What is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner?
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): are specialists in forensic nursing. A SANE nurse will perform a forensic evaluation that has medical examination features. A SANE examination is geared for the preparation, collection, evaluation and disposition of evidence. All the discovered evidence and the medical treatment that is provided is relative to the accuser having been sexually assaulted.
Evidence Collection: Part of the SANE exam will involve the collection of evidence from the accuser’s body. The SANE nurse will make observations of the accuser’s body and memorialize those findings in a report. The SANE nurse will also swab the different parts of the body that the accuser claims the accused touched/penetrated. For example, the penis/vagina/anus/chest etc. may all be swabbed for potential DNA, semen, secretions of any sort, saliva, etc. The swabs will then be sent to a laboratory in order to determine if any scientific evidence emerges from the testing of the swabs. The laboratory will then do their own report based on their findings. That report will be forwarded to the state. The report will also go to Blank Law, PC.
Time Limit: *A SANE examination must take place within 120 hours (5 days) after the alleged assault. The time limit of “120 hours” is the typical time frame used for SANE examinations throughout Michigan. 120 hours after the alleged assault is crucial for the SANE nurse to try and collect any useful evidence.
The Accuser is Told to Go to SANE: An accuser typically does not just walk into a doctor’s office or hospital and request to see a SANE nurse. Typically, a SANE examination is done after the accuser has made a complaint to the police department and/or made a complaint at a Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Once that complaint is made, the state/police department will request that the accuser go be examined by a SANE nurse. The SANE nurse, unlike a family doctor, is specially trained on how to do a thorough interview and physical examination of the accuser.
The SANE Report: The SANE nurse is required to do a SANE report based on the examination. The SANE report is typically ten (10) pages. The ten (10) page SANE report is filled out by the SANE nurse as the examination is done. Once the SANE examination is completed, the SANE report will be turned over to the state. The SANE report will also be furnished to Blank Law, PC.
The SANE Nurse will Testify at Trial: The state can and will call the SANE nurse to testify at trial. Michigan Rules of Evidence, 803(4), allows for such testimony. Testimony for purposes of a medical diagnosis is an exception to the hearsay rule and therefore it is allowed in at trial.
At trial, the state will also move to admit the SANE Report. A SANE report is admissible at trial. If the report is consistent with the accuser’s accusations this will be used against the accused. There are several ways that the SANE report can be used in favor of the accused. ONLY a skilled lawyer, with years of experience with SANE nurses and SANE reports will be able to navigate these waters successfully.
When a SANE report exists, Blank Law, PC should be in your corner. Nicole has read and dissected 1,000’s of SANE reports. Blank Law, PC, is well versed in the strengths and weaknesses of SANE reports. As the prior Chief of the Sex Unit in Macomb County, Nicole has years and years of experience working with SANE nurses, observing SANE lectures and critiqueing SANE reports. There is an enormous amount of useful information in SANE reports. That information can be discovered and successfully used against the accuser so long as you have an attorney that knows what to look for. If a lawyer doesn’t know what to look for in the SANE report, the SANE report can and will be used against you. There truly is a special skill set that goes along with defending Criminal Sexual Conduct cases, you can’t afford to not get the best, get Blank Law, PC.