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TangoMan

It would be fairly unusual, I think, for a rape to leave any injuries.

Would it be unusual? I'm thinking of abrasion/injury resulting for lack of, or inadequate, vaginal lubrication and forced entry would be the telling clues for medical personnel.

I don't know that we can necessarily expect her DNA

The alleged rape was supposed to have taken place in a bathroom, right? All she need do is show investigators where she was positioned in the bathroom. She had abrasions on her body when she was allegedly raped, therefore if those abrasion came into contact with a surface that probability of residue being left increases. If she had to support herself against a countertop there should be signs of her presence. Recall that the bathroom hadn't been cleaned when the police searched the "crimescene" and that is where they found some of her nails, but they found no other signs of an alleged rape.

The Happy Feminist

But Richard, reasonable doubt doesn't mean that the victim is lying. It just means that there is a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt.

Look I don't mind people casually coming to their own conclusions (I have), but people like Savage scream up and down about how the media and private citizens should give the accused the benefit of reasonable doubt so as not to destroy the accused's reputation -- but they are perfectly happy to try to destroy the accuser's reputation. That's a double standard.

And yeah, in court, the woman's testimony should be, and will be, scrutinized carefully and critically, but that doesn't mean I ASSUME she's lying unless there is some reasonable doubt as to her testimony. To me, the fact that a citizen has come forward to make this allegation is a major step towards dispelling reasonable doubt. Her testimony is a crucial piece of evidence in and of itself. So far I haven't heard any facts that necessarily raise a reasonable doubt in my mind as to her truthfulness (although I may have a doubt as to her identification of particular individuals.)

TangoMan

Happy,

Here's a legal question for you - before these men were charged with a crime did the suspects have any right to demand that police share the evidence with them and now that there is a charge does a right to discovery come into play and if so, how long until the evidence is shared with the defense?

The Happy Feminist

Tango Man, I don't know what the likelihood is that she would have left DNA evidence behind in the bathroom. I doubt that it's anything close to a sure thing.

And yeah, vaginal tearing or bruising even in a rape is extremely unusual. At the risk of being too graphic, the female body is designed to accommodate (ahem) vigorous thrusting by a penis. This is true even without adequate vaginal lubrication. And I am guessing there was vaginal lubrication that occurred naturally as the assault continued. Anal rape I don't think would necessarily would result in tearing (although of course we know in this case there was some sort of injury indicating either vaginal or anal rape, although it's not clear what the injury was).

Look, it's always possible that this woman's report is one of the small minority of false reports. Each case needs to be examined carefully and individually. My casual opinion is not meant to be a substitute for the hard work the investigator and prosecutor and jury will have to do. What bugs me is just how quickly people (like the security guard in the story) will leap to the conclusion that a woman is lying about rape.

I, on the other hand, view a woman's testimony that she was raped as a major step (and sometimes the only necessary step) towards overcoming the presumption of innocence.

The Happy Feminist

TangoMan, the prosecution is under no obligation to share any evidence with the suspects until they are charged. The rules vary among jurisdictions as to how soon the defense is entitled to discovery once the defendants are charged. I used to have to provide discovery within 30 days of arraignment. I would automatically turn over my entire case file (aside from my notes). The prosecutor is obligated to turn over any evidence to be used against the accused and any exculpatory evidence.

will

"What bugs me is just how quickly people (like the security guard in the story) will leap to the conclusion that a woman is lying about rape. "

That really works both ways. People want to jump to conclusions prior to getting all of the evidence.


The Happy Feminist

I agree, Will. But because there always is a rush to judgment so to speak, I think it is important to provide alternate interpretations to the conventional wisdom, such as the conventional wisdome that, "Gee if the security guard thought the woman wasn't raped, she must not have been raped."

Plus, I am carrying around years of pent up frustration from defense attorneys being able to yap in the press about anything and everything, while I was prohibited by the ethical rules from saying very much.

TangoMan

we know in this case there was some sort of injury indicating either vaginal or anal rape, although it's not clear what the injury was)

I think that the medical opinion carries a lot of weight with the public, and probably the courts too, but I have no idea what constitutes "injury." I'm thinking that they found microtears, which are not uncommon, at the minor end of the spectrum but if they found more serious damage I would think that they would also find forensic residue of the object that caused the more serious damage.

The Happy Feminist

I don't know. I think Alas's post addresses that to some extent.

will

"Plus, I am carrying around years of pent up frustration from defense attorneys being able to yap in the press about anything and everything, while I was prohibited by the ethical rules from saying very much. "

In my humble opinion, the police and prosecutors are FAR greater offenders of talking to the press. There is a far greater risk of the police and prosecutor poisoning the jury pool than of the defense. Far greater.

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