Remember the Saturday to keep it productive

“In every country in the world bar one, thoughtful Christian people seem to be remarkably united in publicly expressing pleasure and relief at the re-election of Barack Obama. The single exception is the United States itself, where the reaction is considerably more mixed, and the majority position probably leans toward sadness at the outcome, with a significant minority expressing something like horror.”

“It turns out that when it comes to religious behavior, Americans report attending church the same way they report flossing their teeth: lots of people say they do it, not many people actually do.”

“It is slowly dawning on them: This isn’t 1968. The hippies are punching back

“There’s no doubt that conservatives will continue to hammer the issue of homosexuality, but it seems their fear-mongering is falling on deaf ears as Americans realize that those states that have already adopted same-sex marriage haven’t yet fallen into the sea.”

And sometimes, it looks like fighting like hell to dismantle the patriarchal norms that perpetuate violence and oppression, that rob people of their humanity.”

“The Catholic church and its slow response to clergy sex abuse scandals has suffered a particular serious blow to its reputation for moral leadership. But it has also severely bungled its opposition to the Obama administration.”

“I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP.”

“This vile discourse is, I would argue, a direct result of the pastoral strategies of the previous pope and his predecessors and the bishops they have appointed.”

“Could not civil law be allowed to progress where church law cannot go, at least not yet? Personally, I believe that it can and that it should.”

“But at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. When you speak the truth you change the minds and move the hearts of those who know you.”

“N.B.: Zechariah was not talking about Jesus, and what exactly he — or more than one he — was actually talking about is far from clear.”

“Here, in this chapter, I give up. For I am not sure what the prophet is talking about.”

A Children’s Treasury of Wacky Swing-State Voter ‘Irregularities’

“Please, angry right-wingers, do pursue this ‘shouting at strangers in supermarket lines’ plan. Repeatedly, all over America.”

White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being.”

“Ultimately, White Masculinity is imperiled by the idea of Barack Obama.”

“An ordained counsellor dedicated to ‘freeing’ people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting two young men over a period of two years.”

“The Moraga School District in Moraga, California alleged that a 12-year-old girl, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of two different middle school teachers in the 1990s, was ‘negligent,’ ‘careless’ and ‘was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims.‘”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    “The Moraga School District in Moraga, California alleged that a
    12-year-old girl, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of
    two different middle school teachers in the 1990s, was ‘negligent,’ ‘careless’ and ‘was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims.‘”

    Speaking as a lawyer, this does not look as earthshakingly offensive as it sounds. It was an answer to the complaint in a negligence case which was mostly likely drafted by an associate or possibly even a law clerk, and all lawyers have it drilled into them in law school to include every remotely plausible affirmative defense in their answers because you just never know what discovery will show. More than likely, the language that is drawing so much ire is just a boilerplate reference to the doctrines of contributory and/or comparitive negligence, which get included in EVERY answer to a negligence complaint. I’d bet even money the language was unthinkingly cut-and-pasted out of an answer in a different case involving perhaps a slip-and-fall or a car wreck. 

  • MikeJ

     So what you’re saying is that they don’t actually believe that is the truth, merely that they are unconcerned with what the truth is.

  • olsonam

     There ya go again, comparing rape to something it shouldn’t be compared to.  At least you’re not comparing it to theft.  Fred has posted about this before – we should be taking care of the victim before excusing or forgiving the perpetrator.  Would you really be saying this to the victim, thinking that it would give them comfort?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I think this comment of the Making Light story wins all the internets forever http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/014519.html#1053813

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’d bet even money the language was unthinkingly cut-and-pasted out of an answer in a different case involving perhaps a slip-and-fall or a car wreck.

    Is that supposed to make it BETTER?!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Then one wonders what kind of brainless morons work in what passes for the legal profession.

    And one also wonder why anyone defends lawyers as being socially useful when they seem to exist solely to scour the law for loopholes to defy the spirit of law by using the letter of law to further harm the powerless.

  • P J Evans

     Before you get all over yourself, what Alan is saying is that someone, possibly a clerk, used boiler-plate language inappropriately, not that the school district was correct in its allegations.
    I do hope that the court will have something to say about it.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Again, is that supposed to make it BETTER?!

    You’re not getting it. Going boiler-plate and being thoughtless are a very large part of what makes rape culture. It is not okay. For any reason. It is equally appalling and harmful to say those things out of carelessness as out of maliciousness.

  • P J Evans

     Calm down. I’m not excusing rape culture. I’m not condemning the girl. If anything, I think the school district is wrong, and I hope the court tells them so, loudly and clearly.

    I also don’t think that attacking a commenter for pointing out that there’s stuff we don’t normally see is a good idea. And that was what I was saying.

  • AliciaB

     You could probably make that same argument about middle school teachers based on this story, right?

  • AliciaB

     

    For any reason. It is equally appalling and harmful to say those things out of carelessness as out of maliciousness.

    Agreed. To me, one of the other worst parts of their response is this:

    Ms. Cunnane and the media have seized on only one of the nine potential areas and over-exaggerated its importance.

    Yes, because it’s not appalling if you have eight other rationalizations, right? If it really was some clerk’s lazy screw-up, why not retract it immediately? The fact that they don’t to me suggests that they meant exactly what they said and have no interest in retracting it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Unlike teachers, the legal profession is not under constant assault by right-wing politicians who love a good punching bag, and who aren’t in a position to write the rules in the first place. A fair number of lawyers become politicians and to nobody’s surprise, create complex laws (did anyone even read the USA PATRIOT Act?) that have far-reaching effect.

  • AliciaB

     That’s a joke, right? The right wing in the US hates trial lawyers, who they see (correctly) as a huge source of donations to the Democratic Party, right up there with labor unions.

    It’s a large part of the reason why they back tort reform so heavily; they see it as a way to back their own pet donors and cut the legs out from underneath trial lawyers and the Democrats by extension. They also hate trial lawyers who they see as existing solely to help criminal defendants get out from underneath their just desserts. They’re not big fans of the ACLU, for example, a pack of lawyers who seem to spend all of their time enabling activist judges.

     Teachers are more vulnerable, yes, but that’s because most of them work very hard for very little pay and have less time to fight for their rights outside of their labor union (which the right wing also hates).

  • MikeJ

    If the victim is going to be able to demand compensation from the school board, there’s going to be a trial. If there is going to be a trial, someone has to defend them.  That lawyer is going to do everything he or she can to win the case for his client.

    The actual rapist also go t to have a lawyer.  So does every person who is tried for anything, whether it’s a good law or a bad law, whether the person is innocent or guilty. 

    People who are accused of things get to defend themselves, even if they are shitbags. Ideally, the judge will be able to figure out the truth.

  • Trixie_Belden

    So what you’re saying is that they don’t actually believe that is the truth, merely that they are unconcerned with what the truth is.

    Well, that’s one way of putting it.  The thing is, when a  defendant answers a complaint and asserts affirmative defenses, due to the way traditional procedural rules usually work, the defendant must assert every possible affirmative defense in their answer.   If I’m recalling things correctly, if you don’t assert a certain defense in the answer, you can’t use it as a defense later at trial, even if facts turn up that would have supported it.  There may be (I’m trying to recall) certain circumstances where a court would allow you to amend your answer, but I’m guessing it would involve clearing a few legal hurdles, so lawyers who want to avoid accusations of malpractice know that it’s just better to put any affirmative defense that could possibly be relevant in the answer.

    And even though the language in the affirmative defense has appalled people, if a plaintiff sues for negligence, then yes, as Alan Alexander said, contributory and/or comparative negligence is a standard affirmative defense to ANY negligence complaint, and that will include negligence lawsuits involving sexual assault.       

  • Worthless Beast

    Read the first couple of links… in response to the European sentiment of “How can Christians be against universal health care?”  – I think it has something to do with a particularly American paranoia born of our history.  I have an online friend who doesn’t like “Obamacare” because she’s got a fear that her chornic issues will inspired a government goon doctor to do a mercy kill… she’s a perfectly intelligent person, but this fear… I think it comes not only from people who monger it, I think it comes from our general culture.

    Culturally, I don’t think we ever stopped “fighting Commies.”  Anything “universal” strikes us as “Commie” on some deep level – I think even those who are for univeral healthcare have had to fight this specter a bit.  In American culture, “no one gets anything for free” – we expect to pay for anything we get, so when someone offers something for “free” we naturally think that if the price isn’t money, it must be our “souls” or “minds.”   I think some people are made to fear the government having the power of life and death (as in healthcare) over those who “aren’t Liberal enough” or something.  *Shrug.*

  • EllieMurasaki

    Taxes don’t count as payment for government-funded health care?

  • Worthless Beast

    Well, considering I’ve had conversations with people (*not* the friend I mentioned above) who don’t think basic education and the highway system are Constitutional… I’d guess not? 

  • WalterC

     Okay, fine, but that still doesn’t make sense for half a dozen reason. It’s not just the part about the “government goon doctor”. It goes well beyond that, to the very premise that the “Obamacare” is some kind of government-funded/taxpayer-supported national health care system, where the government hires doctors and nurses to provide care. That might be the dream of some on the left but it just isn’t the case in reality.

    Individuals and employers are still the ones with the primary responsibility of paying for their insurance premiums, and insurance providers are still the ones with the primary responsibility for paying for health care expenses. Obamacare is mostly just a system of regulatory controls and cost-savings initiatives. It’s not the NHS. It’s not socialized medicine.

    The problem with these right-wing illusions are that there are so many layers of mistakes, deceptions, and equivocation that you have to pick them apart carefully. Obamacare does not make doctors into federal employees. It doesn’t take over the primary responsibility for paying health insurance premiums for most people. Your friend will not have to worry about free/tax-funded health care providers trying to euthanize her because she will not likely be receiving free health care or government-supplied providers, unless she was already participating in a program like that predating the PPACA.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GUFZNDXKK6JQGEIGV7VGXFUDKE c2t2

    Changing the subject, but the ‘white people mourning Romney’ link did something strange to me. I was anticipating wallowing in schadenfreude at rich-person temper tantrums, but many of them were ordinary people, with real grief on their faces. And I felt bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    It is not the job of a defense attorney to “take care of a victim.” It is the job of a defense attorney to zealously defend his client which, at the stage of responding to a Complaint, means including every possible defense which might prove to be relevant after the completion of discovery. If the defense lawyers baselessly attack this woman on the stand by blaming her for what happened then I will join you in condemning them, but taking umbrage form boilerplate language stuck in an Answer is ridiculous and betrays a near complete ignorance of the America legal process.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     While the law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, that is generally the case — failure to raise contributory and/or comparitive negligence may prevent the defense from raising later. Nor do such issues refer only to the plaintiff when she was a child. If, for example, the plaintiff and her parents did not actually inform school officials of what had happened and they never had sufficient notice to intervene, that might be a defense for the school. I’m not saying that’s the case. I don’t know, and neither, most likely, do the attorneys representing the school. Which is why they are obligated to include all viable affirmative defenses.

  • Tricksterson

    More like souless drones than brainless morons.  They don’t lack intelligence, just any sense of empathy or trace of moral or ethical judgement.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know, Alexia Tarabotti seems to have an excellent moral compass.

  • Tricksterson

    Someone needs to create a twitterfeed along the lines of “White people cheering obama”.  Because many of us do.

  • Tricksterson

    And we all thought the day of the hired gun was dead.  At least they were relatively honest about their work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    And also, we should really remember that explaining someone’s behaviour isn’t the same thing as excusing it.  Down that road lie accusations of liberals making excuses for terrorists, and the like, just because we try to understand why they’re doing what they do (even if to stop or reduce it).

  • Hilary

    Picking up on the link about the Catholic Church . . .

    I think the CC still has no idea how deeply the sex scandle has set them back.  Think about it – the biggest deomgraphic group of Nones is the 20-30 age group.  This is also the age group that was 10-20 when the sex scandle really hit big, so they/we (I’m 33) were either just entering teen years, going through adolescence, or starting adulthood when this broke.  Speaking for myself, it wasn’t just (*just*) the fact that there were sexual predators in the priesthood that left me the most cynical, but the level of coverup and protection those predators had.  So at a time when we were at different levels of forming adult identities, sexual developement and worldviews, we had a front row seat to the total moral melt down of the oldest, most traditional branch of Christianity.  

    Ever since the Pew news about 30% of people claiming no religion, I’ve wondered how much effect that scandle had in people leaving all organized religion.  It probably depends on the person, but I can’t believe it had no generational effect on the people who were 10-20 years old when it broke. This is also the age cohort that like never before has seen homosexuality as normal.  We know GLBTQ people as just people, family, friends, coworkers, TV characters. 

    We see no flexability from Catholic leadership.  No distinction between their blessed sacrement of matrimony and civil marriage.  They could have drawn a line in the sand about the church’s involvement in matrimony while aknowledging the right of the secular state to define civil marriage, same as they do with divorce and remarriage.  That would have been such an acceptable compromise, but no.  Instead we see the Church protect men who rape boys, but demonize and persecute men who share adult, concentual sex with other men.

    And the Church leaders wonder why we turn away from them, away from their hypocracy, away from their declaired sexual standards, away from God and religious belief and life altogether?

    Hilary  

  • Trixie_Belden

    Now, that’s a very generous response on your part.  When I look at that tumbler I don’t exactly wallow in in schadenfreude; it’s more like I’m rendered incredulous.  What on earth are those people so terrified of that Romney’s loss has undone them so?  A lot of people make comparisons with the Kerry loss in’04 but I think there are important distinctions.  IIRC, right up to election day, the polls showed Kerry behind, but within the margin of error, so I was hopeful, but I wasn’t, you know,  booking a hotel room in Washington for Kerry’s inaugural ball.  And I’ll bet Kerry prepared a concession speech ahead of time.  When Kerry lost, I was very dejected, and one of the main reasons I was so dejected is because I felt the Iraq war was a terrible misstep, and when so many of my fellow citizens voted to re-elect Bush, I knew they just didn’t care that much.  Even so, I don’t remember being so stricken that I cried. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GUFZNDXKK6JQGEIGV7VGXFUDKE c2t2

    Thank you. I wasn’t expecting to feel sympathy, since other than being white, I am everything these people hate, and many of them literally want me dead. But somehow, some of those pictures showed real pain, and – at least at the moment – seeing people in pain was  upsetting.

  • Lori

    What exactly do you think defense attorneys do? Or maybe the question should be, what do you think they should do?

    The job of a defense attorney is to defend his/her client to the limit of the law.  If the day comes that you should ever need a defense attorney it’s a pretty sure thing that you’re going to want your “hired gun” to do the job required. That’s how our system works.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     I think you’re right on the money here.

    One of my friends is a second generation Cuban American and she and her mother are both terrified that Obama is going to steal their home and force them to flee and starve because that’s what happened to them in Cuba. (Their house was taken at tank point they fled to Mexico and nearly starved before making it to the US). Comments on her post about this fear revealed that a lot of naturalised and second generation Cubans, Vietmanese, Europeans who fled the Communist Block are kneejerk Republicans.

    It leaves their Liberal friends scratching their heads because such a deep-rooted cultural panic is harder to fight than mere misinformation. It’s like trying to point out to a vespaphobic person that that wasp they’re  screaming about is just a hoverfly (for anyone who doesn’t get the analogy hoverflies are stingless insects that eat aphids and other garden pests – and are thus desirable – but which look a lot like wasps and as a vespaphobic I’ve been sent into a raving panic by one more than one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverfly )

    In othr news I imagine someone on the Right over there will be bringing up the Liverpool Care Plan in the NHS soon. *eyeroll*.

  • Ursula L

    Looking at the various links about Romney and the Mormon faith, I don’t think that they hit quite the right points.

    What needed to happen was for someone to ask Romney about what he thought, today, about his younger-self working as a missionary for the Mormon church when it was treating black people as second-class and refusing to allow black people to participate in their rituals and rites in the same way as white people of the same sex and marital status. [1]

    Romney now knows that Black Mormons deserve the same spiritual status as their co-believers of the same sex and marital status.

    So what advice would he give his younger-self, today, about approaching people who believed that Black people should be treated equal to White people, and wanting to convert them to a faith that, at the time, demanded that they believe that Black people be treated as spiritually different from White people, and excluded from rites and rituals that were part of the fundamental religious participation of White members of his faith?  

    The problem of Romney’s faith is not merely one of what the Mormon faith is on paper.  

    There are, quite certainly, many Mormons who, prior to 1979, recognized the difference between the technical details of their faith on paper and human decency, and who stayed in the faith because that is what they grew up as, but who acted, outside church walls, based on human decency.  

    But was Romney one of those Mormons,  who recognized that his Church’s discrimination was wrong, and therefore refused to teach it and worked for change? 

    Or does he think that his Church was right, and that changes made for pragmatic reasons (similar to the way some currently polygamous groups of Mormons view the shift mainstream Mormons away from official polygamy) are a matter of contemporary need to survive and prosper in a gentile/secular/non-Mormon community? 

    The question Romney needed to be asked, both so that we, politically, can understand him and so that he, spiritually, can reconcile the more-discriminatory faith of his youth with his still-discriminatory-but-less-so official faith of his church today, is how he could accept the discrimination of his Church in the past, and its less-discrimination now, and how he manages his Church’s ongoing discrimination now with the demands of nondiscrimination in contemporary public life.  

    ********************

    [1]  This is not to ignore the problems of the Mormon church discriminating on the basis of sex and marital status, but to focus on the chance in policy on discrimination based on race.  The problem is, he officially believes X, no racial discrimination, now, as demanded by his church, and he officially believed not-X, mandatory racial discrimination, then, as demanded by his church.  And, while the church was still demanding belief in not-X, non-equality, he actively worked to change people who believed in X, equality, to people who believed in not-X, non-equality.  What does this spiritual mess in his past tell us about his commitment to the secular principle of equality today?

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     That was exactly my reaction too. When its people like Karl Rove, nothing but glee at seeing his pain. But the people on that thread were different. It reminded my of the truly paralyzing fear that millions of people in America seem to live with on a day to day basis. The pain of those people didn’t make me happy, it caused deep sadness.

  • Carstonio

     From Two to One doesn’t acknowledge the strong likelihood that “erasing the differences between men and women” is offered only in bad faith. I doubt that anyone actually believes something so ridiculous, not even Kathleen Parker who accuses liberals of wanting to reverse gender roles. Hard to imagine anyone honestly believing that “reducing people to prescribed roles, abilities, and responsibilities based on your genitalia” is an objectively good thing and not simply a way to give one’s gender a social advantage.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think there’s something wrong when a lawyer personally sees nothing offensive in what amounts to victim-blaming in a legal document, even if prepared in a routine cover your ass fashion.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the defense doesn’t list every possible way in which the situation could have been even partly the victim’s fault, then the defense is not doing their job. And sometimes the situation really is at least partly the plaintiff’s fault. In those situations making the plaintiff pay all the damages (which is what happens if the defense can’t prove that it is at least partly the plaintiff’s fault, which the defense can’t do if they didn’t initially say that it was the plaintiff’s fault for all these reasons) is a miscarriage of justice. And the legal system has to behave as though there is no way to know which situations are which until the court has heard everybody out.

    It is a shitty situation for all parties especially the victims who are getting blamed, and sometimes it goes wrong such that the victim is legally partly responsible for something that was wholly the other party’s fault or legally wholly responsible for something that was partly the other party’s fault, and there are excellent reasons for why everybody hates lawyers. But it’s kind of like democracy in that it’s the worst way to solve the problem except for all the other ways we’ve tried.

  • Hilary

    yeah I feel the same.  Karl Rove, suck it sucker, nyah nyah nyah, but to ordinary people – - I wish there was some way to reasure them that we are not zombie hordes out to get them.

    Hilary

  • EllieMurasaki

    Isn’t ever going to happen. They’ll cheerfully take advantage of things we won for them such as the weekend, paid holidays, and eight-hour work days instead of twelve- or sixteen-, and sometimes they’ll complain that programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits aren’t good enough (unemployment benefits not being enough to get by on, or not being eligible for food stamps while one has anything in savings or one owns a car worth more than a thousand dollars) when it’s thanks to us those programs exist at all and thanks to them that those programs don’t cover as much as they want them to cover now that they themselves need them, but they will never ever understand that we are trying to help everyone including them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The fact that the law can be used to pile on victim blaming at all is what offends me.

  • LMM22

    It is not the job of a defense attorney to “take care of a victim.”

    It *is* the job of a *moral* defense attorney to not perpetuate tropes found in rape culture.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Not only ‘can be’, ‘has to be’. It sucks. But the justice system cannot work unless all parties have the chance to say ‘this was not my fault’ and to back that up as best they can. Victim-blaming is an inevitable result of that.

    If you have an idea for a way to get rid of that bug without losing vital functionality, I’m all ears.

  • LMM22

    But it’s kind of like democracy in that it’s the worst way to solve the problem except for all the other ways we’ve tried.

    Except it *doesn’t* “solve the problem” — only a tiny fraction of rapists and repeat sex offenders ever serve time in prison. It’s to the point where we don’t *have* effective statistics on repeat offenses because the chance of the offenders getting caught again is so low.

    So it doesn’t solve the problem. At all. The current system is a miscarriage of justice, because of the culture. It’s like letting the defense claim that murdering a black man was acceptable because he was making eyes at a white women during the era of Jim Crow — it may be considered a justifiable defense in the culture, but it’s not one that could or should be used.

    The problem when it comes to sex offenses is not that we have *so* many rape trials that are false — it’s that we have so many cases where rapists and those who aid them are allowed off scott-free.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I was speaking of the justice system as a whole, not just the justice system as applied to sex offenses. The justice system as applied to sex offenses has a problem that the rest of the justice system does not, namely, in a murder trial everyone assumes that a murder occurred (not necessarily that it was committed by the accused, but that it happened) unless the death can be proven accidental, in a theft trial everyone assumes that a theft occurred (not necessarily that it was committed by the accused, but that it happened) unless it can be proven that the item was simply lost, but in a rape trial, unless it’s a stranger rape where the victim was a modestly dressed virgin who fought back and who didn’t attempt harm reduction by asking the rapist to wear a condom, most people assume no rape occurred. That’s a different problem. The problem of victim-blaming in the justice system is inherent to the justice system, not to the culture around it, and I have no idea how we can possibly be rid of it without also being rid of innocent-till-proven-guilty.

  • LMM22

    I was speaking of the justice system as a whole, not just the justice system as applied to sex offenses.

    If the justice system as applied to sex offenses is dysfunctional, then the *entire* justice system is dysfunctional. Rape is one of the most common serious crimes and it is not addressed by our justice system at all.The justice system as applied to sex offenses has a problem that the rest of the justice system does not, namely, … in a rape trial … most people assume no rape occurred.

    How to solve that? My first suggestion would be to take consent off the table, or make it be something that — legally — must be proven. If the defense for a theft is that “this person gave me her purse,” we look at it skeptically. When the defense for a rape is “this person consented,” even if there’s ample physical evidence to the contrary, this is considered a viable defense. Change that. My second suggestion would be to require every rape accusation to go to trial, provided it meets a minimum standard of evidence.

    We live in a society where a man can murder a black child and get off (it seems) on a claim of self-defense on the basis of evidence that is orders of magnitude weaker than that which would be required for a rape to even go to trial. 

    This isn’t a problem with *culture* — or, if it is, that’s only part of it. This is a problem with the justice system, period. You can’t get out of it by blaming it on external forces.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    When the defense for a rape is “this person consented,” even if there’s
    ample physical evidence to the contrary, this is considered a viable
    defense.

    What possible legal meaning could “this person consented” have when the victim was 12? That’s what gets me. I understand the need to assert every possible defense, but on top of not being moral, asserting victim’s “negligence” is not even a possible defense. What “negligence” can the law recognize on the part of a 12-year-old that mitigates the crime of sexually abusing her?

    Again, this is completely aside from my horror that anyone could offer that defense and thinks they still belong in the Decent Human Being club.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Having listened to a number of talks this semester on the topics of mistaken eyewitness identifications and false confessions, I think it’s important to remember that:

    (a) the defendant is not always guilty and

    (b) the problems of the legal system don’t go only in the direction of failing to convict the guilty but also in the direction of convicting the innocent (and then, on occasion, fighting tooth and nail to keep said innocent in prison even if a decade later DNA tests have shown he wasn’t guilty).

    I don’t like seeing rapists get off scott-free, but I also don’t like seeing people spend years or even decades in prison for crimes they didn’t commit (which, note, also means the actual criminal got off scott-free).  Not saying the justice system doesn’t have problems, just observing that the solutions have to mean more convictions specifically of *guilty* people, not just more convictions.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    (Aside: my take-home message from these talks was that if you’re ever talking to the police and you have even the vaguest sense that you might be a suspect, don’t say another word until you have a lawyer.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The irony of course, is that as soon as you ask for a lawyer you’re assumed to be guilty anyway because of course only guilty people lawyer up. (-_-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Which apparently is one of the factors that can lead to false confessions: Innocent people want to help, they figure only guilty people need lawyers, and they assume that the fact they’re innocent is going to protect them — which is frequently but not always true.


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