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Evaluating Strangulation Evidence from a Medical Perspective

Tara M Godoy, BSN RN CFN LNC


Strangulation/suffocation in domestic violence is gaining momentum in the criminal courts as family violence groups advocate for stronger sentencing and more felony charges. Educating attorneys and judges is critical to ensure judgments are made based on facts and medical science. This seminar presentation discusses the statistics of these assaults and what may be present in the discovery. Using case studies, medical charts and photographs, the audience will learn pertinent vocabulary and anatomy with a common goal of realizing the main issues that will drive a case to a fair resolution. Attendees will leave with a knowledge of what may constitute Great or Significant Bodily Injury, the common injuries seen and what to expect from experts.


  1. Introduction
  2. Anatomy
  3. Vocabulary
  4. Statistics
  5. Strangulation
    • Methods
    • Timing to LOC and death
  6. Petechiae
  7. Signs/Symptoms
  8. Legal Focus
    • GBI/SBI
    • Lethality
  9. Case Study (as time permits)