Change in the rape shield law
Change in the rape shield law
In some sexual assault cases, the accuser is protected more when false allegations are presented then the defendant. This occurs when certain evidence is prevented from being brought into discussion, and testifying is secured to what can be said into the case in front of the jury. It is scary to think how a person’s entire life can be tied to a decision made by twelve jurors without hearing the whole story. The ‘rape shield law’ has been proven on several accounts that the ‘rape shield law’ protects accusers from being questioned about previous false allegations, which may have been launched in regard to a rape. As a society hears all the wrongful charges, they look to harshly punish the defendant. With the ‘rape shield law,’ evidence of sexual history and predisposition is not freely admissible, but encouraged to do so. The rationale used for the admissibility of such evidence reflects traditional rape myths that persist today. The accuser is being protected more from the idea that not every single evidence that can proven guilty versus not guilty is all relied on the ‘rape shield law.’ The change in the ‘rape shield law’ for South Carolina, that needs to be looked at, is the privacy of non-convicted felons that needs to be kept protected until after found guilty or not guilty. The problem with the privacy not being protected is because of the months and months that are going to be taken place before the trial even takes place.
The ‘rape shield law’ was created to protect the accusers, in certain situations, such as sexual assault cases. The “Violence Against Women Act” of 1994 created the example of what is called as the ‘rape shield law.’ The ‘Violence Against Women Act’ was signed by President Clinton that provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. The law imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on the convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosectors chose to leave un-prosecuted. The 'rape shield law' in the state of South Carolina focuses on support women/men victimized in sexual ways. “Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA's focus has expanded from domestic violence and sexual assault to also include dating violence and stalking. It funds services to protect adult and teen victims of these crimes, and supports training on these issues, to ensure consistent responses across the country. One of the greatest successes of VAWA is its emphasis on a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sex dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and the private bar currently work together in a coordinated effort that had not heretofore existed on the state and local levels.”
The ‘rape shield law’ has been used for the people fighting for women’s equality, and the rights of the accuser. The main reason introducing the ‘rape shield law’ was to reduce the psychological amount of stress, and burden coming with the accuser during the trials. After all the humiliation and harassment that comes with pressurizing the accuser with several questions, which can bring about series of several memories from the incident back to them. The ‘rape shield law’ also protects the accuser from having the jury observe different reactions, the accuser could react looking back to the situation. The ‘rape shield law’ has a good chance that it is reflecting the humanity in the court room towards the accuser. The ‘rape shield law’ does block many questions that may cause humiliation.
The accuser goes through humiliation during the trial, but they are not the only one that goes through tough humiliation. The defendant goes through much more then the accuser. The defendant goes through humiliation once the public has classified and categorized the defendant with the charges. Once the defendant’s name is out there, the defendant goes through such negativity. For instance, the defendant can and probably will lose his job, he can lose custody of his children if he is in the situation, and people may look at him with a strong negative opinion. Once that charge is out to the public, even if he is found not guilty, people will never forget reading that information. While the ‘rape shield law’ tries to protect the accuser from humiliation, the defendant is also prevented from bringing up vital key aspects of the defense because of this humiliation. The cases that connect with the ‘rape shield law’ also connect with different types of evidence that are aloud into the case. The evidence will also help with false allegations.
In a fieldwork that was presented, a court case The State of Indiana versus the defendant, a 16 year old female alleged that her previous step father, during the time of Spring of 2009 to Winter of 2012, was responsible for five class C felonies ranging from child molestation to displaying harmful manner in the presences of a minor. The case went on for two days, starting with the prosectors or accusers side of the alleged case, then day two was the defendant side. During the trial, the accuser was put on the stand, immaturely laughing obnoxiously, all about the different events that allegedly happened to her and her mother. The accuser was protected on several cases by objections because of the ‘rape shield law.’ The prosectors had very little evidence to what the girl was accusing the defendant, her previous step father, which had the jury confused and also worried that she may be lying on oath. As the prosectors continued this case, the jury heard everything that was needed to be said that they were able to put together in the case that was not protected by the ‘rape shield law,’ followed by the defendant side. The defendant’s side had a more powerful, well displayed, case layout. The defendant preceded in a calm yet nervous manner, during questions he answered as quickly yet cautiously. After the defendant’s side rested the prosecution began their closing statements, and arguments were brought to the jury pool. Finally, the defense was given on more chance to refute what the protection said during its closing argument. The jury members deliberated for two hours on all five charges, and discussed if the accuser was being truthful to the alleged charges or if the defendant was in a tough situation, and had a more powerful point to proving the charges were false. After just two hours, the jury came back to the court room giving the judge the decision of the defendant not guilty for all five charges.
During the time of the charges, the previous step father lost several jobs, lost the ability to see his two sons, and also lost the ability to have any contact to or from his boys for over a year. He was arrested due to the charges, his name was put out in the local newspaper, as people began to classify him as a child molester. False allegations change people’s lives even before the court case has happened or even convicted of the charges. The change in the rape shield law that needs to be looked at is the privacy of non-convicted felons, which needs to be kept protected until after found guilty or not guilty. The problem with the privacy not being protected is because of the months and months that are going to be taken place before the trial even takes place.
As the accuser is being protected more than the defendant when false allegations are brought to a sexual assault case, leading to protection from the ‘rape shield law,’ the case must also rely on amount of evidence to help prove the allegations true or false. The ‘rape shield law’ is a protective law that needs to be changed for the better of false allegations. Different circumstances happen everyday where false allegations are occurred with not enough evidence to be brought up into the case, but because of the ‘rape shield law,’ more prior evidence to the case is protecting the accuser more then the defense. If the ‘rape shield law’ were to have a change in the state of South Carolina, it would be for the better of a defense side as the accuser has more or less history to be brought into the case. The way that the 'rape shield law' has protected the accusers in ways that may be for the better to not recognized as who they should be recognized for the time period of who they really are. Anything that is involved with allegations in a court case should be aloud to be brought into the case, with meaning to change the jury member’s perspective of conviction.