Friday, April 27, 2007

VAWA casts a long shadow over the Duke fiasco

Carey Roberts
April 26, 2007

Was prosecutor Michael Nifong simply an over-rated ambulance chaser who rose to his level of incompetence? Was he a scheming opportunist who needed to boost his flagging re-election chances? Or did his dogged prosecution of the Duke Three reflect a deeper, more systemic problem in our criminal justice system?

Here's the dirty little secret of D.A.s who prosecute sexual assault and domestic violence cases: many of the claims they pursue are as flaky as a pie crust and their chances of winning a jury conviction are slim. So why do they bother to go after the case?

Because — get ready for this — they believe "we are encouraging abused women to come forward and confront their oppressors."

So according to that neo-Marxist logic, if we want to get really tough on say, bank robbers, what we need to do is randomly accuse innocent persons of burglary and then parade them through the streets, denouncing them for a crime they did not commit.

Of course, rape is a terrible crime. Equally terrible are false allegations of rape.

According to Linda Fairstein, former head of the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, "There are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen."

But sadly, many innocent men have been wrongfully put behind bars. Just this week Jerry Miller of Chicago was exonerated after serving 24 years for a rape he didn't commit. His release helped inspire a national campaign dubbed "200 Exonerated, Too Many Wrongfully Convicted," an effort designed to spur state reforms of the criminal justice system. [www.innocenceproject.org/200/report.html]

Many persons have heard of the Violence Against Women Act — VAWA for short. But most are unaware of the extent to which VAWA-mandated programs have biased our judiciary and chipped away at the presumption of innocent until proven guilty.

VAWA's tentacles reach deep and wide, reshaping our nation's laws on immigration, welfare, and public housing. The Act defines domestic violence broadly, so sexual assault and rape fall within its purview. VAWA authorizes $50 million each year for its Sexual Assault Services Program, which contributed to the Duke fiasco in many ways.

First, VAWA pays the legal bills of alleged victims of sexual assault. Want to guess how much money goes to help men accused of rape? Nada.

That sets the stage for a prosecutorial shake-down that works like this: Find a guy who can't afford a million-dollar legal defense team. Smear his good name with an accusation of rape. Then settle for a plea bargain conviction on a lesser count of sexual assault. The attorneys get their money and the D.A. can add another notch to his (or her) belt.

Second, did you wonder why Michael Nifong never required accuser Crystal Gail Mangum to take a polygraph test? Simple: the Violence Against Women Act prohibits it. Section 2013 states, "no law enforcement officer, prosecuting officer, or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sex offense ... to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device."

Third, VAWA funds training programs for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement personnel. To say the content of these programs lacks a scientific basis is generous.

This past November the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence sponsored a conference. First one of the speakers made light of a Florida incident in which a young man was sexually assaulted by a female teacher. The presenter then turned around and used the terms "scum bag" and "douche bag" to refer to men accused of abuse.

At an earlier New Jersey training session, one presenter openly encouraged judges to ignore due process protections: "Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, 'See ya' around.'"

Fourth, VAWA's overly-aggressive prosecution measures have been found to be flatly ineffective in stopping abuse. Still, these measures have instilled a legal of climate of "every man is a potential rapist" — ignoring the equally ridiculous corollary that "every woman is a potential false accuser."

Fifth, VAWA's unstated belief that women can only be victims dissuades prosecutors from going after false accusers. As Massachusetts district attorney David Angier once argued, "If anyone is prosecuted for filing a false report, then victims of real attacks will be less likely to report them."

And failing to prosecute women who make malicious accusations only means that men will continue to be falsely accused, charged, prosecuted, convicted, sentenced, and jailed.


Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism.

Mr. Roberts' work has been cited on the Rush Limbaugh show. Besides serving as a regular contributor to RenewAmerica.us, he has published in The Washington Times, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, Men's News Daily, eco.freedom.org, The Federal Observer, Opinion Editorials, and The Right Report.

Previously, he served on active duty in the Army, was a professor of psychology, and was a citizen-lobbyist in the US Congress. In his spare time he admires Norman Rockwell paintings, collects antiques, and is an avid soccer fan. He now works as an independent researcher and consultant.


© Copyright 2007 by Carey Roberts
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/roberts/070426

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course they can't require someone to take a polygraph test and that's great. First of all, polygraph tests are NOT accurate and not only that, a pathological liar can pass them with ease. Secondly, it would be very insulting to victims reporting a crime,most all of whom are genuine, because it would treat them as if they were the criminal. The truth is with rape, as with any other crime, you have to strictly look at the facts of the case. False allegations of rape while they do happen, are rare. Those innocently imprisoned for rape are usually there because of mistaken identity, not a false allegation and sadly that happens with all crimes. However, today we have DNA fortunately. The Duke players are innocent because the facts surrounding the case clearly show that. The problem is not with any current law but the fact that the corrupt MALE DA Nifong was up for reelection and wanted the black vote and to make a name for himself. As such, he ignored the facts and attempted to railroad these guys. At he done what he was supposed to do, the facts would have spoken loud and clear and these guys never would have been charged but he didn't.

5/26/2007 03:31:00 AM  

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