few good, discreet cameras; in your home, outside your home and in your car even.
- Observe. observe and observe. Everything and everyone in your surroundings.
Just to know I am not a lawyer, or law enforcement official. I and my family have survived a long term stalker. So, do consider any of your circumstances and the relevance for the location, state and particulars to what you are reading here. Every case and every person’s circumstances are different. We hope this helps you. Thank you for reading!