The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am REALLY pissed about this...

Posted by Seeking Solace |

And you should be too!

Rape victim was barred from using terms like "rape" and "sexual assault" to describe her plight because a judge ruled they could be prejudicial to the defendant.

So you may be wondering "How can this be legal?" Well, judges have broad discretion in determining if the probative value of the presented evidence or testimony is outweighed by it's prejudicial effect to the defendant.

In non legal-ease, it means that if evidence unfairly inflammatory to the defendant, it can't be used.

So in this case, the victim cannot say she was raped to describe what happened to her.

WTF????

Wait a second here. So, the words "rape" or "sexual assault" at trial, despite the fact that the defendant is charged with those crimes? What's next, the word "murder" can't be used to describe someone who is dead?"

Are we to assume that jurors are too stupid to realized that the words used by either victim or defendant are not what determines the outcome in a criminal matter?

Look, I have defended criminals (not rapists). I understand the whole prejudicial effect of evidence, particularly words used to describe my client or what my client allegedly did. I don't think any of them felt unfairly prejudiced by the victim using certain terms to describe what happened. Even if a victim constantly used certain terminology that appears prejudicial, an objection with a move to strike could have been used. (The last sentence opens another can of worms that I am not going to go into here.) A cautionary instruction would also suffice.

But to bar certain words unfairly tips the balance in favor of the defendant. And it makes it difficult for juror to see the victim as a victim.
What this case amounts to is a dispute about sex, or at best, date rape. Where is there justice in that?

3 comments:

rented life said...

trying to think of a good replacement word...for example, if you can't say murder, say "slaughtered". So rape...non-consensual, brutal sexual act.

That's all just stupid.

JustMe said...

this is so ridiculous. as if it wasn't hard enough to get a rape conviction in our system.

Prisca said...

Some days the justice system confounds me. This example just makes me want to vomit. You have to wonder about the kind of man this judge is to make these kinds of rulings.

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