Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Presumption of guilt in rape cases?

Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti, in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, has broadly hinted that the presumption of innocence for defendants in rape cases should be reversed--to a presumption of guilt:

Swedish rape laws don't ban "sex by surprise"...but they do go much further than U.S. laws do, and we should look to them as a potential model for our own legislation.

In fact, some activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused;
the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn't give it. [emphasis added]

Got that? She's stopping short of actually saying, "we should do that in America," but it's pretty obvious she's bringing it up is because she thinks it's a good idea.

This is really, really amazing. Presumption of innocence is one of the basic foundations of law in the western world. It's one of the things which makes us civilized. Reversing this presumption would ensure that innocent people are imprisoned.

This is one of the few issues in the world which really is black-and-white: there is no crime whatsoever so serious as to merit a reversal of the presumption of innocence.

This idea is every bit as offensive, if not more so, than the worst shit that Dubya and his cronies ever managed to come up with in their eight years in the White House.



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