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Raping Our Justice System

Posted by Rick · August 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Rape. It’s a strong, powerful word which evokes a great deal of emotion.

Rape itself, of course, is a crime. Even in the United States, we still put people on trial when they are accused of crimes. The purpose of a trial is to decide if they did commit a crime. Until the jury hears all the evidence and decides if a crime has been committed, we don’t know. Or, at least, those of us who are honest don’t know. Because, as I said, that’s the purpose of a trial: to find out if a crime has been committed and if the person who committed the crime is the person on trial, “the defendant.”

Some defendants are actually innocent. They did not commit the crimes for which they are accused. Some are just “not guilty,” which means we aren’t really sure they committed the crime. We have “a reasonable doubt.” Some are guilty, but not of the crimes they’re charged with having committed. And some are guilty of exactly what they’ve been charged with (maybe more). All of this, however, is really something I should discuss on another day, in another post.

The point of this post is this: The purpose of a trial is to determine if a crime has been committed and if the defendant is the person who committed the crime.

So it’s a little odd, to say the least, that a witness has filed a lawsuit because she wants to testify that a crime was committed and that the defendant is the one who did it. She does not want the jury to decide the question; she wants to tell them the answer. She’s not even satisfied with stating the facts as she sees them. “It’s not enough to tell the jury that I woke up into consciousness to find someone ‘inside me’ when I didn’t want that. I need to be able to repeatedly state the legal conclusion the jury needs to come to: he raped me; he sexually assaulted me.”

And the best part of all? She says it’s her right under the First Amendment. By trying to make sure that a man’s Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights — among others — are not violated, she argues, the State is denying her right to freedom of speech.

One of these days, we have to start teaching critical thinking, as well as social studies and “civics,” in our schools again.

It’s a sad day when people really honestly believe that skipping trials in criminal cases is a First Amendment right.

Categories: Law and Legal Issues

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