Friday, November 12, 2010

What is the best evidence to prove rape cases? DNA, Prosecutors, and Witness Credibility

I bet Wendy Murphy's eyes are rolling.  Associated Press - November 5, 2010 5:14 AM ET

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - A central Kansas prosecutor says his county's procedure for handling local rape cases is in disarray. Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder says a Hutchinson hospital has been sending some rape victims to Salina or Wichita hospitals for sexual assault examinations.
Promise Regional Medical Center says the hospital has had staffing problems, including too few nurses trained in such exams. A spokesman says the hospital prefers to have four certified sexual assault nurse examiners, but has only two. The Hutchinson News reports that Schroeder says it costs the county more money when victims are sent to out-of-town hospitals. That's because local law enforcement officers must travel to the other towns to interview victims and collect rape kits. Information from: The Hutchinson News,  Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Now, of course we need better funding and resources in this regard. Of course we do!!
How long has that been clear?
Can we talk about the fact that there is all this trauma and such low incarceration rates--that is, don't we need to rethink how we treat this particular crime? It is happening all over the place. Everyone has a story. Where are all the arrests, the incarcerations?
Surely we can see an overhaul is needed in the handling of this crime.

The reason i mention Wendy is that perhaps a key problem with prosecuting rape cases is focusing on the wrong evidence. Wendy Murphy, a teacher and lawyer who visted K-State a couple years ago suggested that all the focus on DNA often misses the point.
The fact is that most rapes,
(kind of like Bill Clinton and The Blue Dress --no it's not a children's story)
 Kobe Bryant and the Big Diamond (again...
a man who denies sex, until evidence of sex is found;
he then admits to sex but denies rape and
insists it was consensual.
At this point the perpetrator usually tells
 people that it was
 "SHE who practically Forced sex on ME!"

Perhaps if the rape victim met with a psychologist or counselor or advocate or doctor who indicated to police the probable "veracity of the claim"
if the jury were instructed STRONGLY that
the testimony of the witnesses IS EVIDENCE
that is, a credible witness is worth something--
perhaps we would not spend so much time and money trying to get evidence that is often not needed.
Unless almost all little girls and teenage boys and girls and women and men are lying about rape, we have a seriouly flawed way of dealing with this crime.

Here are 200 men (victims)

Oprah Winfrey Show Guests: 200 men who suffered abuse and molestation.

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