Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

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Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

Yeah.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/us/california-prosecutors-defend-detention-of-teen-rape-victim.html?_r=2&hp
Spoiler:
SAN FRANCISCO — In a case that has pitted law-enforcement officials against advocates of victims’ rights, prosecutors in Sacramento County, Calif., have detained a 17-year-old girl for twice failing to appear in court to testify against the man accused of raping her.

The prosecutors say that testimony from the teenager, who twice ran away from a foster home before scheduled court appearances, is critical in the upcoming trial against a man who has a long criminal record and is also suspected of raping at least one other woman. But the teenager’s lawyer and victims’ advocates say that the detention would discourage others, especially those who have been sexually assaulted, from coming forward. They described the move as a setback in a state with some of the country’s strongest laws protecting victims.

Both sides agree that the detention of a material witness, particularly a juvenile, is extremely rare. The girl, who has been held in a juvenile detention center since March 23, is scheduled to appear on Monday at a hearing concerning her detention at Sacramento Superior Court.

The girl was 16 and staying at a foster home when she was attacked in July, the authorities say. She had gone out with friends one evening in Sacramento, officials said, when the suspect, Frank William Rackley, 37, is said to have abducted her from a light rail station and raped her. Prosecutors have been forced to postpone the trial against Mr. Rackley because of the teenager’s missed court appearances.

Officials in the Sacramento district attorney’s office have said that they were reluctant to detain the teenager but that it was necessary for the public good.

Lisa M. Franco, the teenager’s lawyer, said the detention violated Marsy’s Law, a 2008 amendment to the state’s Constitution that guarantees victims be free of intimidation during the criminal justice process. That provision should supersede the authorities’ power to detain a material witness, Ms. Franco said.

“She’s afraid of confronting her rapist, and she doesn’t want to testify,” Ms. Franco said. “By imprisoning her it’s just punitive, punishing her for not wanting to testify, which is contrary to what Marsy’s Law stands for. She’s being bullied because she doesn’t want to do what the D.A. wants her to do. She’s having a horrible time in there. She’s in a place where they put criminals.”

Ms. Franco has proposed releasing her to a foster home with a GPS tracking device around her ankle.

Experts said that prosecutors were generally extremely hesitant to exercise their power to detain material witnesses because they rely on their cooperation.

“This is something that has existed for a long time and exists almost everywhere, but almost nobody uses it very much,” said Floyd F. Feeney, a criminal law expert at the University of California, Davis. “But if you had a juvenile who’s flitting back and forth and got lots of problems and is the key witness in a case against a really bad actor, I wouldn’t think it would be that unusual for the D.A.’s office to consider holding her as a material witness.”

Marsy’s Law is based on a ballot measure that California voters approved in 2008. Though supporters said it strengthened victims’ rights, critics said it would violate prisoners’ rights and merely serve to swell the state’s prison population.

While 32 other states have passed similar constitutional amendments, none guarantee victims’ rights as explicitly as Marsy’s Law does, said Meg Garvin, a professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., and the executive director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute there.

“Marsy’s Law is the newest, most comprehensive constitutional amendment in the country,” Ms. Garvin said. “It really is cutting edge. That’s why some other states are looking at it as a model, including Illinois.”

She added: “This constitutional amendment was supposed to protect victims. But the fact that a rape victim is being held in detention is not only unusual, it is outrageous.”

Advocates for rape victims said that the case could make it even more difficult to persuade victims to report sexual assaults.

“They may become reluctant to seek assistance if they feel this will trigger the criminal justice system and lead to them being forced to testify,” said Sandra Henriquez, executive director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault in Sacramento.

The trial against Mr. Rackley is now scheduled to start on April 23. The suspect, a convicted felon with a criminal history two decades old, was identified by the teenager because of a large swastika tattooed on his chest, Ms. Franco said. According to prosecutors, DNA evidence from the suspect was also found on the teenager. Lawyers from the Public Defender’s Office representing Mr. Rackley could not be reached for comment.


... not entirely sure what to say there.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby philsov » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

She has refused to testify and actively ran away when it came time for court appearances.

Seeing as I'd like the alleged scumbag locked up, it's a necessary measure.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:48 pm UTC

Should she testify? Yes, of course!

Should we force her to testify? No, of course not!

Aside:
“She’s afraid of confronting her rapist, and she doesn’t want to testify,” Ms. Franco said...
Ms. Franco has proposed releasing her to a foster home with a GPS tracking device around her ankle.
What? I guess that's marginally better in that they'd stop housing her in the same building as her rapist, but how does that solve the problem of the girl not wanting to testify?

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

If you want to convict people of rape, maybe don't punish people for reporting it.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby buddy431 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:09 pm UTC

It's pretty rare anyways to lock up material witnesses. Yes, it's something that can be done, but often used as a last resort (you do need the witness to help, after all). On the other hand, there are good reasons that witnesses, including victims, can be forced to testify, and if they've shown an unwillingness to come in on their own (multiple times), it might be acceptable to detain them to ensure that they will testify. On the third hand, detaining this victim might discourage others from coming forward. But if you don't detain her and get her testimony, you might not be able to convict the perpetrator. A bad situation to be sure, and one that doesn't have any easy answers.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby emceng » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:37 pm UTC

I think one of the worst parts of this is that she's been locked up for a month. Ok, so missed two court dates. Bring her in to testify. Why the god damn hell has it been a month?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Angua » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:11 pm UTC

Enough people don't report rapes due to the fact that they don't want to face their attacker - this is just going to make that problem worse.

What a great way to support a victim - just treat her as a means to an end and another piece of evidence. :roll:
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:34 pm UTC

I agree that this method of dealing with witnesses is problematic. How do you all propose we go about improving the process?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:35 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Enough people don't report rapes due to the fact that they don't want to face their attacker - this is just going to make that problem worse.

What a great way to support a victim - just treat her as a means to an end and another piece of evidence. :roll:
Hey, the prosecutor has conviction rates to think about. Won't you think of the poor lawyers?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Chen » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

Is there a way around the 6th amendment to allow one to continue prosecuting a rape case without the victim testifying? Or would it just mean that the case would need to be dropped?

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:44 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Is there a way around the 6th amendment to allow one to continue prosecuting a rape case without the victim testifying? Or would it just mean that the case would need to be dropped?


I could be completely wrong, but I think the problem is the difficulty of prosecuting a rape case without the victim testifying.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby philsov » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:If you want to convict people of rape, maybe don't punish people for reporting it.


Which is exactly why they locked her up the second she made her report, yes? If that's why you think she's getting locked up, it's completely incorrect. If anyone reports something and then abjectly fails to testify, then why bother reporting it? This applies to not only rape but assault/battery charges, murder witnesses, and other similar, grievous crimes. This is beyond the cynical scope of conviction rates; I'd like to think it's about truth and justice and all that jazz.

What a great way to support a victim - just treat her as a means to an end and another piece of evidence.


The alternatives are... what, exactly? If her testimony is the difference between a man getting convicted or not (and assuming he really did it), should the state not pursue this and let an alleged rapist walk free? Continually let her skip out on court dates, keep getting dates pushed back, and hope she just magically comes around after an indefinite amount of time?

She cannot escape the trial if she's in custody. Voluntary appearance has proven to be worthless.

Economically it may be superior to have a simple GPS tracker and use funds that would be used for jail time with a counselor of sorts, but those means do not assure anything and are thus less effective -- she can still run away (or sever the tracker? I dunno how they're implemented) and the counseling may not be effective enough to motivate her to testify.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

philsov, the core question at the center of this issue is what we value more: Punishing criminals, or helping victims?

The fact that the person in question is a scumbag is immaterial; if a person has been victimized, and as a result of that victimization, does not feel comfortable confronting their attacker--I think that's of incredible importance, and we should respect it. I do not want to live in a society that values punishing criminals over supporting victims.

That being said, the fact that he's potentially going to assault more people again is what makes me hesitate on calling this absolute bullshit. It's a very bad situation, and it's a terrible thing to do this to her, but if it prevents someone else from getting victimized, then maybe it's the only move you can make. I don't know--the article doesn't give me enough details to make that call. I'm glad that it's not my call to make.

The point here is that it's an awful situation--and none of the decisions people are making here represent easy or good ones.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby poxic » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

I'm getting the impression that the US legal system is like a kid with a hammer -- one tool, one solution for everything. People break laws? Prison time. Kids misbehave in school? Prison. Rape victims won't testify? Prison.

It would be sad if it weren't kinda horrifying. Wait, it's both.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby jakovasaur » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:03 pm UTC

The accused also has a right to a trial in some reasonable time frame. If you allege that a person has raped you, then you need to either testify or retract your allegation. It doesn't seem fair for the state to charge someone and then prevent them from facing their accuser.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:07 pm UTC

Balancing the rights of accuser with the rights of the accused has always been an enormously tricky game, though. The accused has a right to face their accuser's accusations, but the right to face their accuser--face-to-face--always struck me as silly. Exactly what do you gain from this? It's just magical thinking to assume that it's more 'fair' for me to 'look into the eyes' of the person accusing me of a crime.
poxic wrote:I'm getting the impression that the US legal system is like a kid with a hammer -- one tool, one solution for everything. People break laws? Prison time. Kids misbehave in school? Prison. Rape victims won't testify? Prison.
As I understand it, most legal systems are like this. The US legal system is kind of cool in that it makes a lot of decisions in favor of the accused (like double jeopardy, for instance--I was so shocked to find out this is not a thing outside of the US!), but there are plenty of places to improve, and the balance between the accused and the accuser's rights is probably one of them.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:14 pm UTC

That's a good point about the face-to-face thing. I see no reason why she shouldn't be allowed to testify without the rapist in the room with her.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby jakovasaur » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:19 pm UTC

What's "magical" about thinking the accused should be able to face their accuser?

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Angua » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:24 pm UTC

To be honest, if she doesn't turn up I'd prefer for the case to be declared a mistrial or something and dropped, rather than jailing her.

Also, what happened to the better '10 criminals go free rather than one innocent go to jail' that always gets bandied about when people are complaining about certain problems with trials (if you don't believe that statement then feel free to ignore the argument). Would you really rather than the victim goes to jail, and you risk putting other victims off reporting crimes, for this case?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:What's "magical" about thinking the accused should be able to face their accuser?

There doesn't appear to be a legitimate, practical reason for it.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby JBJ » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

Just to hopefully clear up what appears to be some confusion; the "accuser" in this, and most criminal cases, is the state, not the victim. The victim does not need to be present at trial or testify. That is, if the prosecution otherwise has enough evidence to convict. Apparently in this case, her testimony appears to be evidence vital for a conviction and thus the material witness warrant.

The other side of the defendant's right to face their accuser is the right to cross examination. The prosecution can take a deposition or affidavit from the victim, but it's not admissible as evidence unless the defense has the opportunity to question it. That's the "magical" thinking about that concept. Kind of revolves around the whole innocent until proven guilty thing and giving the defendant a chance to, well, defend themselves.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby jakovasaur » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Right, a rape case basically necessitates victim testimony, and how can you have a trial if she won't testify and be subject to cross-examination?

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:33 pm UTC

Cross examination tends to require the opposition's lawyer, not the defendant, yah? So even then I don't see why the accuser and defendant need to be in the same room.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby philsov » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

The point here is that it's an awful situation--and none of the decisions people are making here represent easy or good ones.


Totally agree with that. There should ideally be more than one way to testify, especially in such a situation where a live testimony would be very unwelcome for the victims. However, as of my understanding, there isn't (cross examination and such) so there's nasty ramifications from any direction.

Would you really rather than the victim goes to jail, and you risk putting other victims off reporting crimes, for this case?


Given that the victim isn't getting punished for reporting but rather failing to testify, the only victims that this would put off are of the same character -- they'd report but they'd refuse to testify (and now don't report). Which, as per your suggestion, would simply result in less net mistrials and no loss of time and resources on chasing ghosts -- the number of rape convictions would be identical before and after this precedent. This message of "don't report unless you will testify" is something I support.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby JBJ » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:Right, a rape case basically necessitates victim testimony, and how can you have a trial if she won't testify and be subject to cross-examination?
It necessitates an initial complaint, or bringing it to the attention of law enforcement. There's plenty of precedent with domestic abuse cases with convictions where the victim refused to testify or press charges. I don't know the specifics of this case, but if they had a rape kit with forensic evidence, that would probably be enough without victim testimony.

sourmìlk wrote:Cross examination tends to require the opposition's lawyer, not the defendant, yah? So even then I don't see why the accuser and defendant need to be in the same room.
Because the defendant also has the right to assist is his/her defense. The defendant can waive the right to be present at a deposition, but that's their right to waive. No one else's.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

Angua wrote:What a great way to support a victim - just treat her as a means to an end and another piece of evidence. :roll:

What kind of message does it send to other potential perpetrators if the prosecutors give up and drop the case? Intimidate your victims enough and you will walk free? No one seems to like this solution but the prosecutors' primary responsibility conflict with supporting the victim in this case. Given a choice between further traumatizing the victim and endangering other innocent people, they chose the first. An unenviable choice but I can understand why they did it.

Besides confronting the guy might give her some kind of closure. Very unlikely under the circumstances. Ultimately it might have been best if there was a way to put her in something like witness protection but I don't really see how that program would work.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Angua » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

Except for the fact that people who don't report rapes have a lot harder time getting support in other ways, as many people don't believe them (and these people you're confiding in might pressure you into reporting the crime - it doesn't say in the article that she was the one who reported it herself). Or they might report it straight afterwards (it must have been reported pretty quickly if they got dna evidence off her), then later find out they don't have the resolve to testify (and this would decrease the number of people willing to report as they'd have to think twice about whether or not they'll be up to this 2 months down the line). Or some passer-by found the victim and called the police shortly after it happened. Or any other number of reasons.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby DavidH » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

This is a pretty shitty situation, but.. I understand.

Once a crime is reported to the crown (or whatever you call it in the US), the victim just becomes another witness, and is utterly unable to stop what happens next. It's like this for a reason. You don't want abusive husbands to make their wives so afraid they drop the charges.

Anyone can be issued a subpoena to testify in court, and being a victim doesn't exclude you from that, even if you are a victim of rape. It's for the public good that this person be in jail (if guilty), so they have to pursue it.

It says that this guy is suspected of raping another woman. Would you like there to be a third because this girl won't testify?

Obviously anything but what they ended up doing would be preferable, but what would any of you suggest? She won't show up in court, and she legally has to. Being a victim doesn't make her above the law..

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Роберт » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:54 pm UTC

So, in this case it's not just statutory rape, but for starters, are you comfortable with what you just said as applied to a statutory rape case?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby lutzj » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:02 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:So, in this case it's not just statutory rape, but for starters, are you comfortable with what you just said as applied to a statutory rape case?


If by "just statutory rape" you mean "consensual sex where one person is below the age of consent," then I doubt that anyone would be forced to testify, since the victim wouldn't be making an accusation. There's also the fact that minors are afforded special protections on both sides of the witness stand.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

philsov wrote:If anyone reports something and then abjectly fails to testify, then why bother reporting it?
The police actually like having more information about rapists, even if it's inadmissible in court, because then it helps them gather admissible evidence and put more rapists behind bars. That's why we have anonymous tip lines. So... there's a great reason why we want people reporting crimes whether or not they are willing to testify.
maybeagnostic wrote:No one seems to like this solution but the prosecutors' primary responsibility conflict with supporting the victim in this case.
No, it doesn't. The prosecution royally fucked up this case by bringing it to court before the victim was willing to testify, and as a result, the accused rapist may go free. They could have supported the victim AND brought the criminal to justice, but they didn't. Instead, they're punishing the victim, and endangering their one chance to convict this guy (even if they drag her into the courtroom she doesn't have to speak).

Justice, and the victim, would have been better served if the prosecution had ensured the victim was ready to testify.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Роберт » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:12 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
Роберт wrote:So, in this case it's not just statutory rape, but for starters, are you comfortable with what you just said as applied to a statutory rape case?


If by "just statutory rape" you mean "consensual sex where one person is below the age of consent," then I doubt that anyone would be forced to testify, since the victim wouldn't be making an accusation. There's also the fact that minors are afforded special protections on both sides of the witness stand.

The case we're talking about IS a minor. I have not seen anything saying she's the one who brought the accusation in the first place (perhaps you have?). Either way, does it matter who reported it? The quote in question:
DavidH wrote:Once a crime is reported to the crown (or whatever you call it in the US), the victim just becomes another witness, and is utterly unable to stop what happens next.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby DavidH » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:27 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
lutzj wrote:
Роберт wrote:So, in this case it's not just statutory rape, but for starters, are you comfortable with what you just said as applied to a statutory rape case?


If by "just statutory rape" you mean "consensual sex where one person is below the age of consent," then I doubt that anyone would be forced to testify, since the victim wouldn't be making an accusation. There's also the fact that minors are afforded special protections on both sides of the witness stand.

The case we're talking about IS a minor. I have not seen anything saying she's the one who brought the accusation in the first place (perhaps you have?). Either way, does it matter who reported it? The quote in question:
DavidH wrote:Once a crime is reported to the crown (or whatever you call it in the US), the victim just becomes another witness, and is utterly unable to stop what happens next.


Assuming that was directed towards me, am I comfortable with how the law in almost every country works? Yes. I'm not sure how statutory rape applies, but I'll try to answer further.

Let's say it was a statutory rape and she was compelled to testify. What's wrong with that? She can say that she wasn't a victim, and explain the situation, and the court will judge the man based on that. They don't ask her if she feels the law is unjust, or what should happen to the man, just what happened.

By the way, a lot of people hate on statutory rape laws, and I don't understand why. Age of consent in Canada is 14, and you need to be X number of years older (I think it was 4? 5?) for it to be considered rape. An 18 year old having sex with someone who has barely started puberty is pretty manipulative/coercive in my book.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

DavidH wrote:By the way, a lot of people hate on statutory rape laws, and I don't understand why. Age of consent in Canada is 14, and you need to be X number of years older (I think it was 4? 5?) for it to be considered rape. An 18 year old having sex with someone who has barely started puberty is pretty manipulative/coercive in my book.
That's on the Reasonable side of a spectrum that ranges all the way across to Completely Batshit where someone 18+1day having sex with someone 17+364days gets a jail sentence and a lifetime spot on a sex offender registry.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby Thesh » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:42 am UTC

DavidH wrote:By the way, a lot of people hate on statutory rape laws, and I don't understand why. Age of consent in Canada is 14, and you need to be X number of years older (I think it was 4? 5?) for it to be considered rape. An 18 year old having sex with someone who has barely started puberty is pretty manipulative/coercive in my book.


If a 14 year old is mentally capable of making the decision to have consensual sex with a 15 year old, why is she not mentally capable of making the decision to have consensual sex with a 20 year old? The idea that if someone is much older, they must be manipulating or coercing the younger person is fallacious. If that is what you are trying to protect against, make the law along the lines of "Manipulating or coercing a person into sexual acts" (then you can arrest pick up artists too!). A 15 year old can be just as capable as a 20 year old in manipulating a girl into sex.

I'd rather see guilty people get away with rape then see innocent people have their life ruined between jail time and the sex offender registry.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby meatyochre » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:00 am UTC

The solution is to decline to prosecute cases where 1) the victim/witness is unwilling to testify, and 2) there isn't a solid enough case for conviction without him/her. This is a decision that prosecutors make every fucking day. Poor, unreliable, or unwilling witness? The perp goes free.

But then, I'm a greasy hippie who truly thinks it's better to allow 10 rapists to go free than to imprison one innocent rape victim.
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby omgryebread » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 am UTC

Should our justice system be about punishing the guilty or protecting the innocent?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:53 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:Should our justice system be about punishing the guilty or protecting the innocent?

Preferably both, but if it's made a dilemma, the latter. Ultimately the former is just a means to the latter, right?
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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby DavidH » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:20 am UTC

Contempt of court means that she is no longer innocent. The situation is terrible, we can all agree. But even though she was raped (and I strongly do not want to make light of that fact), she is not above the law. If I am beaten to within an inch of my life, my family is murdered, and they eat my dog, I can still be forced to testify.

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Re: Rape victim jailed... in California (Trigger!)

Postby psyck0 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:13 am UTC

I can't BELIEVE that anywhere in the developed world could have laws on the books to make this possible. Here in civilised land (Canada) rape trials don't even proceed if the victim doesn't want to testify, unless they have other evidence. It should absolutely be the right of every victim of ANY crime to refuse to testify for ANY reason.

Thesh wrote:
DavidH wrote:By the way, a lot of people hate on statutory rape laws, and I don't understand why. Age of consent in Canada is 14, and you need to be X number of years older (I think it was 4? 5?) for it to be considered rape. An 18 year old having sex with someone who has barely started puberty is pretty manipulative/coercive in my book.


If a 14 year old is mentally capable of making the decision to have consensual sex with a 15 year old, why is she not mentally capable of making the decision to have consensual sex with a 20 year old? The idea that if someone is much older, they must be manipulating or coercing the younger person is fallacious. If that is what you are trying to protect against, make the law along the lines of "Manipulating or coercing a person into sexual acts" (then you can arrest pick up artists too!). A 15 year old can be just as capable as a 20 year old in manipulating a girl into sex.

I'd rather see guilty people get away with rape then see innocent people have their life ruined between jail time and the sex offender registry.


Are you seriously not able to make that connection for yourself? It's because there are different levels of maturity. Children and teens have sufficient maturity to interact with their peers but can still easily be taken advantage of by adults for many reasons, partly because they are in a vulnerable stage of their lives and trying to forge a self-identity, partly because they don't yet have enough life experience to make good judgements, partly because our culture really pushes them to obey what adults tell them, etc, etc. A 15 year old may say exactly the same thing as an adult but the adult's place in the power heirarchy adds far more weight to their words.
Last edited by psyck0 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:17 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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