Monday, September 17, 2007

Alleged Rape Victim's Protest Of Banned Words Frivolous?

There is an update on Tory Bowen's situation. For those who don't recognize her name, she's the alleged rape victim who was banned from saying rape during the trial and who went public in protest and then refused to sign the judge's waiver before the second trial of Pamir Safi which declared a mistrial because of protests over his ban. Her lawyer has filed a federal lawsuit against Judge Jeffre Cheuvront.

Now a federal judge has stepped in it and big time.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of Lincoln said he has serious reservations about whether the lawsuit was brought to force Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront to recuse himself "or for the improper purpose of generating pretrial publicity."

Kopf warned Tory Bowen and her attorneys that they could face sanctions, including dismissal of the case or fines.

To me this shows how biased we are as a society when defense attorneys and their supporters can go to nearly any length to create the spin they want in the media and to get the restrictions they want in court even when their efforts overtly and unapologetically attempt to muffle, demonize and try the alleged victim in the media.

Believing that restrictions of the words you can use when you testify about being raped will likely deny you any chance of justice is NOT frivolous. But this judge's statements which overtly threatens to rob an alleged rape victim of any chance for justice make him look like his opinion of the alleged crime is what is truly frivolous.

He is saying the equivalent of, "behave little ladies or any chance you had of getting justice will be gone forever." Nothing trivial about that message.

Just imagine if the defendants and their attorneys had to sign similar waivers banning the use of the word consent and all other phrases which make legal conclusions that no rape occurred or that the wrong person has been charged with rape or that the alleged victim is an unreliable witness.

Would this federal judge view a resulting lawsuit over restrictions on the defense to be trivial? Or would he simply and professionally rule on the merits of the lawsuit?

Too often crime victims are expected to fully cooperate with the criminal justice system even when that is traumatic and potentially dangerous, but they are not supposed to be viewed as citizens with any rights of their own.

And people scratch their heads over the number of rape victims who don't report or who decide that testifying in court is a no-win proposition. What in the world could make so many women so cynical about what will happen to them within the criminal justice system?

Update: To protest this "frivolity," State Senator Ernie Chambers has filed a civil suit against God. What his actions actually do is communicate that to him rape is a frivolous matter.

Either that or he is admitting through his actions that there is no need to block Tory Bowen or any other alleged rape victim from using any of the banned words and phrases because the presence or absence of these words and phrases is meaningless. If the restrictions on Ms. Bowen's testimony is frivolous then the parties guilty of upholding frivolity are Judge Cheuvront and Pamir Safi's defense team and everyone who backs the ban, not the woman unduly constrained by the fear that one wrong word will leave her in contempt of court.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:34 AM   1 comments links to this post


At September 17, 2007 8:17 PM, Anonymous kip said...

So a rapist will go free, big deal. At least the conservatives can chalk up another one in the win column. Maybe the judge can figure out a way to put Tory behind bars, that'll give him a place in the Conservative's Hall of Fame...


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